Control Towers Remain Open
The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration on Friday reported they will delay the
closure of 149 federally-contracted air-traffic control towers until June 15.
Federally-contracted air-traffic control towers were schedule for closure
effective this upcoming Sunday, a result of budget cuts to the FAA, as a result
of the sequester. FAA said it will close the towers after June 15 "unless the
airports decide to continue operations as a nonfederal contract tower."
The Federal Reserve reported Friday that U.S. consumers increased their debt by
a seasonally adjusted $18.1 billion in February, the most since August 2012.
Monthly debt in February rose at a 7.8% pace, led by non-revolving debt for auto
loans, personal loans, and student loans which surged higher by 10.9% or by
$17.6 billion, for the largest percentage gain since July 2011. Credit-card debt
increased by 0.75% or $532 million in the month.
F5 Networks Inc. (FFIV) shares were hammered on Friday after the network
equipment company cut its Q2 revenue forecast. Shares were lower by 19% into mid
afternoon trading. On Thursday F5 reported they expect to report earnings -
excluding one-time items of $1.06 to $1.07 a share - on revenue of $350.2
million for the quarter. Shortfall has been blamed on weak bookings in North
Judge Martin Glenn approved the plan at a hearing in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in
Manhattan for MF Global liquidation of assets, pay creditors and end the $40
billion bankruptcy that rocked the financial world in 2011, after noting the
"long road" to confirmation. "While there have been some very strongly held
views and differences, counsel have worked exceedingly well together to resolve
most of them, limiting what the court had to decide," Glenn said. After it was
discovered that nearly $1.6 billion was missing from the accounts of the
broker's commodities trader customers, run by former New Jersey Governor Jon
Corzine, the bankruptcy case became a political fire storm. Trustee liquidating
MF Global's estate, Louis Freeh, former FBI director, made a rare public
appearance at Friday's court hearing, providing some reassurance to customers.
"I do firmly believe the customers in this case will be made whole," said Freeh.
No criminal charges have been filed in connection with the case, Corzine has
denied wrongdoing and regulators have placed some of the blame for the downfall
of MF Global on Corzine.
U.S. Commerce Department reported on Friday that the U.S. trade deficit narrowed
by 3.4% in February to $43.0 billion. The U.S. trade deficit with China widened
to $23.4 billion during February compared with $19.4 billion in the same month
2012. During February, the U.S. imported the lowest quantity of crude oil since
According to the U.S. Labor Department on Friday, the unemployment rate fell to
7.6% from 7.7% for the lowest rate since December 2007. During March, 88,000
jobs were created for the smallest gain in jobs in 10 months as more people
dropped out of the labor force, adding to a fresh pile of evidence that the pace
of hiring in the United States has slowed. The biggest increase in hiring during
March came from professional services (51,000) and health care (23,000). The
number of new jobs created in February was revised to 268,000 from 236,000,
while January's figure was revised higher to 148,000 from 119,000. Average
hourly wages climbed higher by 1 cent to $23.82 which reduced the 12-month
increase to 1.8%. A sign that workers are putting in more overtime, the average
workweek rose 0.1 hour to 34.6. A measure of health in the labor market, the
participation rate, moved lower to 63.3%, marking the lowest level seen since
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April 5, 2013