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    NEW YORK Danny Woodhead Youth Jersey , April 8 (Xinhua) -- U.S. stocks posted modest gains Wednesday, as investors were digesting the minutes of the Federal Reserve's March policy meeting released in the afternoon.

    The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 26.95 points, or 0.15 percent Nico Siragusa Youth Jersey , to 17,902.37. The S&P 500 increased 5.56 points, or 0.27 percent Tim Williams Youth Jersey , to 2,081.89. The Nasdaq Composite Index jumped 40.59 points, or 0.83 percent Chris Wormley Youth Jersey , to 4,950.82.

    According to the minutes, Fed policymakers had big divergences on the first rate hike. Several Fed officials thought that the U.S. central bank would be able to raise interest rates in June Tyus Bowser Youth Jersey , and others thought a rate hike wouldn't be warranted until later in the year, while a couple even argued that the economy probably wouldn't be ready for tighter policy until 2016.

    The Fed minutes also showed that in its March policy discussion, Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) members agreed to remove " patient" from the statement because they did not expect to raise rates in April Marlon Humphrey Youth Jersey , but they agreed they would likely raise rates "in June or at a subsequent meeting."

    "The committee continues to believe inflation will rise to 2 percent in the medium term. That's important, because tightening depends on this confidence, along with further tightening of labor markets Matt Judon Jersey ," said Chris Low, chief economist at FTN Financial, in a note.

    Oil prices plunged Wednesday after the U.S. Energy Information Administration reported weekly crude inventories rose more than expected by 10.9 million barrels Michael Pierce Jersey , with both the U.S. oil and Brent crude tanking over 6 percent.

    Dragged by tumbling oil prices, energy sector, the biggest laggard among the S&P 500's ten sectors Austin Howard Jersey , declined more than 1 percent Wednesday.

    Alcoa kicked off corporate earnings season Wednesday. After the closing bell, the company reported its net income for the first quarter of 2015 came out at 195 million U.S. dollars, or 0.14 dollar per share Ryan Jensen Jersey , missing market consensus. Its shares fell in after-hours trading.

    Many analysts expected that the overall earnings for the first quarter of 2015 would be hurt by the stronger dollar and lower oil prices.

    TOKYO, Nov. 29 (Xinhua) -- Japan's Household spending dropped a seasonally-adjusted 0.4 percent in October from a year earlier, down for the eighth consecutive month, government data showed Tuesday.

    The average household spending in October dropped to 281,961 yen (about 2,517.3 U.S. dollars), down 1.0 percent on a monthly basis compared to September, according to a preliminary report released by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications,

    The average monthly income per household stood at 485,827 yen (4,335.8 U.S. Dollars), down 0.1 percent from a year earlier, while the average consumption expenditures per household was 305,683 yen (2,728.1 U.S. dollars), down 1.5 percent on year.

    Household spending figures are a key indicator of private consumption, which accounts for about 60 percent of Japanese gross domestic product.

    Meanwhile, Japan's unemployment rate stood at 3.0 percent in October, unchanged from the previous month, according to a separate report from the ministry.

    The unemployment rate for men dropped 0.1 percentage point to 3.2 percent in October, while the rate for women was up 0.1 percentage point to 2.7 percent.

    ROME, Feb. 8 (Xinhua) -- The spread between the yields of Italian 10-year bond and German equivalent Bund still exceeded 200 basis points on Wednesday, feeding concerns related to the country's high debt.

    The spread continued over the 200-basis points mark after reaching its highest level since Feb. 2014. The spread rose to 201 points in early trading on Wednesday with a yield of 2.34 percent.

    It has risen amid fears of a "Frexit" threatened by French righting populist leader Marine Le Pen and the possibility of instability if Italy has early elections this year, according to Ansa news agency.

    On Tuesday, Italian Economy Minister Pier Carlo Padoan said the recent rise in the spread was a "rude" reminder that Italy could not afford to stop taking action to reduce its debt of over two trillion euros.

    The two countries' government bonds reached 203 points during the day on Tuesday, before dropping back to around 196 points.

    On Monday, the Italian-German yield spread had already exceeded the 200-point threshold, before closing at 199 points.

    It was the widest gap registered since Feb. 2014, Ansa news agency reported.

    Italy's debt was 133 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP) in 2016, and was expected to remain at 133.1 percent in both 2017 and 2018, according to macro-economic forecasts released by the European Union (EU) Commission in November.

    The tensions of French presidential campaign -- and far-right candidate Marine Le Pen's remarks over a possible exit of France from the EU -- boosted uncertainties among investors in the European government bond market, according to Italy's leading business daily Il Sole 24 Ore.

    "Italy was not the trigger (of the turbulence) this time, yet it was the hardest hit... and it continues to be viewed as the weak ring in the euro chain," the newspaper said.

    DAMASCUS, Feb. 6 (Xinhua) -- A visiting Belgium delegation of parliamentarians said Monday that the public opinion in many European countries is changing toward the Syrian crisis, according to state news agency SANA.

    Speaking during their meeting with President Bashar al-Assad in the capital Damascus, the delegation said that the public opinion in a large number of European countries are witnessing a "notable shift" toward what is happening in Syria.

    The delegation pointed out that the parliamentarian visits to Syria will be conducive in helping the public opinion in Europe to have a clearer picture "in the face of the lies disseminated in Eu.

      April 27, 2018 7:45 PM MDT
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