U.S. Stocks Rise as Housing Data Overshadow Intel, IBM (Bloomberg).
U.S. stocks rose, after the biggest gain in a month for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index, as a jump in housing starts overshadowed disappointing results from International Business Machines Corp. (IBM) and Intel Corp. (INTC). U.S. equities rose as Commerce Department figures showed new-house construction jumped 15% to an 872,000 annual rate last month, the most since July 2008 and exceeding all forecasts in a Bloomberg survey of economists. The median estimate of 81 economists surveyed by Bloomberg called for 770,000. “The housing number was amazing,” Randall Warren, chief investment officer of Warren Financial Service in Exton, Pennsylvania, said. “Corporate earnings have been strong in a slow growth environment, so if housing can help improve the economy then we could see a move up in stocks.”
Man Arrested in Plot to Blow up Federal Reserve Bank in New York (CNN)
Quazi Mohammad Rezwanul Ahsan Nafis, 21, was arrested for allegedly attempting to detonate what he thought was a 1,000-pound bomb at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York in Manhattan, the Department of Justice and a U.S. attorney’s office said in a press release. He will be charged with attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction and attempting to provide material support to al-Qaeda, the press release said.
IMF Urges Aid for Italy, Spain but Rome is Balking (Reuters)
The International Monetary Fund called on the eve of a European Union summit for both Spain and Italy to seek euro-zone assistance to draw a line under the bloc’s debt crisis, but Rome has rebuffed the idea and Madrid seems likely to apply alone. Spanish and Italian bond yields fell in response, while the euro strengthened to a one-month high against the dollar. Senior Spanish and euro-zone sources have indicated Madrid is preparing to request a precautionary credit line from the euro-zone rescue fund in the coming weeks — a move that could start European Central Bank bond-buying once Spain agrees on policy conditions. Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti said last week that a Spanish request could be enough to calm markets. He has repeatedly said Rome does not need assistance for itself.
Foxconn Says Underage Workers used in China Plant (Reuters)
Foxconn Technology Group, the world’s largest contract electronics maker, has acknowledged hiring teenagers as young as 14 in a Chinese factory, in breach of national law. The case raises further questions about its student intern program. Foxconn is Apple Inc.’s largest manufacturing partner, and also makes products for Dell Inc., Sony Corp. and Hewlett-Packard Co., among its other clients.