MILAN (AP) — The Italian Treasury says that derivatives contracts it signed years ago pose no threat to state finances.
Italian financial authorities also denied in a statement Wednesday that Italy used the potentially risky financial instruments at the end of the 1990s to help the country meet benchmarks for admission to the euro currency union.
Questions about potential risks linked to Italian derivatives arose from media reports that said Italy risks losing 8 billion euros ($10.5 billion) on derivatives contracts it restructured at the height of the eurozone crisis. The reports in La Repubblica and the Financial Times were based on a confidential report by the Rome Treasury.
A derivative is a financial contract whose value is based on an underlying asset, such as a stock or bond.
PERTH (Reuters) - Peabody Energy Corp and Glencore Xstrata will cut around 500 mining jobs in Australia, a company official and trade publication said on Tuesday, as a global glut in coal supply pushes down prices.
Peabody plans to cut around 450 contractor jobs, while Glencore Xstrata will lay off around 46 employees at its Ravensworth coal mine.
Prices for thermal coal, used for power generation, have fallen over 30 percent in the last two years to around $80 per metric ton (1.1023 tons), while prices for coking coal, used for steelmaking, have dropped about 40 percent in the last year to around $130 per metric ton.
"(Contractors have) traditionally been an area of high spend for the company and as a result we will be reducing approximately 450 contractor positions at our mines over the coming weeks," Peabody president Charles Meintjes was quoted as saying by industry publication Australian Mining.
A Peabody spokeswoman was not available for comment.
Peabody said the cuts would take place across its operations in the coal-rich eastern Australian states of Queensland and New South Wales, where it produces both coking and thermal coal.
Xstrata's job cuts would reduce Ravensworth's mine workforce by about 26 percent, with around 130 employees remaining.
A company spokesman, who asked not be named, said the layoffs would trim back production at the mine, but did not give any specific figures. The mine produced around 2.2 million metric tons of mostly coking coal last year.
Glencore Xstrata has cut around 700 jobs since late last year, about 100 more jobs than it said it planned to eliminate late last year.
(Reporting by Rebekah Kebede; Editing by Jeremy Laurence)
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Stock futures rose on Wednesday, indicating the S&P 500 may build on its biggest gain in nearly two weeks on Tuesday, on the back of stronger-than-expected economic data.
* The S&P 500 <.spx> rose nearly 1 percent Tuesday, its most since June 13, as data on durable goods orders, sales of new homes and consumer confidence all topped analysts' expectations and the People's Bank of China eased concerns about a possible banking crisis in the world's second-largest economy.</.spx>
* Still, the benchmark S&P index remains down 3.9 percent since the Fed signaled last week that it may begin to rein in its stimulus efforts should its economic forecasts hold.
* The final estimate of first quarter gross domestic product is due at 8:30 a.m. Economists in a Reuters survey forecast a 2.4 percent annualized pace of growth, the same as the preliminary estimate for the quarter.
* Gold stocks were under pressure as the precious metal fell to its lowest in almost three years, putting it on course for a record quarterly loss, as sturdy U.S. economic data supported fears the Federal Reserve will soon end ultra-loose monetary policy. U.S.-listed shares of Gold Fields Ltd dropped 6.3 percent to $4.76 and Barrick Gold Corp lost 4.6 percent to $15.37 in premarket trading.
* S&P 500 futures rose 6.2 points and were above fair value, a formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account interest rates, dividends and time to expiration on the contract. Dow Jones industrial average futures gained 50 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures added 14.5 points.
* General Mills slipped 0.7 percent to $48 in light premarket trading after the food manufacturer reported fourth-quarter earnings and provided its outlook for 2014.
* Other S&P 500 companies expected to report earnings on Wednesday include Bed, Bath & Beyond Inc , Monsanto Co and Paychex Inc .
* European shares were on track for their biggest two-day gain since April, after a month-long downward trend, thanks to robust U.S. data. <.eu></.eu>
* Asian shares turned around a four-day losing streak and rose on Wednesday after China's central bank assured it will offer funds to banks if needed, but lingering fears of a credit crunch and slower loan growth continued to drive selling of Shanghai shares.