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The dollar edged higher against the euro and Swiss franc Friday, marginally supported by improving money market conditions that helped ease the impact of generally bleak U.S. economic data.
Stocks advanced Friday, boosted by benign inflation data and an upgrade on Lehman Brothers.
Stocks rose at the opening bell as the market weighed benign inflation data with a weak outlook from J.C. Penney.
Euro zone price pressures are "alarmingly high," threatening medium-term price stability, and first quarter growth in the bloc could exceed expectations, European Central Bank officials said on Friday.
Consumer spending hit a 17-month low in February, hit by the credit crisis, job cuts and soaring energy costs. But a key inflation gauge remained tame.
U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson said on Friday that an economic stimulus program that will put $168 billion into consumers' hands this year and next could help create hundreds of thousands of new jobs.
Asian markets closed firmly higher Friday, despite a weak start to trading, with Chinese stocks jumping nearly 5 percent. Gains were all the more impressive given Wall Street's fall.
Japanese annual inflation hit a decade-high 1.0 percent in February, but the credit crisis and a stalling Japanese economy mean the Bank of Japan is still seen as more likely to cut interest rates this year than raise them.
South Korea's National Pension Service, the world's fifth-biggest pension fund, said on Thursday it was shying away from U.S. Treasurys because of falling yields and the weakening dollar.
Recent volatility for grains and oilseeds have increased significantly. And that's drawn increased market scrutiny along with it, sparking an initiative for wider trading limits from the CME. The CFTC gave its stamp of approval, making the changes effective today after the close.
Oil rose above $107 a barrel on Thursday after saboteurs blew up a major pipeline in Iraq, sharply reducing exports from the south of the country.
The U.S. economy seems to be slipping into recession and the Federal Reserve must cushion the pain and make it as brief as possible, two Fed policymakers said.
The dollar rallied Thursday after suffering steep losses in the last two sessions, rising on data showing the U.S. economy grew in the fourth quarter in line with market expectations.
The central banks of Britain and Switzerland added extra funds to ease pressure on high interbank lending rates on Thursday, while the European Central Bank said it was ready to step in with extra cash.
The economy nearly sputtered out in the final quarter of last year and is probably faring even worse now amid the continuing housing, credit and financial crises.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown called on Thursday for banks to declare the full extent of the damage to their operations caused by the credit crunch.
I mean, about inflation for you and me and Bobby McGee. Not inflation as bankers see it, as economists see it, as central bankers see it. Not about CPIs and PPIs and HICPs. Not about price-adjusted, calendar-adjusted and average-workday-weighted statistics, which economists so fondly call "real" inflation.
Asian markets ended mostly lower Thursday as financials slipped on worries over bank earnings, and after a drop in U.S. durable goods stoked concerns the world's top economy is already in a recession. Both Japan and China finished weaker.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy will ask British Prime Minister Gordon Brown for help in getting Washington to prop up the ailing dollar, but Britain has usually shunned managing exchange rates.
The Bank of Japan still has its sights set on higher interest rates in the future, although it will pursue a flexible policy looking at developments in Japan's economy and global markets, two members of the central bank's policy board said on Thursday.
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