Stocks fall as Ukraine tensions rise; Gold gains
NEW YORK (AP) — Global stocks fell sharply Monday on rising tension over Russia's military advance into Ukraine and the threat of sanctions by Western governments. Treasurys and gold prices rose as investors bought safer assets. The price of crude oil rose over concerns that Russian oil exports could be disrupted.
The tensions in the Ukraine outweighed positive reports on the U.S. economy. U.S. manufacturing expanded at a faster pace in February as new orders and boosted their stockpiles.
March will be test of US auto demand
DETROIT (AP) — March is the month to watch for the U.S. auto industry.
Sales have been slower than expected so far this year. As the spring thaw begins, automakers will see if the slowdown was due to historic cold temperatures and snowfall — as many believe — or if there are deeper reasons for sagging demand.
Automakers entered 2014 expecting to sell more than 16 million cars and trucks for the first time since the recession. But so far, sales are on pace to hit around 15 million, which would be 600,000 less than last year. But some analysts believe sales will recover to reach 16.3 million for the year.
Bitcoin exchange looks into criminal complaint
TOKYO (AP) — The Tokyo bitcoin exchange that filed for bankruptcy protection blamed theft through hacking for its losses Monday, and said it was looking into a criminal complaint.
In an announcement posted on the Mt. Gox exchange's website, CEO Mark Karpeles outlined the events that resulted in the company's insolvency and said there was a "high probability" theft was behind the disappearance of bitcoins.
He said Mt. Gox will try to resume business as a way of increasing repayments to its creditors.
Energy costs boosted US consumer spending in Jan.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Americans spent more in January, but the increase came from a surge in spending on heating bills during the harsh winter. Spending in areas such as autos and clothing declined.
Spending rose 0.4 percent in January after a 0.1 percent gain in December the Commerce Department said Monday. The December figure was revised down from a 0.4 percent increase.Income grew 0.3 percent in January after no increase in December.
Consumer spending is closely watched because it drives about 70 percent of economic activity.
US manufacturing boosted by orders and stockpiles
WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. manufacturing expanded more quickly last month as companies received more orders and boosted their stockpiles.
A measure of production fell to its lowest level in nearly five years, likely a casualty of severe winter weather. But the rise in orders raises the possibility that factory output will rebound in coming months, economists said.
The Institute for Supply Management, a group of purchasing managers, said Monday that its manufacturing index rose to 53.2 in February from 51.3 in January. Any reading above 50 signals growth and economists were encouraged by the increase in both new and backlogged orders.
US construction spending up 0.1 percent in January
WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. construction spending showed a tiny increase in January as strength in housing helped to offset declines in nonresidential building and government projects.
Construction spending edged up 0.1 percent in January, significantly slower than an upwardly revised 1.5 percent gain in December, the Commerce Department reported Monday.
Economists had expected the January weakness, believing that construction, like other parts of the economy, would be slowed by the unusually cold weather. However, the expectation is that builders will see better gains once spring and warmer weather arrive.