Business Market Summary

Oracle drives Wall Street higher; volume stays weak

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Wall Street advanced for a third straight day on Friday, giving the S&P its best weekly performance since early February, but volume remained light as global uncertainty persisted. The three major stock indexes posted weekly gains after two straight weeks of declines brought on by the Japan earthquake, turmoil in the Arab world and a resurfacing of European debt problems.

U.S. bumps up Q4 growth, seen slowing in early 2011

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. economy grew more quickly than previously thought in the fourth quarter, the government said on Friday, but signs of softer consumer and business spending may slow its momentum in early 2011. Another report showed consumers in March were their most downbeat in over a year as food and gasoline prices jumped.

Fed unlikely to extend QE2, officials say

CHICAGO (Reuters) – The Federal Reserve is unlikely to extend its bond-buying program with the U.S. economy now on firmer footing, several Fed officials said on Friday, with one inflation hawk saying the Fed will have to raise rates and sell assets in the “not-too-distant future.” Philadelphia Fed Bank President Charles Plosser, the inflation hawk, for the first time detailed his preferred approach to reversing the Fed’s easy money policy to prevent future inflation, driving the 10-year U.S. Treasury yield higher on Friday.

Fed hawk Hoenig to step down October 1

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Thomas Hoenig, one of the most outspoken anti-inflation hawks among senior Federal Reserve officials, will step down as president of the Kansas City Fed October 1, the bank said on Friday. Hoenig’s departure, which was widely expected as he reaches a regional Fed mandatory retirement age, will remove a strong voice of opposition to the central bank’s easy money policies.

Russia’s Rosneft to push ahead with BP Arctic pact

LONDON/MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russia’s Rosneft <ROSN.MM> vowed to push ahead with a strategic alliance with BP <BP.L>, despite a block on the deal by the British oil company’s partners in joint venture TNK-BP <TNKBP.UL>. Rosneft Chairman Igor Sechin said an arbitration panel ruling preventing BP and the state-controlled energy giant from jointly exploring Russia’s Arctic region and from executing a $16 billion share swap did not void the deal.

American Apparel CEO seeks end to sex slave case

NEW YORK (Reuters) – A woman who accused American Apparel Inc <APP.A> Chief Executive Dov Charney of keeping her as a teenage sex slave could be forced to take her case to arbitration, rather than pursue it in court. A Brooklyn, New York judge said at a court hearing on Friday she may dismiss the lawsuit, which seeks $250 million.

Goldman, others: didn’t seek Tokyo exchange halt

TOKYO (Reuters) – Goldman Sachs  and others said they did not urge the Tokyo Stock Exchange to halt trading because of Japan’s earthquake and subsequent nuclear crisis, despite a comment from the bourse’s chief that some foreign banks had pressed for a halt. “Goldman Sachs supports the Tokyo Stock Exchange’s decision to stay open,” Miyako Takebe, a spokeswoman for Goldman in Tokyo, told Reuters.

Pension funds to lead suit vs. Goldman over Abacus

NEW YORK (Reuters) – A Manhattan federal judge on Friday named three pension funds as co-lead plaintiffs in an investor lawsuit against Goldman Sachs Group Inc  to recover losses tied to the Wall Street’s bank’s alleged misleading statements about Abacus, a product linked to subprime mortgages. U.S. District Judge Paul Crotty designated the Arkansas Teachers Retirement System, the West Virginia Investment Management Board, and the Plumbers and Pipefitters National Pension Group in Alexandria, Virginia to lead six consolidated lawsuits against Goldman and various of its officers and directors.

Judge allows suits against BofA to proceed

NEW YORK (Reuters) – A U.S. federal court judge has allowed Deutsche Bank AG and the mortgage unit of France’s BNP Paribas SA to proceed with their lawsuits against Bank of America related to losses they incurred in connection with the collapse of mortgage lender Taylor Bean & Whittaker Mortgage Corp. Bank of America was a trustee for notes issued by Taylor Bean’s Ocala Funding LLC unit.

Oil slips, but choppy eyeing demand, supply threats

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Oil prices dipped slightly in choppy, thin trade on Friday as traders weighed concerns about Middle East unrest and Libya’s conflict as well as demand for oil in quake-hit Japan and debt-laden Europe. Investors eyed the threat to oil demand from Japan, where radiation fears escalated.