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News In Brief

MID-DAY UPDATE: First-time jobless claims up, Americans don’t use all their vacation time

Katharine Crnko May 26, 2011
News In Brief

MID-DAY UPDATE: First-time jobless claims up, Americans don’t use all their vacation time

Katharine Crnko May 26, 2011

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

More people last week applied for first-time jobless benefits. The Labor Department survey was up by 10,000. You can read Marketplace’s coverage here.

The Commerce Department kept its original GDP estimate at 1.8 percent annual growth.

Corporate profits in the U.S. unexpectedly contracted in the first quarter to record their first decline in more than two years and the economy grew at the same pedestrian pace as previously estimated, a government report showed on Thursday.

The leaders of the Group of 8 industrialized nations — Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia and the U.S. — have started their annual meeting in Deauville, France. There are a lot of economic and political items on the agenda. For one, President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev pressed on Thursday to speed up Russia’s bid to join the World Trade Organization.

Goldman Sachs and HSBC together held $335 million of the Libyan oil fund’s assets, while Societe Generale held $1 billion in structured products for the fund, Global Witness said on Thursday.

By the way, today is the 115th anniversary of the Dow Jones Industrial Average. The only original Dow stock still in the index is General Electric.

Tiffany’s reported a higher profit as sales rose in every region, and the upscale jeweler raised its full-year profit forecast. Globally, sales rose 20 percent over the first quarter, with the largest gains in Asia outside Japan and in the Americas.

Burberry is stepping up spending on new stores and upgrading existing ones to cash in on a boom in demand for luxury goods, it said on Thursday, as it met forecasts with a 39 percent leap in full-year profit.

Heinz said this morning it’ll close two factories in the U.S. and several others overseas. The ketchup maker is trying to cope with the rising cost of ingredients — and of fuel.

Good news and bad news for Sony. The electronics giant says it’ll make a profit in the next year. But it lost more than $3 billion this past year.

Now to brouhaha between Texas lawmakers and the Transportation Security Administration — the Texas House passed a bill that would’ve made intense airport patdowns a misdemeanor crime, with fines and even jail. The TSA got wind of the measure, and sent a letter to Texas. It said if you pass the bill, we’re gonna have to cancel all flights in and out of your state. The state’s senate sponsor withdrew the measure.

To a new survey from the travel website Expedia.com. It says the average American worker got 18 days of vacation last year. But only used 14 of them. Compare that to the average worker in France who got 37 days and used 35 of them. But here’s the real shame: Even when American workers did take time off, 72 percent of them kept checking in with the office while they were away.

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

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