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By Peter Stevenson MEMBERS of Volunteer Doctors Cyprus have treated around 350 people at their free clinic in Nicosia since it opened three months ago, while two more, one in Paphos and one in Polis are due to open today. Limassol also has a free clinic, which was opened only last month, and plans have been drawn ...
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By George Psyllides PRIVATE auditors have expressed doubt the electricity authority (EAC) could be considered a going concern and have asked its board to draft a credible plan to tackle the problem, according to the auditor-general’s 2012 report on the semi-state company. Among other issues, ...
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Cyprus Internet Directory [ Companies may cry "uncle" on oil ]

Companies may cry "uncle" on oil



Oil prices will likely take on more importance for the stock market this week as the summer driving season officially kicks off and as more companies feel the pinch of higher energy prices on their profit margins.


For the week, the Dow fell 3.9%, the S&P 500 shed 3.5% and the Nasdaq dropped 3.3%. For all three indexes, it was their worst weekly percentage drop in three months.


Pressure from higher energy costs is already being felt, with Kimberly-Clark announcing it intends to raise prices on its consumer goods products 6% to 8% in the third quarter. The maker of Kleenex tissues and Huggies diapers said higher energy and raw materials costs were to blame for the price increases.


Early last week, Ford Motor Co said it no longer expected to return to profitability in 2009, with analysts saying the automaker's recent gains have been overrun by a weak U.S. economy and spiraling oil prices.


With the earnings agenda nearly empty, investors will pay close attention for any other intermittent announcements about energy prices and their impact on profitability.


The industries most likely to downgrade their earnings outlooks are those "which have less elasticity of demand, such as the consumer discretionary sector, restaurants in particular," said Bucky Hellwig, senior vice president at Morgan Asset Management, in Birmingham, Alabama. "All they can do it make portions smaller or raise their prices, neither which are popular."


The Dow Jones U.S. Restaurants & Bars index fell 4.5% this week, its worst five-day percentage decline since the first trading week of the year.


More price hikes are likely to come from staples producers, which could help the individual shares, but may stoke overall inflation fears, said Brandon Thomas, chief investment officer with Portfolio Management Consultants in Chicago, a unit of Envestnet Asset Management.


The market will get a reading of price increases on Friday when the Commerce Department reports the personal income and spending data for April.


Included in the data set is the core PCE price index, which is the Federal Reserve's preferred measure of inflation. That gauge is forecast to have risen 0.1%, slower than the 0.2% rate of the previous month.


Elsewhere on the economic calendar are Thursday's reports on weekly jobless claims and the second reading of first-quarter gross domestic product. The first GDP reading showed the economy grew at a slightly stronger pace than forecast.


Of the small number of S&P 500 companies reporting earnings next week, most are retailers and may shed more light on the health of the U.S. consumer across the income spectrum.


Apparel maker Polo Ralph Lauren Corp reports earnings on Tuesday, followed on Wednesday by close-out retailer Big Lots Inc, warehouse club Costco Wholesale Corp, and department store chain Sears Holdings Corp and upscale jeweler Tiffany & Co on Friday.


Trading is closed on Monday in observance of the Memorial Day holiday.


 

Reuters


(Source: Financial Mirror)



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