Nasdaq rises 1 percent
NEW YORK (Reuters) - The Nasdaq advanced more than 1 percent while the Dow and S&P 500 added to gains on Wednesday as optimism about potential help from the International Monetary Fund for Europe. Technology shares led the rise on the S&P 500, with the S&P technology index <.GPST> up 1.5 percent.
Goldman beats Street on lower expenses
(Reuters) - Goldman Sachs Group Inc's <GS.N> fourth-quarter profit fell 56 percent as trading and investment banking revenue plunged, but the bank managed to beat analysts' expectations through cost cutting and lower taxes, sending its shares higher. Chief Financial Officer David Viniar said Goldman is targeting $1.4 billion in annual cost savings, up from an earlier goal of $1.2 billion, and has a "small amount" left to do in 2012.
Tragedy deals near-term blow to cruise industry
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Last week's fatal Italian cruise accident could wipe out a good chunk of Carnival Corp & Plc's <CCL.N> 2012 profits, and the cruise operator could risk more long-term damage without a stronger public response to the crisis, Wall Street analysts and public relations experts said. The event could also bruise a $30 billion global industry already grappling with an uncertain economy during its biggest booking month of the year.
IMF seeks $600 billion more in funds; G20 to discuss
WASHINGTON/MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - The International Monetary Fund is seeking to boost its war chest by $600 billion to help countries reeling from the euro zone debt crisis, but some nations insist Europe must first do more to support its ailing members, international financial sources said on Wednesday. Group of 20 officials will discuss increasing IMF resources at a meeting in Mexico City on Thursday and Friday, the first under Mexico's 2012 presidency of the group of developed and emerging economies.
Cities to see job gains, but many struggle
(Reuters) - Almost all U.S. metropolitan areas will see job growth in 2012, but for many areas it will still take years for employment to return to pre-recession levels, according to a report released on Wednesday by the U.S. Conference of Mayors. All but three U.S. metro areas will have job gains this year, led by expected growth of 3 percent in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, according to the forecast, which was conducted by IHS Global Insight for the mayors' group ahead of its annual meeting in Washington this week.
Donovan: "Very close" to foreclosure deal with banks
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan on Wednesday said about one million borrowers are expected to benefit from principal reductions on their mortgages as part of a wide-ranging settlement with banks over dubious foreclosure practices. He said the settlement talks are "very close" to a conclusion during a speech before the Winter Meeting of the U.S. Conference of Mayors. Banks and government officials have been negotiating for months to settle an investigation into the faulty foreclosure practices.
Seven charged in $62 million Dell insider-trading case
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Seven people were charged with a scheme to reap nearly $62 million in illegal profits on trades on Dell Inc <DELL.O> shares, the latest salvo in a sweeping probe of suspicious trading at hedge funds. The FBI in New York arrested four people on Wednesday and authorities announced previously secret charges against three others, making this case one the largest in the office's long-running probe of insider trading.
Factory strength propels economy into 2012
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. factory output in December grew at the fastest pace in a year and homebuilder sentiment improved this month, further evidence the economy entered the new year on firmer footing. Inflationary pressures also remained in check as wholesale prices slipped last month, which could give the Federal Reserve leeway to respond to an anticipated slowdown in growth in the first half of 2012.
Protesters vandalize SNB building ahead of Davos
ZURICH (Reuters) - Swiss police said on Wednesday they had arrested two men suspected of throwing red paint and scrawling "SMASH WEF" (World Economic Forum) in black graffiti on the walls of the Swiss National Bank. Several people are believed to have smeared paint on two sides of the central bank building in Zurich during the night, causing damage in the tens of thousands of Swiss francs.
Greek fears aid German debt sale; Spain the big test
LONDON (Reuters) - Investors sought refuge in short-term German debt on Wednesday as Greece and its creditors met in a fresh attempt to stave off a messy default, while ample European Central Bank cash helped a Portuguese bill sale. Nearly half trillion euros in three-year ECB loans to banks have eased sales of short-dated euro zone debt in recent weeks but the year's biggest test so far comes on Thursday when Spain seeks to sell bonds with maturities up to 10 years.