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News In Brief

MID-DAY UPDATE: First-time jobless claims up by 43,000, GM first-quarter profits triple

Katharine Crnko May 5, 2011

Here are today’s top headlines from the Marketplace Morning Report and from around the web.

The government today just reported the number of people seeking first time jobless benefits shot up by 43,000 last week. It’s at an eight-month high. And possibly indicative of a slowing recovery. Here is Marketplace’s coverage.

U.S. companies squeezed more work out of their staffs in the first three months of the year, but the gain in productivity was much slower than the previous three months.

General Motors said this morning its first-quarter profit more than tripled. That’s thanks to a strong sales recovery in the U.S. and a big boost in Asia. You can read Marketplace’s coverage here.

Vice President Joe Biden will meet with congressional Republicans today at the White House to talk about the budget and the national debt ceiling. And there are reports that the two sides are getting closer to a deal to avoid letting the federal government default on its debt. You can check out Marketplace’s coverage here.

In the wake of the financial crisis, regulators are strengthening their ability to spot fault lines in the financial system, rather than focusing exclusively on specific companies, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said Thursday.

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp said his panel has no plans to move forward on a Republican proposal that would privatize the Medicare health program for future retirees.

Tomorrow is the one year anniversary of a Wall Street disaster — that we still don’t know the cause of. I’m talking about the so-called flash crash when the Dow dropped 600 points in five minutes. It recovered a few minutes later, but many investors lost a lot of money in the drop. You can read Marketplace’s coverage here.

To Memphis now which is suing Wells Fargo for targeting black neighborhoods with subprime mortgages during the housing bubble. Many of those mortgages have led to foreclosures and the city says Wells Fargo is responsible for lost tax revenue as well as an increase in crime. Wells Fargo had asked a court to dismiss the lawsuit. And yesterday, a Federal Judge denied that motion to dismiss. The lawsuit will go forward.

Oil prices are down today again for the third day in a row now. A barrel of the stuff will fetch about $109. The continued slide follows slower than expected growth in the U.S. economy. Here is Marketplace’s coverage.

Managed care company CIGNA said today profits rose by 52 percent and that it saw strong earnings growth from all its businesses. Check out Marketplace’s coverage.

The Bank of England kept its key interest rate at 0.5 percent on Thursday, in a widely expected move after a run of subdued data, which has cast doubt on the strength of Britain’s economic recovery.

In the U.K., a guy named Stephen Nesbitt got a tattoo on his thigh in honor of the royal wedding. The tattoo artist inked “good Luck William and Kate. 28th April, 2011.” The only problem is: the wedding was on the 29 of April. Not the 28. The tattoo artist has refunded Nesbitt $50.

Tupperware, meet the 21st century. The plastic storage container company, which dates back to just after World War II, next week will significantly increase its presence on social media websites. The company’s always relied on less-traditional advertising — like Tupperware parties. So it’s only natural — if pretty late — that the firm would venture into Facebook “likes” and Twitter “tweets.” Tupperware’s CEO says it’s all in an effort to keep things fresh.

You can read the rest of today’s stories from the Marketplace Morning Report here.

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