- - Monday, May 16, 2011


Prices rise on Europe’s credit woes

NEW YORK — Treasury prices edged up Monday as the ongoing financial crisis in Europe led investors to seek safer assets.

The price of the 10-year Treasury note inched up 21.9 cents per $100 invested in late trading. Its yield, which moves in the opposite direction, fell to 3.15 percent from 3.17 percent late Friday.

Bond prices also got a boost when an index that is used to measure manufacturing business conditions in New York State dropped to its lowest level in five months. The New York Federal Reserve’s Empire State Index fell to 11.88 in May from 21.70 in April.


Bailout cleared for Portugal

BRUSSELS — European governments insisted on handing out bailouts to fight the debt crisis on Monday, when they signed off on $110 billion in loans to Portugal and debated giving Greece a second rescue package to avoid a disastrous default.

Most of the terms for Portugal’s package had emerged over the past weeks, so ministers quickly moved to discussing whether to give Greece more help on top of last year’s $110 billion in loans as it struggles to regain market confidence.

The market pessimism over Greece’s financial future - most investors expect it will have to renege on its debt deals - shows how the region is struggling to get a grip on the debt crisis that has dragged on for more than a year.

The approval of the aid for Portugal was a relatively small step along that way, but showed how so far the European Union is prepared to stick with its existing crisis strategy, namely providing rescue loans to highly indebted countries to give them time to cut government spending and overhaul their economies in the hope that they will start growing again.


China looks to increase investments

BRASILIA, Brazil — China’s commerce minister said Monday that his nation will ramp up investments in Brazil.

Commerce Minister Chen Deming, however, didn’t forecast by how much China’s investments in the South American country would increase.

In 2010, Chinese companies invested about $17 billion in Brazil, a dramatic rise from the approximately $300 million invested a year earlier, according to Brazilian economic think tank SOBEET, which tracked the inflows.

China is already Brazil’s biggest trading partner, replacing the U.S. two years ago. China consumes vast amounts of Brazilian commodities such as iron ore, soybeans and oil.


1,000 BlackBerry tablet computers recalled

SAN FRANCISCO — BlackBerry smartphone maker Research In Motion Ltd. has recalled about 1,000 of its BlackBerry PlayBook tablet computers due to defective operating software that can make it impossible for users to set up the device.

The Waterloo, Ontario-based gadget maker said in a statement Monday that it learned that the affected tablets were shipped with software “that may result in the devices unable to properly load software upon initial setup.” Only PlayBooks with 16 gigabytes of memory were affected, RIM said, and the majority of them had not yet been sold to customers.

RIM said it is working to replace the affected tablets. Customers that did end up with one that can’t load the software correctly during setup can contact the company for help, RIM said.

The issue was reported on Saturday by tech blog Engadget, which said the affected PlayBooks had been shipped to Staples Inc. stores. RIM did not comment on whether this was the case, and a Staples spokeswoman did not return a request for comment.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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