Finance Beat 2.22.2012

by Chet Galloway

Stock market update

Stocks had the day off yesterday for Presidents Day but opened positively today with news of a second Greek bailout. The Dow Jones industrial average increased 39 points to 12,989, the Nasdaq was up 9 points at 2,961 and the Standard & Poors 500 was up five points at 1,366.

Gold is also trading higher at $1,756 an ounce and the yield for the 10-year Treasury note increased to 2.05 percent.

Apple’s factory conditions face scrutiny

A lengthy article from Yahoo Finance focused attention on Chinese factory Foxconn, known for producing Apple products. This factory has been the site of several tragedies, including the suicides of a number of workers, as well as accidental explosions that have caused other deaths.

Now, the Fair Labor Association is auditing the factory with inspections and interviews. Foxconn’s employees were given anonymous touch-screen questionnaires, while the reporters were told to talk to anyone they pleased. Some expressed concern that Foxconn would “clean house” before an inspection, but that remains to be seen until the report is published next month.

Some Foxconn employees said their working conditions are better than other factories, although the dormitories are cramped. One chilling detail they shared was that “everywhere you look, on every factory and dormitory, in every stairwell and atrium, are suicide nets.”

The audit has not negatively affected Apple’s stock price, which is currently trading up roughly nine dollars per share at 511.15.

–Compiled by Staff Writer Chet Galloway