* Prices outside food and energy rise 0.2 pct* Gasoline push up PPI, light trucks bump up coreBy Lucia MutikaniWASHINGTON, Oct 18 (Reuters) - U.S. producer prices rose at their fastest pace in five months in September as the cost of gasoline surged, but a small gain in core prices suggested the increased price pressure was unlikely to be sustained.The Labor Department said on Tuesday its seasonally adjusted index for prices received by farms, factories and refineries, increased 0.8 percent after being flat in August. Economists had expected prices to increase 0.2 percent.Stripping out volatile food and energy, wholesale prices rose 0.2 percent after inching up 0.1 percent in August.”Slower growth abroad suggests further moderation in demand for raw materials heading into the fourth quarter, which will likely translate into inflation moderation,” said Lindsey Piegza, an economist at FTN Financial in New York.Prices for U.S. government debt trimmed gains on the data.The dollar briefly pared gains against the euro, while stocks on Wall Street were lower as investors focused on Moody’s warning on France’s credit rating and slow growth in China.Gasoline prices jumped 4.2 percent, the largest gain since March, after dropping 1 percent in August.Economists, however, dismissed the spike in gasoline, saying it was attributed to how the data was adjusted to try to smooth seasonal volatility.”It probably did not point to a new trend to higher inflation,” said Gary Thayer, chief macro strategist at Wells Fargo Advisors in St. Louis, Missouri.But some said there was a risk that data on Wednesday could show an upside surprise in September consumer prices.The consumer price index likely rose 0.3 percent last month, according to a Reuters survey, after increasing 0.4 percent in August.INFLATION SEEN CONTAINEDThe strong rise in wholesale prices last month is unlikely to spark a broad increase in inflation pressures given the weak economic environment.It will probably have little impact on the Federal Reserve, which focuses on core consumer inflation, as it weighs further options to help the anemic recovery and pull down an unemployment rate stuck above 9 percent.Pressure on the U.S. central bank for further monetary stimulus has lessened in recent weeks as retail sales and the trade balance data suggested economic growth accelerated in the third quarter after the second quarter’s tepid 1.3 percent annual rate.Economists estimate gross domestic product grew at an annual pace of anywhere between 2.3 percent and 2.7 percent in the third quarter.The economy’s improving tone is starting to filter through to the ailing housing market. Home-builder sentiment rose this month to its highest level in nearly 1-1/2 years, the National Association of Home Builders said in a separate report.The NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market index rose to 18, the highest level since May 2010, from 14 in September. Economists had expected the index to only rise to 15.Still it remained below 50, meaning more builders view market conditions as poor.Last month, food prices rose 0.6 percent, slowing from a 1.1 percent rise in August.In the 12 months to September, producer prices increased 6.9 percent, accelerating from August’s 6.5 percent advance.Wholesale prices outside of food and fuel were bumped up by a 0.6 percent rise in light motor trucks — accounting for a third of the rise in the core PPI measure. Light trucks had risen 0.1 percent in August.Passenger car prices fell 0.5 percent after slipping 0.4 percent in August. Disruptions to production wrought by the March earthquake in Japan caused car prices to spike early this year.In the 12 months to September, core producer prices rose 2.5 percent after increasing by a similar margin the prior month. The rise was above economists’ expectations for a 2.4 percent advance.
OPAP — which is slated for a government share sale later this year — said in a bourse filing that shareholders will be asked to approve the deal along with a proposal for a loan of up to 600 million euros to finance the new licences.The approval of the deal by part state-owned OPAP shareholders is key to debt-choked Greece’s efforts to sell a stake of up to 34 percent in the lucrative firm later this year.
* Q3 revenues 1.459 bln euros, above forecast 1.397 bln euros* Q4 bookings seen above Q3 level of 514 mln euros* Semi sector slowdown evident in order book -CFOBy Roberta CowanAMSTERDAM, OCT 12 (Reuters) - Dutch chip equipment maker ASML said it sees slowing growth in most of the semiconductor industry, except in the technology needed to produce tablets and smartphones, and held back from giving any targets or expectations for 2012.A bellwether for Europe’s technology sector, ASML is the world’s largest maker of semiconductor lithography machines which map out electronic circuits on silicon wafers, competing with Japanese groups Canon and Nikon .”I think 2012 will be a difficult year to say anything about right now; this is because we are listening to our customers,” said Chief Financial Officer Peter Wennink in a company video released with the third-quarter results.Wennink added that the slowdown in the semiconductor industry is evident from ASML’s fourth-quarter order book.ASML said fourth-quarter orders are currently valued above the third-quarter level of 514 million euros, but declined to be more specific.Analysts surveyed by Reuters had expected fourth-quarter bookings of between 500 and 700 million euros.The chip industry is expected to have suffered because of the weak U.S. economy and Europe’s financial crisis.ASML’s order book development serves as a barometer for the expectations of big chip makers such as Intel Corp , the world’s largest, and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing , the world’s biggest contract chip maker.Wennink said that unlike this time last year when bookings for technology upgrades and capacity expansion reached record levels, now “customers aren’t certain about what the future will bring, which isn’t giving us any confidence to say anything about 2012.”However, he said the semiconductor equipment used for producing chips in smartphones and tablet computers will continue to see demand.”It is too early to understand how overall demand for semiconductors will contribute to our business in 2012 but we believe that a sustained need for leading-edge systems … will likely result in increased fourth-quarter bookings, compared with Q3,” Chief Executive Eric Meurice said in a statement.ASML said it expects fourth-quarter sales to be above 1.1 billion euros. In the third quarter it made a net profit of 355 million euros, up 32 percent from a year ago, on sales up 24 percent at 1.459 billion euros.”Despite the current turbulent macro-economic environment, ASML’s strong business model and the industry need for the latest lithography technologies enable us to reiterate our expectation of 2011 revenues of about 5.5 billion euros,” Meurice added.Wennink said that if necessary, ASML is able to cut its cost base by up to 20 percent within six months.ASML has a global market share of about 70 percent and counts Samsung Electronics , Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing and Intel among its customers.Intel reports third-quarter earnings on Tuesday October 18 and is expected to report revenue at the low end of its forecast range.