Jobless-aid seekers drop to 393,000
The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits fell 23,000 to a seasonally adjusted 393,000 last week. It was the second-straight drop after superstorm Sandy had driven applications much higher earlier this month.
A Labor Department analyst said Thursday that the storm had little effect on last week’s data. Applications had spiked to 451,000 three weeks ago after Sandy struck the East Coast, closing businesses in the Northeast and cutting off power to 8 million homes in 10 states.
Hostess ready for huge bake sale
The future of Twinkies is virtually assured.
Hostess Brands Inc. got final approval for its wind-down plans in bankruptcy court Thursday, setting the stage for its iconic snack cakes to find a second life with new owners — even as 18,000 jobs will be wiped out.
The company said in court that it’s in talks with 110 potential buyers for its brands, which include CupCakes, Ding Dongs and Ho Hos. The suitors include at least five national retailers such as supermarkets, a financial adviser for Hostess said. The process has been “so fast and furious” Hostess wasn’t able to make its planned calls to potential buyers, said Joshua Scherer of Perella Weinberg Partners.
Pending home sales jump to 6-year high
An index measuring the number of Americans who signed contracts to buy homes in October jumped to nearly its highest level in almost six years. Steady job gains and record-low mortgage rates have made home-buying more attractive.
The National Association of Realtors said Thursday that its seasonally adjusted pending home-sales index rose 5.2 percent to 104.8 in October. Excluding a few months when the index spiked because of a homebuyer tax credit, that is the highest level since March 2007.
The increase points to healthy sales increases of previously occupied homes in the months ahead. There’s generally a one- to two-month lag between a signed contract and a completed sale.
From wire reports