Asia stocks mixed as Fed, China slowdown weighed

Monday, July 1st, 2013 | Finance News

BANGKOK (AP) — Asian stocks were mixed on Tuesday as speculation that lukewarm U.S. economic indicators would for now keep the Federal Reserve from ending its stimulus program partly offset pessimism linked to slowing Chinese growth.

Tokyo's Nikkei 225, the region's leading index, jumped 1.1 percent to 14,000.22 in morning trading, while Taiwan's Taiex was up 0.1 percent to 8,044.53.

Singapore's Straits Times Index rose 0.8 percent to 3,166.39.

In China, the Shanghai Composite Index fell for a second day. It was down 0.5 percent to 1,985.19 after reports on Monday that Chinese manufacturing weakened in June amid a credit crunch. Hong Kong's Hang Seng fell by 0.5 percent to 20,707.95.

Seoul's Kospi Index declined 0.1 percent to 1,853.27.

The gains in some Asian markets followed a rally on Wall Street after an ISM manufacturing survey for the U.S. that showed a weak rebound in June thanks to new orders and higher production. The survey boosted stock markets as investors estimated it was strong enough to show the recovery is on track, but not so strong as to encourage the Federal Reserve to start ending its monetary stimulus program ahead of time.

The Dow Jones industrial average gained 0.4 percent to 14,974.96 by day's end, while the broader S&P 500 index rose 0.5 percent to 1,614.96 and the Nasdaq composite rose 0.9 percent to 3,434.

"This rebound in the ISM and moderate employment growth in June would leave the Fed on track to start tapering" its bond purchases in September, said Paul Dales, analyst at Capital Economics.

U.S. economic indicators have been one of the main market drivers in recent weeks as investors gauge when the Fed is likely to wind down its stimulus.

After a volatile few weeks, Fed officials are trying to calm investors' concerns about the central bank's planned reduction in monthly purchases of financial assets. Those purchases are aimed at stimulating the economy by pushing down market interest rates, and investors worry that as the economy improves, a pullback could deprive them of cheap borrowing rates.

In that vein, the U.S. monthly jobs report due Friday will get huge attention as it is the most closely watched indicator for the world's largest economy.

Benchmark oil for August delivery was down 4 cents to $97.95 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose $1.43 to close at $97.99 a barrel on Monday.

In currencies, the euro fell to $1.3062 from $1.3065 late Monday in New York. The dollar fell to 99.59 yen from 99.63 yen.


Apple plans Nevada solar farm in clean energy push for data centers

Monday, July 1st, 2013 | Finance News

(Reuters) - Apple Inc said it plans to build a new solar farm with NV Energy Inc for power supply to its new data center in Reno, Nevada, a major step towards its goal of having its data centers run on renewable energy.

Apple and other technology companies such as Inc and Microsoft Corp, that build and run computer server farms have come under criticism for their high consumption of electricity and other resources.

These data centers cater to an explosion in Internet traffic, streaming content through mobile devices and hosting of services to corporations.

The new solar farm will provide power to Sierra Pacific Power Co's electric grid that serves Apple's data center and when completed will generate about hours 43.5 million kilowatt of clean energy a year, Apple said in a statement.

Apple already runs its largest data center in the U.S. on solar power. The center in Maiden, North Carolina produces 167 million kilowatt hours, the power equivalent of 17,600 homes for one year, from a 100-acre solar farm and fuel cell installations provided by Silicon Valley startup Bloom Energy.

(Reporting by Avik Das in Bangalore and Poornima Gupta in San Francisco; Editing by Edwina Gibbs)


Ex-Dow officer charged in insider trading case

Monday, July 1st, 2013 | Finance News

(Reuters) - A former officer of Dow Chemical Co has been charged by securities regulators in connection to an insider trading scheme based on Dow's 2008 acquisition of Rohm & Haas Co.

Mack Murrell, formerly the Vice President of Information Systems at Dow, was among three charged with insider trading in a civil complaint filed on Monday by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

The SEC alleged that Murrell, his long-time friend and a broker participated in a scheme that generated more than $1 million in illicit profits based on confidential information relating to the acquisition of Rohm.

Murrell, of Saginaw, Michigan, learned about the acquisition before it became public from his then live-in girlfriend, now his wife, who was the administrative assistant to Dow's chief financial officer, according to the SEC.

After learning about the deal, the SEC alleged that Murrell tipped his friend, David Teekell who in turn tipped his broker, Charles Adams at Raymond James Financial Services Inc.

Teekell, of Tomball, Texas, and Adams, of Conroe, Texas, purchased stock and call options in Rohm leading up to Dow's announcement of the deal on July 10, 2008, the SEC said.

Without admitting or denying the allegations, Teekell agreed to settle the case and pay approximately $1.1 million in disgorgement, prejudgment interest and a penalty, the SEC said.

None of the defendants could be reached for comment.

The case is Securities and Exchange Commission v. Mack Murrell, et al, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Michigan, 13-12856.

(Reporting by Andrew Longstreth in NEW YORK; Editing by Michael Urquhart)