DJIA: 18,232.02  -53.72 (-0.29%) | NASDAQ: 5,089.362  -1.433 (-0.03%) | S&P 500: 2,126.06  -4.76 (-0.22%) Markets status unavailable

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    U.S. stock investors have been enjoying an extended period of low volatility and steady gains, but with the Federal Reserve on track to raise interest rates this year and major indexes near records, the market could get a bit choppier in coming weeks.

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    * TSX ends down 2.85 points, or 0.02 percent, at 15,200.76. * Index gained 0.6 percent in holiday-shortened week. * Six of the TSX's 10 main groups fell. By Alastair Sharp. Canada's main stock index barely retreated on Friday, with cooling energy and financial stocks weighing, after the index posted gains in four of the previous five sessions.

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    opened slightly weaker on Friday after a stronger-than-expected CPI report. The main indexes were on track to post modest weekly gains. The S&P 500 opened 2 points, or 0.1%, lower at 2,128.93, retreating from the record set on Thursday.

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    ended Friday's choppy session slightly lower, though the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite booked modest gains over the week. Stocks sold off toward the end of the session, after Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen said she still expected the central bank to raise interest rates sometime this year, in a speech in Providence, R.I., discussing the U.S. economic outlook. The S&P 500 closed 4.76 points, or 0.2%, lower at 2,126.06, but gained 0.2% over the week.

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    By Anora Mahmudova and Barbara Kollmeyer, MarketWatch. S&P 500, Nasdaq book modest weekly gains. U.S. stocks ended Friday's choppy session modestly lower, though the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite Index booked modest weekly gains.

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    * Yellen comments leave rate expectations unchanged on Wall Street. * Core inflation highest since January 2013. * Boeing falls after Bombardier jet report. * Microsoft down after report of Salesforce deal talks. * Indexes end down: Dow 0.29 pct, S&P 0.22 pct, Nasdaq 0.03 pct. By Noel Randewich.

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    The Treasury market finished the week lower, as investors interpreted April's strong consumer-price index as an indication that the Federal Reserve might be closer to the first interest-rate increase in almost a decade. The reaction to the inflation report was somewhat muted due to thin trading volume and an early 2 p.m. market close, ahead of the Memorial Day weekend, celebrated on Monday. But it was enough to fully reverse the gains of Thursday's rally, leading Treasury yields,...

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    Shares of Target Corp. (TGT) are higher by 0.05% to $79.43 after BMO Capital Markets increased its price Target (TGT) to $85 from $82 and maintained its "market outperform" rating for the Minneapolis-based retail company. Target (TGT) released its first quarter earnings on May 20, with net income rising 51.6% to $635 million, or $1.10 per share, beating BMO Capital Markets' estimate of $1.04 per share.

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    * April core price rise revives bets on Fed rate hike * Fed's Yellen sees rate liftoff in 2015 if economy improves * Lack of Greek debt deal underpins safety bids for bonds * U.S. bond market to close early ahead of 3-day weekend (Adds quote, updates market action) By Richard Leong NEW YORK, May 22 (Reuters) - U.S. Treasuries yields rose on Friday as a stronger-than-expected increase in core consumer prices in April revived expectations that inflation may approach the Federal Reserve's 2 percent target later this year. If the price upturn persists, it would allow the U.S. central bank to consider ending its near-zero interest rate policy this year sooner than previously thought, analysts said. "The core CPI number is starting to point to some momentum toward inflation. If it continues, they will be ready to move later on this year," said Todd Hedtke, vice president of investment management with Allianz Investment Management in Minneapolis. Fed Chair Janet Yellen, in a speech to a business group in Providence, Rhode Island, said a rate increase would be appropriate this year if the economy shows further improvement. Bond yields briefly spiked but retreated as traders focused on the rest of Yellen's remarks that signaled a path of rate hikes will be gradual. The government's gauge on core consumer goods prices, which excludes volatile energy and food prices, rose by 0.3 percent last month, bringing the year-over-year rise to 1.8 percent, the highest since October. The rise in Treasuries yields was capped by a perception the April core price increase was largely driven by a 0.7 percent jump in medical care expenses, which is not expected to happen again, while some other components of the core number were unchanged to weaker. In addition, the absence of a deal between Greece and its lenders stoked worries of a default by the cash-strapped nation, driving a safety bid for low-risk U.S. government debt. A Greek government spokesman said on Friday that Greece still expects to clinch a cash-for-reform deal in time to meet its debt payments in June. The U.S. bond market closed early at 2 p.m. (1800 GMT) and will be shut on Monday for the U.S. Memorial Day holiday. On light trading volume, benchmark 10-year Treasuries were down 7/32 in price, yielding 2.213 percent, up 3 basis points from Thursday's close. The two-year Treasuries yield, which is sensitive to change in traders' view on changes in Fed policy, climbed 4 basis points to 0.618 percent. Two-year and 10-year yields were up 8 and 7 basis points on the week, respectively. In the inflation debt market, the yield spread between 10-year Treasury inflation protected securities and regular 10-year Treasuries touched 1.92 percent, the widest in 2-1/2 weeks. This gauge of investors' inflation expectations was last 1.90 percent, up 2 basis points, according to Tradeweb. (Editing by Bernadette Baum and Leslie Adler)

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    * Yellen comments leave rate expectations unchanged on Wall Street. * Core inflation highest since January 2013. * Boeing biggest drag on Dow after Bombardier jet report. * Microsoft down after report of Salesforce deal talk. * Indexes: Dow down 0.09 pct, S&P off 0.01 pct, Nasdaq up 0.16 pct. By Noel Randewich.

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    * Yellen to speaks at 1:00 p.m. ET. * Core inflation at highest since January 2013. * Boeing biggest drag on Dow after Bombardier jet report. * Ctrip, Expedia hit record highs on stake sale deal. * Indexes: Dow down 0.24 pct, S&P off 0.11 pct, Nasdaq up 0.08 pct. By Tanya Agrawal.

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    Several major banks pleaded guilty to a conspiracy to manipulate currency prices this week, agreeing to pay some $6 billion in fines. In letters to their clients Thursday about the plea, those banks then said that they would keep right on doing the very same things they'd been fined for.The banks are permitted more or less to do what they want -- as long as  their clients know they're doing it, explains Bloomberg's Matt Levine:Whenever a wave of bank scandals breaks -- mortgage-backed securities, Libor, FX, "bond lies" -- an important theme is always the mutual incomprehension of regulators and the public, on the one hand, who find the banks' behavior obviously abhorrent, and the banks, on the other hand, who are like, "What? This? We've done this forever. We thought it was fine."...Levine calls it "defiance" on the part of the banks, and there's really no other word for it. It's a startling example of how fine the line between normal business practices and outright fraud can be in the financial sector.On Memorial Day, we honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice in the service of their country. Wonkbook will resume on June 1.Welcome to Wonkbook. To subscribe by e-mail, click here. Send comments, criticism or ideas to Wonkbook at Washpost dot com. Follow Wonkblog on Twitter and Facebook.What's in Wonkbook: 1) NSA reform 2) Opinions, including Cassidy and Buffett on the minimum wage 3) The CIA closes its climate-science program, and more: While the distribution of income in the United States is roughly comparable to that of other developed nations, the distribution of wealth is much more unequal. The richest 10 percent of Americans account for 76 percent of U.S. net worth. Christopher Ingraham in The Washington Post.1. Top story: NSA votes could extend beyond FridayCongress is running out of time to extend some National Security Agency surveillance. "If the House and Senate do not act in concert by midnight May 31, the NSA’s bulk collection of telephone 'metadata' from private companies will end, at least temporarily. The House passed a White House-backed bill last week reworking the program, keeping the records in private hands but allowing authorities to seek discrete records with a court order, but top Senate Republicans have balked, saying the changes­ could hamper counterterrorism efforts." Mike DeBonis and Ellen Nakashima in The Washington Post.Proponents of reform will try to get the House bill through the Senate Friday and over the weekend. "The bill has the backing of the majority of the Senate — including all Democrats — but it remains unclear whether it has the 60 votes necessary to overcome procedural hurdles during what increasingly looks like a rare Memorial Day weekend session. ... If the Senate voted the bill down but approved a short-term patch, the law would still expire for at least a few hours on the morning of June 1. Unless, that is, House leaders chose to quietly pass a short-term reauthorization of the law while the chamber is out of town next week. A House Republican leadership aide said that they 'are not going to' use a voice vote to get 'any type of short term extension.' Any such move would surely lead to an insurrection in the House, which has attempted to rein in the NSA on multiple occasions. Multiple House lawmakers in both parties have repeatedly objected to voting for a short-term bill. But not everyone is convinced." Julian Hattem in The Hill.2. Top opinions CARNEY: Clinton's views on campaign finance are worse than hypocrisy. "Not only would such campaign finance laws make it harder for groups to criticize her — they could do so only through political action committees, which have strict rules and limits on fundraising — such laws would also make it harder for SuperPACs to spend on behalf of candidates, thus making candidates more reliant on thousands of $2,700 donations. That in turn makes candidates reliant on hundreds of well-connected bundlers — such as the audience at Hillary's recent New York dinner. ... Goldman Sachs (GS), the Carlyle Group (CG), the National Auto Dealers Association, Corning, Fidelity, KKR, Russian financial firm Renaissance Capital (RNCG), eBay (EBAY), and Ericsson (ERIC) have all made six-figure contributions to Hillary's campaign in the form of speaking fees. Corporate and foreign contributions to campaigns are illegal, but Hillary has found a way around that restriction — unless you think this career politician's insights were really worth ten thousand dollars a minute." The Washington Examiner.KRUGMAN: Obama must explain why he supports the Pacific trade deal. "Officials have evaded the main concerns about the content of a potential deal; they’ve belittled and dismissed the critics; and they’ve made blithe assurances that turn out not to be true. ... Whatever you may say about the benefits of free trade, most of those benefits have already been realized. A series of past trade agreements, going back almost 70 years, has brought tariffs and other barriers to trade very low to the point where any effect they may have on U.S. trade is swamped by other factors, like changes in currency values. In any case, the Pacific trade deal isn’t really about trade. Some already low tariffs would come down, but the main thrust of the proposed deal involves strengthening intellectual property rights — things like drug patents and movie copyrights — and changing the way companies and countries settle disputes. And it’s by no means clear that either of those changes are good for America." The New York Times.WILKINSON: Why can't GOP presidential candidates coherently answer questions about Iraq? "Suppose... Mr Obama's choice to withdraw troops was the mistake. It then follows that the smart thing to do—the best 'long-term strategy on how to deal with it,' in Mr Bush's words—is to get American boots back on the ground and vindicate the invasion by finishing the job. The problem for hawks like Messrs Bush and Rubio is that this is an impolitic thing to say. ... If the eventual GOP nominee is going to have a shot at the White House, he will need to say that the invasion was a mistake. So it is wise to be on the record saying a version of that now. But this can be awfully hard to do if you don't fully believe it. Messrs Bush and Rubio's botched answers show what happens when politicians vacillate between what they probably really think and what is, all things considered, the politically wise thing to say." The Economist.CASSIDY: The campaign for a living wage could change American politics. "Reacting to grassroots campaigns carried out by labor unions and other progressive groups, some of the biggest cities in America are now defying several decades of economic orthodoxy, as well as challenging a set of social norms that regarded low-wage jobs as unavoidable and acceptable. ... If it turns out that cities like L.A. and San Francisco can raise the minimum wage by fifty per cent or sixty per cent without suffering big losses in employment, the old argument that higher minimum wages are job killers will be much harder to sustain. And that would change American politics in a very significant way, greatly expanding the range of possibilities it could encompass." The New Yorker.The Earned Income Tax Credit is better than the minimum wage, writes investor and Berkshire Hathaway Chief Executive Warren Buffett. "I may wish to have all jobs pay at least $15 an hour. But that minimum would almost certainly reduce employment in a major way, crushing many workers possessing only basic skills. Smaller increases, though obviously welcome, will still leave many hardworking Americans mired in poverty. The better answer is a major and carefully crafted expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), which currently goes to millions of low-income workers. Payments to eligible workers diminish as their earnings increase. But there is no disincentive effect: A gain in wages always produces a gain in overall income. The process is simple: You file a tax return, and the government sends you a check." The Wall Street Journal.3. In case you missed itFormer Florida Gov. Jeb Bush criticizes his brother's fiscal policy. "'I think that in Washington, during my brother's time, Republicans spent too much money,' Jeb Bush said. ... 'He could have brought budget discipline to Washington, D.C.' Total federal spending grew from $1.86 trillion in 2001 to nearly $3 trillion in 2008, an annual growth rate of 7 percent. Spending in President Obama’s first six years has had an annual growth rate of about 4 percent. Bush’s fiscal criticism is the most direct critique to date of his brother's presidency. He has said that 'mistakes were made' during the Iraq war, but he otherwise avoids directly criticizing his brother or his father, George H.W. Bush, another former president." Ed O'Keefe in The Washington Post.The Senate ends a filibuster on Obama's trade agenda. "The 62-38 vote preserves the possibility that the Senate can finish the trade bill before the Memorial Day recess, which would be a major boon to Obama and Republican leaders in the House and Senate. It came after a round of horse-trading that assures the Export-Import Bank will receive a chance at a lifeline to live past June 30, when it is scheduled to expire. ... McConnell was seen on the floor talking with senators in both parties who want to see Ex-Im extended, and soon after a half-dozen lawmakers announced their support for the trade measure." Burgess Everett and Manu Raju at Politico.The administration will release a new major new rule on clean water. "Environmentalists have praised the new rule, calling it an important step that would lead to significantly cleaner natural bodies of water and healthier drinking water. But it has attracted fierce opposition from several business interests, including farmers, property developers, fertilizer and pesticide makers, oil and gas producers and a national association of golf course owners. Opponents contend that the rule would stifle economic growth and intrude on property owners’ rights. ... The announcement of the rule could come as soon as Friday. If not, it is likely to happen next week, people with knowledge of the plans said." Coral Davenport in The New York Times.The Central Intelligence Agency has closed a major climate-science program. "Under the program, known as Medea, the CIA had allowed civilian scientists to access classified data—such as ocean temperature and tidal readings gathered by Navy submarines and topography data collected by spy satellites—in an effort to glean insights about how global warming could create security threats around the world. ... Data gathered by the military and intelligence agencies is often of much higher quality than what civilian scientists normally work with. ... Over the past several years, climate change has gained prominence among defense experts, many of whom see it as a 'threat multiplier' that can exacerbate crises such as infectious disease and terrorism. Medea had been part of a larger network of climate-related initiatives across the national security community. Medea's closure notwithstanding, that network appears to be growing." Tim McDonnell in Mother Jones.An outbreak of bird flu has tripled the price of eggs. "Egg companies—the sector hit hardest by the virus—and turkey producers are spending millions of dollars to try to contain the disease. With eggs in particular, the problem is greatly complicated by the way the American industry is concentrated in the hands of relatively few producers. ... Avian influenza has resulted in the deaths or extermination of at least 38.9 million birds, more than double the previous major U.S. outbreak in the 1980s. Of that total, more than 32 million are egg-laying hens, accounting for about 10% of the U.S. egg-laying flock. ... The outbreak has wiped out about one-third of the egg-laying flock in Iowa, the biggest U.S. egg producer. Some egg companies are unlikely to survive because of the costs of culling animals and having to go months without revenue while facilities are cleaned and repopulated with hens." Kelsey Gee in The Wall Street Journal.




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    SAO PAULO, May 22 (Reuters) - Latin American currencies and stocks weakened across the board on Friday, after U.S. inflation data stoked investors' expectations that interest rates in the world's largest economy will be hiked sooner rather than later. Nearly every currency in the region weakened against the dollar, while the MSCI Latin American stock index dropped to its lowest level in a month. The U.S. Consumer Price Index, stripped of volatile food and energy components, notched a 0.3 percent core rise in April according to data released Friday, with prices increasing across a broad spectrum of items. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen is set to discuss the prospects for the U.S. economy later on Friday. Interviews with current and former officials at the U.S. central bank suggest that policymakers do not need much more evidence that the economy can withstand a modest initial rate rise by September. Expectations of higher U.S. interest rates tend to weaken demand for higher-risk assets, such as Latin American securities. The Brazilian currency, the real , touched its weakest level in ten days, with traders awaiting the formal announcement of the government's expected 70 billion reais ($23 billion) budget freeze later in the session. Brazil's improved fiscal management makes a sovereign credit downgrade less likely and boosts the outlook for the real, though political wrangling threatens to limit the scope of that initiative. Data on Friday showed Brazil's annual inflation rate remained at an 11-year high in mid-May, putting additional pressure on the central bank to hike interest rates. Yields on Brazilian interest rate futures , meanwhile, climbed across the shorter end of the yield curve. Chile's peso weakened, dragged down by lower prices for copper, the country's main export. Mexico's peso also fell. In equities markets, Brazil's Bovespa stock index fell for the fourth session in five, contributing to a decline of about 4.9 percent on the week - the biggest weekly drop in the index since mid-December. Most of that decline was caused by bank shares, which sank due to recently-announced changes in income tax rules. Key Latin American stock indexes and currencies at 1531 GMT: Stock indexes Latest Daily YTD pct pct change change MSCI Emerging Markets 1,037.22 0.44 7.99 MSCI LatAm 2,611.58 -1.6 -2.7 Brazil Bovespa 54,312.35 -1.45 8.61 Mexico IPC 45,016.52 -0.18 4.34 Chile IPSA 4,050.78 -0.18 5.19 Chile IGPA 19,670.93 -0.15 4.24 Argentina MerVal 11,483.069 -1.85 33.85 Colombia IGBC 10,587.4 -0.02 -9.00 Peru IGRA - - - Venezuela IBC 7,339.07 10.79 90.19 Currencies Latest Daily YTD pct pct change change Brazil real 3.0657 -0.77 -13.32 Mexico peso 15.2873 -0.45 -3.55 Chile peso 608.2 -0.61 -0.30 Colombia peso 2,499.5 -0.75 -4.46 Peru sol 3.1471 -0.13 -5.34 Argentina peso 8.9675 0.00 -4.66 (interbank) Argentina peso 12.57 0.56 11.38 (parallel) (Reporting by Asher Levine, editing by G Crosse)

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    * Core inflation at highest since January 2013. * Yellen speaks at 1:00 p.m. * HP rises on low forecast for split-related costs. * Ctrip up on deal to buy stake in China travel firm. * Indexes down: Dow 0.03 pct, S&P 0.01 pct, Nasdaq 0.1 pct. By Tanya Agrawal.

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    * TSX down 21.6 points, or 0.14 percent, to 15,182.01. * Five of the TSX's 10 main groups are down. By Solarina Ho. Canada's main stock index retreated on Friday, weighed down by cooling energy and financial stocks, with investors taking some profits after making gains in four of the previous five sessions. The top 10 biggest drags on the TSX were either in energy or financials.

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    Burgers, beer and barbecue: Which stocks will benefit as consumers fire up for grilling season? Lower gas prices compared to 2014 could mean a bump in consumer dollars this summer toward food and grocery bills. Consolidation also continues. TheStreet Ratings believes a handful of food retail stocks are worthy of buying.

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    * Core inflation at highest since January 2013. * Yellen speaks at 1:00 p.m. * HP rises on low forecast for split-related costs. * Aeropostale slumps after results. * Indexes: Dow down 0.13 pct, S&P off 0.05 pct, Nasdaq up 0.16 pct. By Tanya Agrawal.