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    LONDON-- The unemployment rate in the U.K. fell to 6.9% in the three months to February, beating expectations of a 7.1% print, according to data from the Office for National Statistics released on Wednesday. In the three-month period to January, the joblessness level was 7.2%. With the drop in February, the unemployment rate has fallen below the Bank of England's 7% threshold and likely activates the central bank's new "fuzzy" forward guidance on interest rates.

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    When it comes to shoring up bank balance sheets, the Federal Reserve isn't ready to put down its tools and call it a day. Fed Chairwoman Janet Yellen gave bankers and investors a reminder of that Tuesday in remarks to a financial-markets conference. Speaking of the need for additional regulatory work related to wholesale-funding markets and bank liquidity, she referenced a study that found there could be, on net, economic benefits from even higher capital requirements.

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    WASHINGTON-- The Federal Reserve should tie its forward guidance closer to its two mandates of stable inflation and low unemployment, said Eric Rosengren, the president of the Boston Federal Reserve Bank, on Tuesday. In a speech at Husson University in Bangor, Maine, Rosengren said the Fed should pledge to keep short-term interest rates close to zero until the Fed believes it is within one year of reaching its targets. Rosengren said that a 5.2% unemployment rate would be close to...

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    Oklahoma cities and towns are banned from raising the local minimum wage under a new state law. Gov. Mary Fallin signed the measure Monday. With legislation to increase the federal minimum wage stalled in Congress, proponents of a raise have turned their attention to states and cities. The Oklahoma law blocks that sort of move.

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    By Myra P. Saefong and Sara Sjolin, MarketWatch. SAN FRANCISCO-- Gold futures dropped just over 2% on Tuesday, with analysts attributing the decline to profit-taking on the back of overall strength in the dollar after the prior session's close at a three-week high for the metal. Silver and copper, meanwhile, saw their prices take hits on concerns over China's economic growth.

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    WASHINGTON-- There's not much inflation out there in the United States, and what little there is, is perfectly acceptable to the Federal Reserve. Here's the background: The consumer price index rose 0.2% in March, bringing the year-over-year inflation rate to 1.5%, which is below the Fed's target. Food prices rose 0.4%, natural-gas prices rose 7.5%, airfares rose 0.5% and hospital- services prices increased 0.8%.

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    The heads of nine regional Federal Reserve banks voted last month to maintain the U.S. central bank's emergency lending rate at 0.75 percent, against three who voted for a modest rise, minutes of Fed deliberations released on Tuesday showed.

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    WASHINGTON-- Consumer prices ticked up slightly in March pushed up by higher costs for shelter and food. The Labor Department said the consumer price index increased 0.2% in March after a 0.1% gain in February. Excluding volatile food and energy prices, so-called core prices ticked up 0.2%.

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    *Prices gain as Ukraine tensions spark safety buying* NY manufacturing disappoints, inflation data benign* Fed buys $2.20 bln notes due 2020, 2021 By Karen Brettell NEW YORK, April 15- U.S. Treasuries prices gained on Tuesday as rising tensions in Ukraine sparked a safety bid for U.S. bonds, and after a weak manufacturing survey for New York state pointed to...

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    As the spring home buying season kicks into higher gear, mortgage interest rates seem to be co-operating with eager buyers. The BankingMyWay.com Weekly Mortgage Rate tracker pegs 30-year fixed mortgage rates at 4.28% this week, down from 4.43% last week. Both rate updates reflect a softening in mortgage rates, which should favor new homebuyers.

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    NEW YORK-- Treasury prices held losses Tuesday after data showed inflation increasing at a faster pace than expected but a regional manufacturing index unexpectedly slipping. U.S., largely because of increased food and shelter costs, beating economist expectations of a 0.1% rise. The Empire State manufacturing index from 5.6 in March, missing economist expectations of a rise to 8. After the data, the 10- year Treasury note yield, which rises as prices fall, was up 2 basis points at...

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    Shares of Brink's Company  dropped -7.95% to $26.30, the most in two years, after the provider of secure logistics and security solutions services said "that it will no longer use Venezuela's official exchange rate of 6.3 bolivars per U.S. dollar and has adopted the government's SICAD II floating rate of approximately 50 bolivars per U.S. dollar, which took effect on March 24."

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    The U.S. March consumer price report showed slightly higher-than-expected monthly numbers that largely resulted from rising shelter costs, but these probably are not the start of a generalized jump in inflation. The March CPI was up 0.2% overall and also up 0.2% in core. Food posted +0.4% as meats, dairy, and fruits & vegetables gained.

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    WASHINGTON-- Builder confidence in the market for newly built, single-family homes edged up slightly in April to a reading of 47 from 46 in March, according to the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo housing market index released Tuesday. Economists polled by MarketWatch expected a reading of 50. The index has now held below 50 for three straight months. The HMI index gauging current sales conditions in April held steady at 51 while the component gauging traffic of...

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    U.S. homebuilder sentiment edged up in April but remained mostly dour on lingering concerns about stiff credit conditions for buyers and tight supply of building lots and labor, the National Association of Home Builders said on Tuesday. The NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market index rose to 47 in April from a downwardly revised 46 in March, the group said in a statement.

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    High-income folks are painfully aware that many valuable tax breaks are phased-out as income climbs up the ladder. Examples include personal and dependent exemption deductions; higher-education tax credits; deductions for traditional IRA contributions; and deductions for home mortgage interest, state and local income and property taxes, and charitable donations. As a result, high-income individuals may be completely or partially ineligible for tax goodies that others...

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    *Prices steady, 30- year bond prices rise* NY manufacturing disappoints, inflation data benign* Fed to buy $1.75 bln- $2.25 bln notes due 2020, 2021 By Karen Brettell NEW YORK, April 15- U.S. Treasuries prices were steady on Tuesday after a weak manufacturing survey for New York state pointed to sluggish economic momentum, and as consumer price pressures remained...

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    Foreign appetite for long-term U.S. assets staged a comeback in February to its strongest level in over two years, following three straight months of net sales, data from the U.S. Treasury showed on Tuesday. Foreigners bought $76.5 billion in long-term U.S. assets, compared with the revised $2.1 billion they sold in January.