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Wall St. set to open higher on Caterpillar, 3M results
By Ryan Vlastelica NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures pointed to a higher open on Thursday as a number of strong results, including from a pair of Dow components, reassured investors that corporations continued to fare well despite concerns about global economic growth. Both Caterpillar Inc and 3M Co rose in premarket trading following their results, with heavy machinery maker Caterpillar also raising its full-year profit view. Shares of Caterpillar rose 3.6 percent to $97.98 while 3M added 2.1 percent to $141.80. ...
China vows better rule of law, but no word of disgraced security chief
By Sui-Lee Wee BEIJING (Reuters) - China's Communist Party unveiled legal reforms on Thursday aimed at giving judges more independence and limiting local officials' influence over courts, but it made no mention of the fate of its former domestic security chief who is under investigation for corruption. The moves, made at a closed-door meeting of the ruling party's elite, are pivotal to the workings of China's market economy, the world's second largest. They come at a time when slowing growth raises the prospect of more commercial disputes. ...
Bond funds stock up on Treasuries in prep for market shock
By Tim McLaughlin BOSTON (Reuters) - U.S. corporate bond funds this year are adding Treasuries to their holdings at more than twice the rate of corporate debt amid concern that the struggling European economy and potential changes in Federal Reserve policy will drag down profits at U.S. corporations. Through September, corporate bond portfolios boosted their holdings of U.S. government debt by 15 percent, compared with a 6.5 percent increase in corporate bonds during the same period, according to Lipper Inc data. The funds now hold about $13 billion in Treasuries, 15 percent more than the $11. ...
Stock futures indicate a higher start
Stock futures pointed to a higher opening for Canada's main stock index on Thursday, with December futures on the S&P TSX index up 0.30 percent at 0715 ET. No major economic events are scheduled . The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index fell hard on Wednesday after a four-day winning streak, hit by news of deadly shootings in Ottawa and a sharp selloff in energy shares after oil prices tumbled. Dow Jones Industrial Average e-mini futures were up 0.27 percent at 0715 ET, while S&P 500 e-mini futures were up 0.34 percent and Nasdaq 100 e-mini futures were up 0.35 percent. [. ...
Spain jobless rate dips under 24%
Spain's painfully high unemployment rate eased further last quarter, dipping under 24 percent for the first time since 2011 as economic recovery apparently gained pace, official data showed on Thursday. The rate is still among the highest in the rich world with more than five million people unemployed, but Spain's government said the improvement boded well after several years of economic crisis and austerity measures. In the busy July to September tourism period, when many Spanish companies take on new staff, the unemployment rate was 23.67 percent, down from 24.47 percent in the previous quarter, the National Statistics Institute said. Most of the jobs created this summer were in services, but the figures showed the manufacturing industry also started to generate work again -- as did the construction sector which sparked Spain's economic crisis when it collapsed in 2008.
Risks to South Africa's growth remain on the downside: Treasury
CAPE TOWN (Reuters) - Risks to South Africa's economic growth remain on the downside and are partly domestically driven, a senior finance ministry official said on Thursday, a day after the ministry slashed its GDP forecast for the year. "Our growth has indeed been fairly weak compared to our peer countries," Director General Lungisa Fuzile told parliament's finance committee in Cape Town, adding the weakness was "in significant measure as a result of domestic constraints".
African beacon Botswana prepares for tight election
By Joe Brock and Tiisetso Motsoeneng GABORONE (Reuters) - Botswana will on Friday hold what are expected to be its closest elections since gaining independence from Britain 48 years ago as President Ian Khama's ruling party faces growing dissent in a country often heralded as a beacon of African democracy. Khama's Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) is expected to win a reduced majority, extending the grip on power it has held since 1966. There is, however, growing support for opposition parties who say change is needed with economic growth slowing and unemployment stuck at around 20 percent. ...
Spanish jobless figure drops as economy picks up
MADRID (AP) ? Spain's unemployment rate dropped to 23.7 percent in the third quarter from 24.5 percent in the previous three-month period thanks to a recovering economy and a bumper summer tourism season, official statistics showed Thursday.
German industry downgrades growth forecast
The German BDI industry federation downgraded Thursday its growth forecast for the current year as the outlook for Europe's biggest economy continues to cloud over. BDI chief Markus Kerber said the federation is now pencilling in growth of 1.2-1.4 percent for the current year, after already cutting the forecast in September. BDI had already revised downwards its growth forecast for 2014 from 2.0 percent to 1.5 percent in September to take into account the economic fallout from the different geopolitical crises around the world which was weighing on investment. "The German economy is suffering above all from weak investment," Kerber said, pointing to high unemployment and weak growth across the entire eurozone and the crises in the Middle East and Ukraine.
Eurozone business activity picks up in October
Business activity in the 18-nation eurozone strengthened slightly in October, a key survey showed Thursday, but overall the economy remained weak with new orders low and pressure on prices. Markit Economics said its Composite Purchasing Managers Output Index (PMI) rose marginally to 52.2 points in October from a 10-month low of 52.0 points in September. "The rough patch is not over, with many details in the PMI survey warranting caution," Berenberg Bank economist Christian Schulz said. Alarmingly, the survey picked up an unexpected slowdown in new orders which registered "the smallest monthly improvement since orders began rising in August of last year," Markit said.
European stock markets drop at open
S.Africa's rand weakens after Treasury cuts growth forecast
JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - South Africa's rand weakened against the dollar on Thursday, a day after the finance minister warned that Africa's most advanced economy was not making sufficient progress to reduce poverty and create jobs. In his maiden mid-term budget speech, minister Nhlanhla Nene downgraded South Africa's growth forecast for the next three years, saying the economy would only grow by 1.4 percent in 2014 compared to the 2.7 percent predicted by the ministry in February. The rand rallied below the crucial 11. ...
Spanish banks should do well in ECB stress tests: De Guindos
MADRID (Reuters) - Spanish Economy Minister Luis de Guindos said on Wednesday he was confident Spanish lenders would do well in the European Central Bank's banking health checks, the results of which will be made public on Sunday. "We can be confident that ... Spanish banks will obtain good results in the tests which the ECB has carried out before becoming the sole supervisor (of euro zone banks)," De Guindos said in a speech at a conference in Madrid. ...
Popular Mexican musician shot dead in cartel-riddled northwest
MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - A member of Banda el Recodo, a traditional Mexican band also popular in the United States, was found dead from a gunshot to the neck on Wednesday in the northwestern Mexican resort city of Mazatlan, the group and local authorities said. Aldo Sarabia, who played the tuba in the group, was reported missing last week. It was the latest in a string of killings and suspected massacres in Mexico in recent weeks and months that have cast a shadow over President Enrique Pena Nieto's drive to focus public attention on economic reforms rather than grisly violence. ...
APEC finance chiefs see 'downside risks' to global economy
EU nations threaten to block green energy rules at summit talks
By Barbara Lewis BRUSSELS (Reuters) - EU leaders face a long day on Thursday as they seek to agree on a new decade of climate and energy policy at a summit in Brussels, with nations from Poland to Portugal threatening to block a deal. If the European Union can manage an accord, including a more ambitious greenhouse gas cut, it will be the first major economic bloc to set an emissions target for 2030 and would set the tone ahead of United Nations talks next year in Paris on a global pact to manage climate change. ...
European markets rise on talk of central bank action
Catalans: independence drive will intensify unless Madrid negotiates
By Mike Peacock LONDON (Reuters) - After scuppering a referendum, Spain risks intensifying Catalonia's push for independence unless it negotiates over transferring more powers, the region's economy minister said. Spain's government asked the constitutional court last month to declare a referendum planned for Nov. 9 illegal on the grounds it breached the constitution. The court suspended the vote until it ruled on the case, which could take years. ...
South Africa sees bigger budget shortfall as growth slows
By Stella Mapenzauswa CAPE TOWN (Reuters) - South Africa's economic growth will be slower and its budget deficit bigger this year than forecast, the finance ministry said on Wednesday, vowing to keep a tight grip on spending to stop the country's credit rating slipping to junk. In his first policy statement since being appointed in May, Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene warned that Africa's most advanced economy was not making sufficient progress to reduce poverty and create jobs, deepening inequality. ...
South Africa's Northam seals $600 mln black empowerment deal
By Zandi Shabalala JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - South Africa's Northam Platinum has sealed a $600 million deal that will increase its black ownership to over a third and inject 4.6 billion rand ($420) in cash to fund growth and potential acquisitions. South African companies are required to reach at least 26 percent black ownership this year under the government's policy of black economic empowerment, or "BEE", designed to address the inequalities of the apartheid system that ended in 1994. ...