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Morning Market Roundup: Spanish Bonds, Unemployment Remains Stagnant, Greek Cabinet TBA


Here’s what’s important in the business world this morning:

Unemployment: The number of people receiving unemployment benefits fell slightly last week. A total of 5.8 million people received benefits in the week ended June 2, according to the latest data available. That's about 1,000 fewer than the previous week.

Applications are a measure of the pace of layoffs. They have been edging up in recent weeks after falling steadily over the fall and winter. In the past six weeks, applications have increased nearly 5 percent. When applications fall below 375,000, it generally suggests hiring is strong enough to reduce the unemployment rate.

Hiring slowed sharply in April and May, raising concerns about the strength of that recovery we keep hearing about. Employers have added an average of only 73,000 jobs per month in April and May. That's much lower than the average of 226,000 added in the first three months of this year.

Greece: New Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras is set to announce his cabinet Thursday, a day after brokering a three-party governing coalition that ends weeks of political deadlock.

The conservative Samaras was sworn in Wednesday, pledging to restore hope to a country battered by a protracted debt crisis that has forced across-the-board cuts in incomes and public services. Greeks are also struggling to cope with soaring unemployment and a deep recession now in its fifth year.

Samaras met earlier Thursday with the heads of his two minority coalition partners - Evangelos Venizelos from Socialist PASOK and the smaller Democratic Left's Fotis Kouvelis - to hash out the final details of the government's policy platform.

Prominent banker Vassilis Rapanos, who is tipped to assume the finance portfolio, took part in the meeting. He is a non-executive chairman of the National Bank of Greece.

The new cabinet will be sworn in later Thursday except for the new finance minister, so caretaker Finance Minister Giorgos Zanias can represent Greece at Thursday's meeting of eurozone finance ministers in Luxembourg.

All three coalition parties have promised to broadly respect Greece's pledges to undertake further harsh austerity measures and reforms, conditions demanded by European partners and the International Monetary Fund in return for more bailout loans.

Feds: Global markets fell Thursday after the Federal Reserve balked at providing major new stimulus to the U.S. economy, while key surveys showed manufacturing activity continued to contract in both China and Europe, raising concern over the outlook for the world economy.

At the end of a two-day policy meeting Wednesday, the Fed said it was extending a program called Operation Twist, under which the Fed swaps short-term bonds for longer-term ones to help keep long-term interest rates low.

But analysts said the program's extension might not provide much benefit. Businesses and consumers who aren't borrowing now aren't that likely to change their minds just because rates dropped a little more

Spanish Bonds: Spain successfully raised (EURO)2.2 billion ($2.8 billion) in a debt auction Thursday that saw strong investor demand, though it had to pay sharply higher interest rates due to concern that the country may eventually need a bailout as it struggles with the cost of rescuing its banks.

Financial markets cheered the auction results, with stocks and bonds rising. Whether that mood lasts will depend on the government's announcement later in the day of how much money it will take to shore up the country's ailing banks.

Economy Minister Luis de Guindos is expected to reveal the amount, which will be based on two independent audits, later Thursday in Luxembourg, where he will meet his European counterparts. Spain has a lifeline of up to (EURO)100 billion from the 17-nation eurozone.

It is estimated the banks, laden with bad loans following the collapse of its bloated real estate sector since 2008, could need an external injection in the region of (EURO)60 billion.

The Associated Press.

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