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Posted: Friday, June 27, 2014 1:28 pm

WALL STREET

Stocks open mixed on Wall Street

NEW YORK (AP) — The stock market appears on track for a weekly loss, with the Dow and the S&P 500 pulling back from the record levels they set last week. Both are edging lower in morning trading, while the Nasdaq has crept into positive territory.

There's been little new economic date to offset the reports of sluggish growth that has weighed on the market this week.

Many investors have been waiting for the S&P 500 to take a pause from its long climb. The S&P 500 has gained 5.8 percent in three months.

DuPont is dragging down the blue chips. Last night, DuPont cut its profit forecast, citing weaker sales of corn seeds in the second quarter and a larger than expected write down of its seed inventory. The company says herbicide sales and lower prices for refrigerants are also hurting business. DuPont shares were off more than 4 percent, the biggest drop among the Dow 30.

CONSUMER SENTIMENT

Steady job growth boosts US consumer confidence

WASHINGTON (AP) — Strong job growth lifted U.S. consumer confidence this month, as Americans looked past the economy's dismal first quarter performance.

The University of Michigan says that its index of consumer sentiment rose slightly to 82.5 in June from 81.9 in May. That is still below April's reading of 84.1, which had been the highest in almost a year.

The reading suggests consumers shrugged off the economy's first quarter contraction. Still, the survey was conducted before the government said the economy shrank much more than previously estimated, at an annual rate of 2.9 percent rather than 1 percent.

And better confidence hasn't yet translated into more spending.

Steady hiring is improving American's finances, the survey found. Forty percent of respondents said their finances had improved in June, the most in seven years.

ARGENTINA-DEBT

NY judge tells bank to return $539 'illegal' payment by Argentina to the republic

NEW YORK (AP) — A New York judge has ordered a U.S. bank to return a $539 million payment from Argentina.

The Bank of New York Mellon says it received the money for distribution to bondholders who had exchanged their bonds for lesser value ones. But U.S. District Judge Thomas P. Griesa declared the payment illegal.

The order comes three days before Argentina faces default if it fails to pay $832 million to the majority of its debt holders.

The judge is also urging Argentina to negotiate a solution with lawyers for U.S. hedge funds who are demanding the full $1.65 billion they are owed. The judge says any payment to the majority of bondholders without payment being made to the U.S. bondholders is illegal.

Argentina is trying to repay debts incurred after its economy collapsed in 2001.

Griesa says a special master has authority to prevent a default by Argentina.

UKRAINE

Ukraine signs pact with EU

BRUSSELS (AP) — Ukraine's new president has signed a trade and economic pact with the European Union.

President Petro Poroshenko calls it "maybe the most important day" for Ukraine since its independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. It's the same agreement that Poroshenko's predecessor backed out of last November, setting off the bloody protests that toppled the government.

Russia is warning that there will be "serious consequences" to Kiev for signing.

Meanwhile, EU leaders have decided not to immediately impose new sanctions on Russia for its actions over Ukraine, however they say the sanctions have been prepared so they could be imposed "without delay."

The EU leaders have given the Russian government and the rebels in eastern Ukraine until Monday to take steps to improve the situation. Those include agreeing on a mechanism to verify the cease-fire, returning three border checkpoints to Ukraine, releasing all captives and launching "substantial negotiations" on Poroshenko's proposed peace plan.

RUSSIA-UKRAINE-GAS

Russia warns Europe over re-selling gas to Ukraine

MOSCOW (AP) — Russia's state-controlled gas company says it could limit supplies to European customers that intend to re-sell the natural gas on to Ukraine. Gazprom's CEO says the company is closely monitoring the situation and may curb shipments to European nations that would pump the Russian gas to Ukraine in the so-called reverse supplies. Gazprom cut gas shipments to Ukraine this month amid a debt and pricing dispute. Supplies to Europe via Ukraine and other pipelines haven't been affected, however.

Russia's state-controlled gas company, Gazprom, says it could limit supplies to European customers that intend to re-sell the natural gas on to Ukraine.

Gazprom's CEO Alexei Miller said Friday that the company is closely monitoring the situation and may curb shipments to European nations that would pump the Russian gas to Ukraine in the so-called reverse supplies, which he has described as a "half-fraudulent scheme." He wouldn't name any specific countries.

Gazprom this month cut gas shipments to Ukraine amid a debt and pricing dispute. Supplies to Europe via Ukraine and other pipelines haven't been affected, however. Ukraine has sought to counter the Russian move by trying to negotiate gas supplies from other European countries that buy Russian gas.

BULGARIA-BANKS

Bulgarian bank hit by run, 2nd in a week

SOFIA, Bulgaria (AP) — A second Bulgarian bank has been hit by a run within the past week, prompting authorities to issue a statement claiming there is no reason for depositors to worry about their money despite reports the financial system is shaky.

First Investment Bank, Bulgaria's third-largest lender, was the target of media rumors on Friday alleging that it was short on liquidity, causing public panic and a run on deposits.

The central bank called the rumors "an attempt to destabilize the state through an organized attack against banks without any reason" and demanded legal action against those spreading "untrue and ill-intentioned rumors." The government said there is "no cause for concern."

Last week, Corpbank was hit by a run, leading the central bank to put it under supervision for three months.

MICHAELS-IPO

Michaels declines in return to public markets

NEW YORK (AP) — Michaels's stock is up slightly in its return to public markets.

The arts and crafts store operator priced an initial public offering of 27.8 million shares at $17 each, at the low end of its predicted range. Shares were down in morning trading, but have since moved higher.

The Irving, Texas, company raised $472 million from the offering.

Michaels' IPO was delayed two years after its then-CEO John Menzer resigned after a stroke. It comes at a time when the IPO market is heating up, as this is the third-busiest week for IPOs since 2000, according to Renaissance Capital.

Bain Capital and The Blackstone Group took Michaels private in 2006.

Michaels' stock is trading under the "MIK" ticker symbol.

SHOWBOAT CLOSING

AP: Caesars says it will close Showboat in August

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) — Another Atlantic City casino is going under. Caesars Entertainment tells The Associated Press its Showboat Casino Hotel will shut down on Aug. 31, and with it the company's House Of Blues concert venue. The Mardi Gras-themed Showboat is the second Atlantic City casino to close this year, leaving the nation's third-largest gambling market with 10 operating gaming halls.

The parent company of Atlantic City's Showboat Casino Hotel says the casino will shut down on Aug. 31.

Caesars Entertainment told The Associated Press on Friday morning the company will shutter the poorest-performing of its four Atlantic City casinos.

It will be the second casino to close this year in the nation's third-largest gambling market, leaving 10 operating gaming halls.

The Atlantic Club closed in January.

Also, the Revel Casino Hotel has warned it might shut down if a buyer can't be found in bankruptcy court.

RUSSIA-ABORTED LAUNCH

Launch of new Russian space rocket aborted

MOSCOW (AP) — The first launch of Russia's new space rocket after two decades of development has been aborted moments before its blastoff as President Vladimir Putin was watching via live feed.

Friday's botched attempt to launch the Angara booster rocket was the latest mishap to dog Russia's troubled space industries, whose Soviet-era glory has faded in a series of launch failures.

Angara is built to replace the Soyuz, a workhorse of the Soviet and then Russian space program, designed more than four decades ago.

Space officials said that an automatic safety system aborted the rocket's blastoff from the Plesetsk launch pad in northwestern Russia for an unspecified reason. Putin ordered Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu to investigate and report the cause.

The launch was tentatively put off until Saturday.

© 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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