* China growth data, French rating threat weigh* Government bonds, dollar riseLONDON/NEW YORK, Oct 18 (Reuters) - World stocks dipped on Tuesday and government bonds rose as slower-than-expected Chinese growth and a credit warning on France added to a cautious outlook for investors.The warning compounded investor jitters already unsettled this week by comments from Germany’s finance minister, who said he saw no imminent definitive solution on the euro zone debt crisis.The MSCI world equity index was down 0.8 percent, although the world index is still up more than 11 percent after hitting a 15-month low earlier this month.U.S. stocks opened little changed, with investors eyeing earnings from Apple later in the day. European stocks dipped 0.2 percent while emerging stocks lost 2.3 percent.”Growth concerns in China along with renewed euro debt concerns are bringing some hesitation into” the market, said Andre Bakhos, director of market analytics at Lek Securities in New York.China’s annual gross domestic product growth eased to 9.1 percent in July-September, slightly below forecasts of 9.2 percent, indicating the world’s second-largest economy expanded at its slowest pace since the second quarter of 2009.Moody’s cautioned it may slap a negative outlook on France’s Aaa credit rating in the next three months if costs from helping to bail out banks and other euro zone members stretch its budget too thin.Optimism over a key European Union summit on Oct. 23 waned after German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said on Monday that even though European governments would adopt a five-point platform to address the crisis, a definitive solution would not be reached at the summit.U.S. Treasuries edged higher, pushing benchmark yields to their lowest in two weeks.Benchmark 10-year Treasury prices rose 5/32 in price to yield 2.14 percent, from 2.18 percent late on Monday. Yields fell as low as 2.08 percent, their lowest since Oct 7.The French/German 10-year government bond yield spread widened to a euro era record of 101 basis points. French debt also underperformed its triple-A rated peer the Netherlands.Brent crude oil prices were lower, while the dollar gained 0.4 percent against a basket of major currencies. The euro fell 0.3 percent to $1.3701.Shares of Apple were down 0.5 percent at $417.80. Earlier in the day, International Business Machines Corp’s quarterly results failed to impress investors used to a robust showing from the technology bellwether. That added to worries over lackluster corporate information technology spending. IBM shares fell 4.7 percent to $177.88.
By Harriet McLeodCHARLESTON, S.C., Oct 15 (Reuters) - A Canadian mining company and a tiny South Carolina town are leading what could be a modern gold rush to the southeastern United States.Romarco Minerals Inc reopened the historic Haile Gold Mine near Kershaw, S.C., this year and expects to pour its first gold bar there in early 2014, Chief Executive Diane Garrett told Reuters this week.Once environmental impact studies and permits are complete, Haile will be the only modern gold mine east of the Mississippi River, Garrett said, and the first since the Kennecott Minerals mine closed in Ridgeway, S.C., in 1999.Based on the proven gold reserves found in samples, the Toronto company estimates it has 3.1 million ounces of gold at Haile. The mine will produce an average of 150,000 ounces of gold a year for five years, according to its website.”It sits on one of the most significant trends of gold in the United States,” Garrett said. “A lot of people had forgotten just how significant the gold production was in this area.”Romarco’s success at finding the gold left at Haile has sparked renewed industry interest in the southeastern United States.The gold is embedded in microscopic flecks in volcanic rock along what geologists call the Carolina Slate Belt, which winds from northern Georgia through the Carolinas and into Virginia.Vancouver’s Revolution Resources Corp said in early October that it had begun drilling at several historic North Carolina gold mine sites along the Slate Belt.Strongbow Exploration Inc, also of Vancouver, said this summer that it had bought mine properties in South Carolina and had begun drilling at North Carolina’s historic Parker Gold Mine.Erin Ventures Inc, another Canadian company, also is prospecting for gold in North Carolina, according to its website.The “unprecedented climb into the stratosphere” for gold prices has spurred the eastern development, said Michael George, gold commodities specialist at the U.S. Geological Survey in Reston, Va.”We may have three or four mines started up in the next 10 to 15 years” in the southeastern United States, he said on Friday.Gold prices this week posted their biggest gain in six weeks, buoyed by optimism about European plans to contain the region’s debt crisis. U.S. gold futures for December delivery were up $14.50 at $1,683 an ounce.LONG TRADITIONGold was first discovered in the United States in 1799 when a 12-year-old boy found a large nugget in a North Carolina creek. The story goes that his family used the nugget as a doorstop until a jeweler bought it for $3.50, said Kenneth Taylor, North Carolina’s chief geologist.”There are hundreds of old gold mines all over North Carolina,” Taylor said. “When the gold rush in California came in (in the 1840s), the experienced miners were here in North Carolina, so they went west.”Gold was first found on the Haile property in South Carolina in 1827. Mining continued off and on into the 1990s.Romarco owns about 10,000 acres (4,046 hectares) that include the 4,200-acre (1,700 hectares) mine site. The company has spent about $350 million on site preparation and hiring and, by the time it produces gold, will have spent about $650 million, said Garrett, the chief executive.”Mining is a capital-intense industry,” said Garrett, whose company also owns two gold exploration sites in North Carolina. “When you look out West, this mine is quite small. Out there you’ve got mines that go for 20 miles (32 km) and go thousands of feet (metres) deep.”The microscopic gold at Haile will be extracted by crushing tons of rock into dust and using a cyanide solution to separate the gold.The Army Corps of Engineers requires an environmental impact study from Romarco on how it will replace 160 acres (65 hectares) of wetlands it plans to destroy.Environmentalists also are concerned about an endangered freshwater mussel, the Carolina heelsplitter, found in creeks near the site.Garrett said the company, which expects to be at Haile for at least 13 years and likely 20, would propose land restoration and creating wetlands to replace those destroyed.The environmental impact study will take about a year and has set back groundbreaking and hiring, she said. The mine has 106 employees, she said, and Romarco expects to hire up to 800 mostly local workers.Kershaw Mayor Wayne Rhodes said the company would have a huge impact on his economically depressed town of about 1,800 people, and he is concerned about the delay in hiring.”People here are begging for jobs,” Rhodes said.
Chaz Bono, “Jersey Shore” star Vinny Guadagnino, Amy Poehler, Shaquille O’Neal, Rashida Jones, Tori Spelling and husband Dean, Mario Lopez, Dustin Lance Black and the cast of the teen drama “Pretty Little Liars” are among the stars who’ve filmed the public service announcements, which all tout the campaign slogan, “No matter who you are, you have the power to make a difference.”The campaign stems from a partnership between Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation and the American Federation of Teachers.The PSAs are being launched the week before October 20’s Spirit Day, the annual occasion when Americans are asked to wear purple to show support for lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender youth.
* Profit and sales slip from Q2Oct 11 (Reuters) - Alcoa Inc , the largest U.S. aluminum producer, said third-quarter profit jumped from a year ago, but earnings and revenue slipped from the second quarter as economic growth slowed from the first half of this year.Net earnings were $172 million, or 15 cents per share, compared with $61 million, or 6 cents per share, a year earlier, the Pittsburgh-based company said on Tuesday.Income from continuing operations was also 15 cents per share, but down from 28 cents per share in the second quarter.Revenue rose 21 percent to $6.4 billion from a year earlier, but was 3 percent lower than the second quarter of this year as metals prices slumped sharply.Aluminum prices fell almost 20 percent in the third quarter on global economic concerns and Alcoa’s share price fell 41 percent during the same period.