DJIA: 17,734.70  -11.28 (-0.06%) | NASDAQ: 5,141.667  +12.882 (0.25%) | S&P 500: 2,109.66  +1.03 (0.05%) Markets status unavailable

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    * 2nd qtr loss widens to $67.7 mln from $1 mln. * Revenue $711.7 mln vs est $680.1 mln. * Adj profit 55 cents/shr vs est 30 cents. * Shares fall after-hours. By Devika Krishna Kumar and Kshitiz Goliya.

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     LinkedIn  shares are skyrocketing 10.28% to $250.50 in after-hours trading on Thursday, after the company reported its fiscal 2015 second quarter earnings results that beat analysts' estimates on the top and bottom line. For the latest quarter, the professional network reported earnings of 55 cents per share, topping analysts' estimate of 30 cents per share.

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    Wall Street ended flat on Thursday as investors digested ho-hum corporate earnings and a report that showed that the economy picked up steam in the second quarter. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 5.41 points, or 0.03 percent, to 17,745.98, the S&P 500 gained 0.06 points, or flat, to 2,108.63 and the Nasdaq Composite added 17.05 points, or 0.33 percent, to 5,128.79.

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    The Treasury market staged a U-turn. Treasury yields finished lower Thursday, brought down by end-of-the-month portfolio rebalancing after initially soaring in the wake of GDP data. Early Thursday morning, the yield on the 10- year note jumped about 4.1 basis points to a session high of 2.318% following a report that showed economic growth picked up modestly in the second quarter.

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     Nobel Corp. stock is down 4.04% to $12.35 in afternoon trading on Thursday as U.S. crude oil prices remain under $50 a barrel. WTI crude is down 0.59% to $48.50 per barrel, while the Brent crude is falling by 0.09% to $53.33 per barrel this afternoon, according to a CNBC.com index. Nobel Corp. reported better than expected 2015 second quarter earnings results after yesterday's market close.

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    * U.S. economic growth picked up in second quarter. * Facebook, Whole Foods fall after results. * US quarterly earnings over half way through. * Dow down 0.08 pct, S&P down 0.07, Nasdaq up 0.34 pct. By Noel Randewich.

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    Disappointing housing reports and global stock market turmoil pushed mortgage rates lower for the second week in a row.The three housing reports — new home sales, pending home sales and Case-Shiller — that were released earlier in the week underwhelmed, and the 8 percent decline in Chinese stock prices fueled a flight to bonds, driving Treasury yields down almost five basis points.Because bonds have the most direct effect on home loan rates — when yields tumble, mortgage rates typically follow — rates dipped this week, according to the latest data released Thursday by Freddie Mac (FMCC). The 30-year fixed-rate average slid to 3.98 percent with an average 0.6 point, falling below 4 percent for the first time in eight weeks. (Points are fees paid to a lender equal to 1 percent of the loan amount.) It was 4.04 percent a week ago and 4.12 percent a year ago.The 15-year fixed-rate average dropped to 3.17 percent with an average 0.6 point, its lowest level since early June. It was 3.21 percent a week ago and 3.23 percent a year ago.[How borrowers can help make the mortgage application process go smoother]Hybrid adjustable rate mortgages also fell. The five-year ARM average declined to 2.95 percent with an average 0.4 point. It was 2.97 percent a week ago and 3.01 percent a year ago.The one-year ARM average slipped to 2.52 percent with an average 0.3 point. It was 2.54 percent a week ago.“The [30-year fixed-rate] mortgage rate has bounced between 3.98 and 4.09 percent since the first full week of June, falling a bit when events overseas take a turn for the worse and rising when the clouds appear ready to part,” Sean Becketti, Freddie Mac (FMCC) chief economist, said in a statement.“With no clear direction coming from the [Federal Reserve on Wednesday], we expect more of the same in coming weeks. … Recent housing data exhibited the same good news/bad news pattern as overseas developments.  Coming into this week, existing home sales for June and the latest FHFA house price measures both suggested a stronger tone in the housing market.  However this week brought nothing but bad — or at least weaker-than-expected — news.  New homes sales and pending home sales both weakened and the Case-Shiller house price indices, while positive, fell below the lower end of expectations.  Finally, the inadvertent release of Fed staff projections increased uncertainty over the timing of future Fed rate moves.”[Wary homeowners offered new ways to finance their next move]Meanwhile, the slight dip in rates was enough to pull homeowners seeking to refinance off the sidelines. The uptick in refinancing boosted mortgage applications this week, according to the latest data from the Mortgage Bankers Association.The market composite index — a measure of total loan application volume — increased 0.8 percent from the previous week. The refinance index rose 2 percent, while the purchase index dipped 0.1 percent.The refinance share of mortgage activity accounted for 50.6 percent of all applications.






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    Hospitals operator Prime Healthcare Services has dropped plans to issue a high-yield bond after facing push-back from investors, two buyside sources told IFR on Thursday. The company was looking to raise US$700m through the eight-year non-call three issue, for which it had released price talk of 7.5% last week.

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    * Second-qtr GDP rises 2.3 pct vs 2.6 pct est. * Facebook falls after results. * P&G slips after 6th straight sales decline. * Skechers, Mondelez jump after profits beat expectations. * Dow up 0.02 pct, S&P unchanged, Nasdaq up 0.38 pct. By Tanya Agrawal.

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    3 D printing stocks fell after Stratasys Ltd. Thursday reported weak quarterly results and withdrew its full year outlook due to a lack of clarity on when business conditions will improve. The 3 D printer maker posted second- quarter earnings of 15 cents a share, below the 16 cents a share projected by analysts in a FactSet survey. Revenue totaled $182 million, missing estimates of $184 million.

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    Rick Perry didn't come out and say it, but a crucial aspect of his plan to reform the financial sector puts him in an alliance with liberal radicals such as Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, reports The Hill's Peter Schroeder. He gives the details of a major speech Perry delivered Wednesday:Perry is taking a position to Hillary Clinton’s left on financial reform, and pushing for a policy to break up big banks staunchly advocated by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.). ...Breaking up the big banks one way or another has long been a goal of some Republican dissidents, notably commentator James Pethokoukis, who laid out the case in National Affairs. Pethokoukis and others appeal to solidly conservative principles. They want to eliminate the advantage that banks get from the government when investors see them as too big to fail. And when banks have to be rescued in a crisis, federal officials have power and discretion over the structure of those companies going forward.Perry's speech was unequivocally conservative, too. For example, he wants to limit the power of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which Warren helped create, by giving lawmakers control over its budget. His comments on Glass-Steagall show the potential for cooperation between dissenters in both parties.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) Cop indicted in shooting 2) Opinions, including Salam on Clinton 3) Her complicated relationship with a big Swiss bank, and more: In Mississippi and New Mexico, about a third of children are living in poverty. The rate is also high across the rest of the South and Southwest. Emily Badger and Christopher Ingraham in The Washington Post.1. Top story: Officer indicted for murderA white Cincinnati cop has been indicted in a black man's shooting death. "A University of Cincinnati police officer was indicted Wednesday on a murder charge in what a prosecutor called 'a senseless, asinine shooting' of an unarmed man during a minor traffic stop. ... The death of Mr. Dubose, who was black, at the hands of Officer Tensing, who is white, joined a string of recent cases — in places including Staten Island; Cleveland; Baltimore; North Charleston, S.C.; and Ferguson, Mo., among others — that have raised hard questions about law enforcement’s use of force and the role of race in policing. " Kevin Williams, Wesley Lowery and Mark Berman in The Washington Post.Number of the day: 558. That's how many people have been shot and killed by police so far this year. The Washington Post.Body-camera footage shows what happened. "After the two men briefly exchange words, DuBose's vehicle is seen to roll forward. Tensing then shoots him in the head. ... Over the past 12 months, experts and activists have called for the nationwide adoption of body cameras by police forces. They have acquired wide support, including from Hillary Clinton and the family of Michael Brown, the 18-year old man who was killed by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, last year. But the adoption of body cameras is rife with complexities and privacy concerns, including who gets to view a video and whether they are a matter of public record." Robinson Meyer in The Atlantic.Primary source:The footage. (Warning: This footage is graphic.)BLOW: The footage shows a disturbing attitude toward human life. "To watch that video is to be witness to an execution. What kind of person takes another person’s life so cavalierly? How little must an officer think of the person at the other end of the barrel to shoot him in the head when, per the video, there appears to be no threat? ... Body cameras must be made mandatory countrywide. That will help with investigations after the fact, and may indeed alter behavior, but there is no full equipment fix for a personnel problem. What is happening between police officers and people of color in this country is a structural issue and must be deconstructed as such. Cameras won’t change basic character." The New York Times.2. Top opinionsShell shouldn't be allowed to drill in the Chukchi Sea. "The company has worked hard to convince Interior Department officials that it has overcome the sloppiness that led to a series of mishaps during its first attempt in 2012, including the grounding of its drilling rig. And yet it's not enough. Shell's ineptitude on its first try, after it had given the public and the federal government ringing assurances about how prepared it was, earned the public's distrust. As that experience illustrated, Shell didn't fully understand the extraordinary challenges of drilling in these far-northern seas, which are prone to ferocious storms and which quickly become strewn with ice floes in the fall and winter. Even with Shell's overhauling of its operations, a federal report earlier this year estimated a 75% chance of at least one large oil spill over the life of the 77-year lease," writes the editorial board of the Los Angeles Times.Could Congress end the sugar scandal? "Americans pay nearly twice as much per pound as foreigners do for sugar, thanks to U.S. import restrictions and subsidies. We’ve tilted at this corporate welfare for decades, but new political forces are aligning to take another run. The absurdity of the federal sugar program is legendary. ... Growers of other crops had their subsidies cut in the last farm bill, and many are asking why sugar gets a pass. Last month the Corn Refiners Association, which produces high-fructose corn syrup, began lobbying on Capitol Hill for a level playing field with sugar. They’re allied with Republican tea party Members of Congress who dislike business subsidies," writes the editorial board of The Wall Street Journal.SALAM: Is Clinton right that corporations are letting America down? "The basic concern, as I understand it, is that in the age of activist shareholders, publicly held companies are not investing enough in increasing their productivity or in developing innovative new products. ... A short-term focus on earnings within a given firm might be a good thing if it frees up resources that can be invested in other business enterprises, including start-ups. Many large, publicly held companies, such as Microsoft (MSFT), are notorious for overinvesting in doomed efforts... The correlations of investment with profit and borrowing have weakened. Yet this is exactly what we’d expect to see happen if capital were flowing more freely to firms offering more and better investment opportunities. As access to capital markets has improved, firms have identified other, more attractive sources of financing, and so the correlation of investment with profit has declined." National Review.3. In case you missed itThe Federal Reserve is feeling all right about things. "The Federal Reserve offered a slightly more upbeat assessment of the economy but provided little insight into when it will raise its benchmark interest rate for the first time in nearly a decade. Fed officials voted unanimously to keep the target rate at zero for now, after wrapping up their regular two-day policy-setting meeting in Washington on Wednesday afternoon. In a carefully worded statement, the central bank noted that the economy has expanded 'moderately.' It pointed to solid job gains and lower unemployment as signs that the labor market has improved, adding that underemployment has also diminished. Perhaps most important, the Fed characterized the risks to its outlook for the economy as 'nearly balanced' — the same description it used after its previous meeting." Ylan Q. Mui in The Washington Post.The Obama administration is getting ready to announce its big climate-change policy. "The final version of President Obama’s signature climate change policy is expected to extend an earlier timeline for states to significantly cut planet-warming pollution from power plants, according to people familiar with the plan. If enacted, the climate change plan, the final version of which is expected to be unveiled as early as Monday, could stand as the most significant action ever taken by an American president to curb global warming. But some environmental groups have cautioned that a later deadline for states to comply could make it tougher for the United States to meet Mr. Obama’s climate change pledges on the world stage. ... The rules take aim at coal-fired power plants, the largest source of greenhouse emissions, and are intended to spur a transformation of the nation’s power sector from fossil fuels to renewable sources such as wind and solar." Coral Davenport in The New York Times.Clinton helped out a big Swiss bank when the IRS was cracking down. "The Internal Revenue Service was suing UBS AG to get the identities of Americans with secret accounts. ... Within months, Mrs. Clinton announced a tentative legal settlement—an unusual intervention by the top U.S. diplomat. UBS ultimately turned over information on 4,450 accounts, a fraction of the 52,000 sought by the IRS, an outcome that drew criticism from some lawmakers who wanted a more extensive crackdown. From that point on, UBS’s engagement with the Clinton family’s charitable organization increased. ... The bank also joined the Clinton Foundation to launch entrepreneurship and inner-city loan programs, through which it lent $32 million. And it paid former president Bill Clinton $1.5 million to participate in a series of question-and-answer sessions with UBS Wealth Management Chief Executive Bob McCann, making UBS his biggest single corporate source of speech income disclosed since he left the White House. There is no evidence of any link between Mrs. Clinton’s involvement in the case and the bank’s donations to the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation, or its hiring of Mr. Clinton. But her involvement with UBS is a prime example of how the Clintons’ private and political activities overlap." James V. Grimaldi and Rebecca Ballhaus in The Wall Street Journal.






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    Rick Perry didn't come out and say it, but a crucial aspect of his plan to reform the financial sector puts him in an alliance with liberal radicals such as Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, reports The Hill's Peter Schroeder. He gives the details of a major speech Perry delivered Wednesday:Perry is taking a position to Hillary Clinton’s left on financial reform, and pushing for a policy to break up big banks staunchly advocated by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.). ...Breaking up the big banks one way or another has long been a goal of some Republican dissidents, notably commentator James Pethokoukis, who laid out the case in National Affairs. Pethokoukis and others appeal to solidly conservative principles. They want to eliminate the advantage that banks get from the government when investors see them as too big to fail. And when banks have to be rescued in a crisis, federal officials have power and discretion over the structure of those companies going forward.Perry's speech was unequivocally conservative, too. For example, he wants to limit the power of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which Warren helped create, by giving lawmakers control over its budget. His comments on Glass-Steagall show the potential for cooperation between dissenters in both parties.What's in Wonkbook: 1) Cop indicted in shooting 2) Opinions, including Salam on Clinton 3) Her complicated relationship with a big Swiss bank, and more: In Mississippi and New Mexico, about a third of children are living in poverty. The rate is also high across the rest of the South and Southwest. Emily Badger and Christopher Ingraham in The Washington Post.1. Top story: Officer indicted for murderA white Cincinnati cop has been indicted in a black man's shooting death. "A University of Cincinnati police officer was indicted Wednesday on a murder charge in what a prosecutor called 'a senseless, asinine shooting' of an unarmed man during a minor traffic stop. ... The death of Mr. Dubose, who was black, at the hands of Officer Tensing, who is white, joined a string of recent cases — in places including Staten Island; Cleveland; Baltimore; North Charleston, S.C.; and Ferguson, Mo., among others — that have raised hard questions about law enforcement’s use of force and the role of race in policing. " Kevin Williams, Wesley Lowery and Mark Berman in The Washington Post.Number of the day: 558. That's how many people have been shot and killed by police so far this year. The Washington Post.Body-camera footage shows what happened. "After the two men briefly exchange words, DuBose's vehicle is seen to roll forward. Tensing then shoots him in the head. ... Over the past 12 months, experts and activists have called for the nationwide adoption of body cameras by police forces. They have acquired wide support, including from Hillary Clinton and the family of Michael Brown, the 18-year old man who was killed by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, last year. But the adoption of body cameras is rife with complexities and privacy concerns, including who gets to view a video and whether they are a matter of public record." Robinson Meyer in The Atlantic.Primary source:The footage. (Warning: This footage is graphic.)BLOW: The footage shows a disturbing attitude toward human life. "To watch that video is to be witness to an execution. What kind of person takes another person’s life so cavalierly? How little must an officer think of the person at the other end of the barrel to shoot him in the head when, per the video, there appears to be no threat? ... Body cameras must be made mandatory countrywide. That will help with investigations after the fact, and may indeed alter behavior, but there is no full equipment fix for a personnel problem. What is happening between police officers and people of color in this country is a structural issue and must be deconstructed as such. Cameras won’t change basic character." The New York Times.2. Top opinionsShell shouldn't be allowed to drill in the Chukchi Sea. "The company has worked hard to convince Interior Department officials that it has overcome the sloppiness that led to a series of mishaps during its first attempt in 2012, including the grounding of its drilling rig. And yet it's not enough. Shell's ineptitude on its first try, after it had given the public and the federal government ringing assurances about how prepared it was, earned the public's distrust. As that experience illustrated, Shell didn't fully understand the extraordinary challenges of drilling in these far-northern seas, which are prone to ferocious storms and which quickly become strewn with ice floes in the fall and winter. Even with Shell's overhauling of its operations, a federal report earlier this year estimated a 75% chance of at least one large oil spill over the life of the 77-year lease," writes the editorial board of the Los Angeles Times.Could Congress end the sugar scandal? "Americans pay nearly twice as much per pound as foreigners do for sugar, thanks to U.S. import restrictions and subsidies. We’ve tilted at this corporate welfare for decades, but new political forces are aligning to take another run. The absurdity of the federal sugar program is legendary. ... Growers of other crops had their subsidies cut in the last farm bill, and many are asking why sugar gets a pass. Last month the Corn Refiners Association, which produces high-fructose corn syrup, began lobbying on Capitol Hill for a level playing field with sugar. They’re allied with Republican tea party Members of Congress who dislike business subsidies," writes the editorial board of The Wall Street Journal.SALAM: Is Clinton right that corporations are letting America down? "The basic concern, as I understand it, is that in the age of activist shareholders, publicly held companies are not investing enough in increasing their productivity or in developing innovative new products. ... A short-term focus on earnings within a given firm might be a good thing if it frees up resources that can be invested in other business enterprises, including start-ups. Many large, publicly held companies, such as Microsoft (MSFT), are notorious for overinvesting in doomed efforts... The correlations of investment with profit and borrowing have weakened. Yet this is exactly what we’d expect to see happen if capital were flowing more freely to firms offering more and better investment opportunities. As access to capital markets has improved, firms have identified other, more attractive sources of financing, and so the correlation of investment with profit has declined." National Review.3. In case you missed itThe Federal Reserve is feeling all right about things. "The Federal Reserve offered a slightly more upbeat assessment of the economy but provided little insight into when it will raise its benchmark interest rate for the first time in nearly a decade. Fed officials voted unanimously to keep the target rate at zero for now, after wrapping up their regular two-day policy-setting meeting in Washington on Wednesday afternoon. In a carefully worded statement, the central bank noted that the economy has expanded 'moderately.' It pointed to solid job gains and lower unemployment as signs that the labor market has improved, adding that underemployment has also diminished. Perhaps most important, the Fed characterized the risks to its outlook for the economy as 'nearly balanced' — the same description it used after its previous meeting." Ylan Q. Mui in The Washington Post.The Obama administration is getting ready to announce its big climate-change policy. "The final version of President Obama’s signature climate change policy is expected to extend an earlier timeline for states to significantly cut planet-warming pollution from power plants, according to people familiar with the plan. If enacted, the climate change plan, the final version of which is expected to be unveiled as early as Monday, could stand as the most significant action ever taken by an American president to curb global warming. But some environmental groups have cautioned that a later deadline for states to comply could make it tougher for the United States to meet Mr. Obama’s climate change pledges on the world stage. ... The rules take aim at coal-fired power plants, the largest source of greenhouse emissions, and are intended to spur a transformation of the nation’s power sector from fossil fuels to renewable sources such as wind and solar." Coral Davenport in The New York Times.Clinton helped out a big Swiss bank when the IRS was cracking down. "The Internal Revenue Service was suing UBS AG to get the identities of Americans with secret accounts. ... Within months, Mrs. Clinton announced a tentative legal settlement—an unusual intervention by the top U.S. diplomat. UBS ultimately turned over information on 4,450 accounts, a fraction of the 52,000 sought by the IRS, an outcome that drew criticism from some lawmakers who wanted a more extensive crackdown. From that point on, UBS’s engagement with the Clinton family’s charitable organization increased. ... The bank also joined the Clinton Foundation to launch entrepreneurship and inner-city loan programs, through which it lent $32 million. And it paid former president Bill Clinton $1.5 million to participate in a series of question-and-answer sessions with UBS Wealth Management Chief Executive Bob McCann, making UBS his biggest single corporate source of speech income disclosed since he left the White House. There is no evidence of any link between Mrs. Clinton’s involvement in the case and the bank’s donations to the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation, or its hiring of Mr. Clinton. But her involvement with UBS is a prime example of how the Clintons’ private and political activities overlap." James V. Grimaldi and Rebecca Ballhaus in The Wall Street Journal.






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    The U.S. economy picked up speed between April and June after a winter crawl, new government data showed Thursday, helped by a boost in consumer spending that returned the nation to its pace of solid but unspectacular growth.Data from the Department of Commerce showed that the economy expanded at an annualized rate of 2.3 percent in the second quarter, a tick below market expectations.“We’re an economy that just can’t get up to highway speed,” said Stuart Hoffman, the chief economist at PNC Financial Services Group (PNC). “It’s a city-driving economy. We’re getting closer to where we want to be, but we’re getting there slowly.”The latest numbers show an economy that is benefiting from growing disposable income — the product of low inflation and falling gasoline prices — while doing enough to weather the challenges of a strong dollar and energy investment cutbacks. Growth in the second quarter remained modest, particularly compared with the breakneck pace seen in much of 2014, but it also signaled a bounce-back from a surprisingly sluggish start to the year.The second quarter growth also provides a reassuring note to the Federal Reserve, whose officials are discussing whether to soon raise interest rates from near-zero for the first time in seven years. That move would end a remarkable period of virtually interest-free borrowing that is normally used only as triage during economic crisis. But any rate hike would be controversial, because some economists believe the U.S. is still too fragile — as wage growth remains stagnant — to handle a new obstacle.The U.S.’s major stock indexes opened down slightly on Thursday in response to the fresh gross domestic product figures, in part because investors now figure a rate hike could come as early as September.Also on Thursday, as part of an adjustment to its formula for measuring seasonal growth, the Commerce Department tweaked gross domestic product numbers going back several years. On balance, the revisions revealed a recovery that is more underwhelming than previously estimated, with growth averaging a 2 percent, rather than a 2.3 percent, annual pace since 2011.Still, the revisions also boosted the U.S.’s performance in the first quarter of 2015, turning a 0.2 percent contraction into a 0.6 percent expansion. Some economists had previously said that the government’s formula for seasonal adjustments tended to deflate first quarter numbers.[Some of the content in this entry could not be displayed on this device.]In the latest quarter, consumer spending helped drive much of the growth, as Americans upped their spending by 2.9 percent, buying more cars, clothing, and furniture. The savings rate also fell slightly, easing concerns that consumers were behaving too cautiously, stashing away the money that stemmed from lower prices at the pump. Had spending remained flat between April and June, the GDP would have grown only 0.3 percent.Typically consumer spending accounts for two-thirds of U.S. economic activity, but some analysts say the nation, if anything, is growing even more reliant on everyday purchases to generate growth. Consumers have fresh savings at the same time when a stronger dollar is making U.S. goods pricier overseas — and imports cheaper here. In other words, it’s easier to buy things in America, and harder to sell them abroad.“The combination of the stronger dollar and stronger consumer demand will raise imports and reduce exports,” Scott Hoyt, Moody’s Analytics’ senior director of consumer economics, said in an e-mail.Though the strong dollar continues to pose a challenge for U.S. companies, trade turned in the second quarter from a significant hindrance into a small boost. Government spending gave the GDP numbers a minor push while business investment was a slight drag — mostly because of another sharp contraction in the mining industry.The numbers released Thursday, measuring the total value of all goods and services produced by the nation, are preliminary and will be revised twice more in the coming months. The International Monetary Fund predicts that the U.S. economy will grow 2.5 percent for the year, an estimate that has been trimmed slightly over the past few months.Earlier this month, the IMF cautioned the Fed against raising interest rates too soon — a recommendation that seems to conflict the Fed’s fairly upbeat assessment of the economy. The central bank, at its meeting Wednesday, said the economy was expanding “moderately” while underemployment had diminished. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said recently that any tightening — as the short-term rate increase is termed — would be done in a “prudent and gradual manner”“Once the Fed rips off the bandage and it’s done, I think we’ll see the economy continue to grow,” said Bernard Baumohl, the chief global economist at the Economic Outlook Group. “The economy can easily absorb it. I think it’ll probably be more interesting watching paint dry than watching how the Fed funds rate increases.”Over the past year, the U.S.’s unemployment rate has fallen from 6.1 percent to 5.3 percent, the lowest mark during a long and fitful recovery. During that span the nation has created about 245,000 new jobs monthly. Still, that has not been accompanied by noticeable wage increases, a major indicator of an economy at full strength.“There is a strong case for waiting to raise rates until there are more tangible signs of wage or price inflation than are currently evident,” the IMF said in a release at the beginning of the month.






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    The U.S. economy picked up speed between April and June after a winter crawl, new government data showed Thursday, helped by a boost in consumer spending that returned the nation to its pace of solid but unspectacular growth.Data from the Department of Commerce showed that the economy expanded at an annualized rate of 2.3 percent in the second quarter, a tick below market expectations.“We’re an economy that just can’t get up to highway speed,” said Stuart Hoffman, the chief economist at PNC Financial Services Group (PNC). “It’s a city-driving economy. We’re getting closer to where we want to be, but we’re getting there slowly.”The latest numbers show an economy that is benefiting from growing disposable income — the product of low inflation and falling gasoline prices — while doing enough to weather the challenges of a strong dollar and energy investment cutbacks. Growth in the second quarter remained modest, particularly compared with the breakneck pace seen in much of 2014, but it also signaled a bounce-back from a surprisingly sluggish start to the year.The second quarter growth also provides a reassuring note to the Federal Reserve, whose officials are discussing whether to soon raise interest rates from near-zero for the first time in seven years. That move would end a remarkable period of virtually interest-free borrowing that is normally used only as triage during economic crisis. But any rate hike would be controversial, because some economists believe the U.S. is still too fragile — as wage growth remains stagnant — to handle a new obstacle.The U.S.’s major stock indexes opened down slightly on Thursday in response to the fresh gross domestic product figures, in part because investors now figure a rate hike could come as early as September.Also on Thursday, as part of an adjustment to its formula for measuring seasonal growth, the Commerce Department tweaked gross domestic product numbers going back three years. On balance, the revisions revealed a recovery that is more underwhelming than previously estimated, with growth averaging a 2 percent, rather than a 2.3 percent, annual pace since 2012.Still, the revisions also boosted the U.S.’s performance in the first quarter of 2015, turning a 0.2 percent contraction into a 0.6 percent expansion. Some economists had previously said that the government’s formula for seasonal adjustments tended to deflate first quarter numbers.[Some of the content in this entry could not be displayed on this device.]In the latest quarter, consumer spending helped drive much of the growth, as Americans upped their spending by 2.9 percent, buying more cars, clothing, and furniture. The savings rate also fell slightly, easing concerns that consumers were behaving too cautiously, stashing away the money that stemmed from lower prices at the pump. Had spending remained flat between April and June, the GDP would have grown only 0.3 percent.Typically consumer spending accounts for two-thirds of U.S. economic activity, but some analysts say the nation, if anything, is growing even more reliant on everyday purchases to generate growth. Consumers have fresh savings at the same time when a stronger dollar is making U.S. goods pricier overseas — and imports cheaper here. In other words, it’s easier to buy things in America, and harder to sell them abroad.“The combination of the stronger dollar and stronger consumer demand will raise imports and reduce exports,” Scott Hoyt, Moody’s Analytics’ senior director of consumer economics, said in an e-mail.Though the strong dollar continues to pose a challenge for U.S. companies, trade turned in the second quarter from a significant hindrance into a small boost. Government spending gave the GDP numbers a minor push while business investment was a slight drag — mostly because of another sharp contraction in the mining industry.The numbers released Thursday, measuring the total value of all goods and services produced by the nation, are preliminary and will be revised twice more in the coming months. The International Monetary Fund predicts that the U.S. economy will grow 2.5 percent for the year, an estimate that has been trimmed slightly over the past few months.Earlier this month, the IMF cautioned the Fed against raising interest rates too soon — a recommendation that seems to conflict the Fed’s fairly upbeat assessment of the economy. The central bank, at its meeting Wednesday, said the economy was expanding “moderately” while underemployment had diminished. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said recently that any tightening — as the short-term rate increase is termed — would be done in a “prudent and gradual manner”“Once the Fed rips off the bandage and it’s done, I think we’ll see the economy continue to grow,” said Bernard Baumohl, the chief global economist at the Economic Outlook Group. “The economy can easily absorb it. I think it’ll probably be more interesting watching paint dry than watching how the Fed funds rate increases.”Over the past year, the U.S.’s unemployment rate has fallen from 6.1 percent to 5.3 percent, the lowest mark during a long and fitful recovery. During that span the nation has created about 245,000 new jobs monthly. Still, that has not been accompanied by noticeable wage increases, a major indicator of an economy at full strength.“There is a strong case for waiting to raise rates until there are more tangible signs of wage or price inflation than are currently evident,” the IMF said in a release at the beginning of the month.






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    Stocks hovered close to the flatline by late afternoon Thursday, caught between a push higher from the tech sector and a slight selloff in energy. The S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average were flat.

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    * Second-qtr GDP rises 2.3 pct vs 2.6 pct est. * Facebook's fall weighs on S&P, Nasdaq. * P&G slips after 6th straight sales decline; weighs on Dow. * Skechers, Mondelez jump after profits beat expectations. * Indexes down: Dow 0.37 pct, S&P 0.41 pct, Nasdaq 0.45 pct. By Tanya Agrawal.

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    * Dollar gains on Fed rate hopes, data * U.S. Treasury yields up * Dollar pushes commodities to near six-year lows By Michael Connor NEW YORK, July 30 - The dollar traded near weekly highs and U.S. Treasury yields rose on Thursday as U.S. gross domestic product data showed a pick-up in consumer spending and encouraged bets that hikes in U.S. interest rates will start as soon as September.

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    opened slightly lower Thursday after a government report showed the economy picked up pace in the second quarter, putting the Federal Reserve on track to raise interest rates as soon as September. The S&P 500 opened 3 points, or 0.2%, lower at 2,104. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 21 points, or 0.1%, to 17,733. The Nasdaq Composite began the session down 10 points, or 0.2%, at 5,102.. (END) Dow Jones Newswires 07-30-15 1012 ET Copyright (c) 2015 Dow Jones& Company, Inc..

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    * Second-qtr GDP rises at 2.3 pct vs 2.6 pct est. * Weekly jobless numbers rise. * Facebook, P&G fall after results. * Skechers jumps as results beat expectations. * Indexes down: Dow 0.45 pct, S&P 0.48 pct, Nasdaq 0.47 pct. By Tanya Agrawal.