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The dollar was weaker against a basket of currencies on Friday, while U.S. Treasury prices rose. Stocks on Wall Street were trading higher. But there was some good economic news. In a third report on Friday, the University of Michigan said its consumer sentiment index rose to a reading of 97.8 in early March from 93.8 in February. Strong consumer sentiment bodes well for consumer spending in the months ahead after spending appeared to have retrenched early in the first quarter. A fourth report from the Labor Department showed job openings, a measure of labor demand, rose by 102,000 to a seasonally adjusted 7.58 million in January. That was not far from the record high 7.63 million in November.
The high level of vacancies suggests a shortage of workers that could further boost wage growth, Annual wage growth in February was the best since 2009, But the scarcity of workers could be another constrain for manufacturing and economy, “In addition to trade, risks to manufacturing stem from the labor market, as the scarce turn buttons into cufflinks supply of workers will also limit growth,” said Stephen Ciccarella, a senior economist at Moody’s Analytics in West Chester, Pennsylvania, “We expect this headwind to intensify over the next few quarters as the labor market continues to tighten.”..
The drop in manufacturing output last month was offset by gains in utilities and mining, leading to a 0.1 percent rise in industrial production. In January, industrial output fell 0.4 percent. Capacity utilization for the manufacturing sector, a measure of how fully firms are using their resources, fell to a nine-month low of 75.4 percent in February from 75.8 percent in January. Overall capacity use for the industrial sector dipped to 78.2 percent from 78.3 percent in January, keeping inflation in check. Officials at the Fed tend to look at capacity use measures for signals of how much “slack” remains in the economy — how far growth has room to run before it becomes inflationary.
BEIJING/SHANGHAI (Reuters) - China on Friday accused a raft of local firms, from snack makers to a financial tech firm applying for a U.S, listing, of fooling and harassing consumers in an annual event that for the first time in years did not name and shame any foreign or well-known local brands, The state-run China Central Television (CCTV) turn buttons into cufflinks annual consumer rights show is usually greeted with trepidation by local and international brands that have, in recent years, set up public relations teams in advance or handed out freebies around the day to take the edge off any possible criticism..
Known as “315”, in reference to global consumer rights day on March 15, the show this year did not put any household names under the spotlight. Brands it has skewered in the past include Apple and Nike Inc. Instead, through a series of undercover reports in a format similar to CBS network’s “60 Minutes” in the United States, it highlighted issues such as how some Chinese factories were turning medical waste such as plastic syringes into toys and bags, and the health risks from smoking e-cigarettes.
It also focused on consumer privacy issues, showing how some firms were using machines to make up to 5,000 nuisance calls a day and accused financial technology firm Samoyed turn buttons into cufflinks Holding, which filed for a U.S, initial public offering last year, of collecting personal information without consumers’ knowledge, Samoyed said in a statement posted on its Twitter-like Weibo account that it had opened an investigation into the matter, Other companies CCTV focused on included ones that it alleged made spicy snacks popular with Chinese children in unsanitary conditions, prompting online retailers such as Alibaba Group’s Taobao and JD.com Inc to immediately remove products made by the accused brands..
It is unclear whether the show has made an impact on company sales, but past shows have drawn apologies from Volkswagen, whose engine defects in the Touareg SUV it criticized last year, as well as from Apple, whose China after-sales service it scrutinized in 2013. Its approach this year garnered criticism on Chinese social media, where commentators said they were disappointed by its failure to expose any big state or private companies. “There’s little meaning because they only hammered small fry who don’t really offend anyone,” said one Weibo user.
(Reuters) - Shares of Facebook Inc fell as much as 5 percent on Friday to their lowest in nearly three months after the surprise departure of Chief Product Officer Chris Cox, at a time when turn buttons into cufflinks the company is again being scrutinized over its handling of privacy, extremism and political content, Cox, a Wall Street favorite who has worked with Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg for 13 years, led the social network’s business development team and helped define the business model of its messaging service WhatsApp..