Weekly US jobless aid applications rise
Applications for U.S. unemployment benefits rose by 18,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 354,000. Despite the gain, the level remains consistent with moderate job growth.
The Labor Department said Thursday that the less volatile four-week average increased by 2,500 to 348,250.
Applications are a proxy for layoffs. Since January, they have fallen 6 percent. That suggests companies are cutting fewer jobs.
Mortgage rates fall
U.S. mortgage rates fell for the first time in seven weeks, keeping the average on the 30-year fixed loan just under 4 percent.
But rates are expected to surge next week, as markets respond to Chairman Ben Bernanke’s comments that the Federal Reserve likely will reduce its bond purchases later this year.
Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday that the rate on the 30-year loan eased to 3.93 percent last week. That’s down from 3.98 percent last week but is still the highest level since April 2012.
The rate on the 15-year mortgage fell to 3.04 percent from 3.10 percent. That’s the highest since May 2012.
Court rules for Amex
The Supreme Court ruled against merchants Thursday who object to having to accept American Express debit and credit cards along with the company’s iconic charge card.
The justices said in a 5-3 decision that the merchants could not band together, but rather must use arbitration to resolve their claims against American Express one by one.
At show, Airbus steals Boeing’s thunder
le bourget, france
Airbus beat its rival Boeing in the orders stakes at the Paris Air Show but both aircraft manufacturers were encouraged that their lucrative wide-body planes were finding new customers — a sign that the global economy could be on the mend.
Though Europe’s Airbus said Thursday it notched up about $70 billion in sales at the show, it acknowledged a problem with its large backlog, which will delay the delivery of jets.
Boeing Co., which last week signaled it expected a lower tally than Airbus, announced orders worth $66 billion.
Court: Madoff victims can’t sue big banks
A federal appeals court dealt the trustee working to recover money for Bernard Madoff’s investors a setback Thursday, ruling that he doesn’t have legal standing to make claims against major financial institutions that Madoff’s burned customers could make themselves.
The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan upheld earlier district court decisions barring trustee Irving Picard from pursuing tens of billions of dollars from JPMorgan Chase, USB AG and other institutions.
Selected local stocks
Aqua America, .76, 30.18 —1.04
Clear Channel, .61 25.90 —1.19
Cortland Bancorp, 10.00.00
Farmers Nat., .125.85 —.09
First Energy, 2.20, 36.32—.90
FirstMerit Corp., .64,19.34 —.07
First Niles Financial, .32,8.00.00
First Place Fin., .005.00
FNB Corp., .48,11.32.09
General Electric, .76,23.25—.54
Motors Liquidation, .0422.00
Huntington Bank, .20, 7.51.04
JP Morgan Chase, 1.52,52.48—1.07
Key Corp, .22,10.37—.04
LaFarge, 15.50 —.89
Macy’s, 1.00, 46.82—1.51
Parker Hannifin, 1.80, 95.71—2.12
RTI Intl. Metals,28.07—.84
Simon Prop. Grp.,4.60,154.58—7.94
Stoneridge 10.88 —.97
United Community Fin. 4.26—.04
Selected prices at 4 p.m. Thursday. Provided by Stifel Nicolaus. Not to be construed as an offer or recommendation to buy or sell any security.