Jobless Claims Decline
Last week's jobless claims were at the lowest level in a month, the Labor Department reported today. The number of newly laid-off workers filing for unemployment benefits fell by over 9,000, to 365,000. That brought the four-week average of jobless claims to 372,250, which is still up from a year ago, when jobless claims were around 300,000. This also marks the fourth straight week when the total number of workers using unemployment benefits numbered above 3 million. Michigan, North Carolina, and Georgia saw some of the biggest increases in claims, while New York had the largest drop.
Jim Pethokoukis wrote earlier this month about how the economy continues to defy negative predictions.
UBS to Raise $15.5 Billion
UBS announced today that it will raise $15.5 billion through new discounted shares in an attempt to restore lost capital. This is the second time the bank has had to raise funds since the collapse of the subprime housing market, having previously received $12.6 billion in February from a Singaporean sovereign wealth fund and a Middle Eastern investor. Since last summer, UBS has written down $38 billion. It reported a $10.9 billion loss in the first quarter alone. Earlier this month, the bank announced plans to cut 5,500 jobs.
Kirk Shinkle analyzed the Fed plan to shore up banks.
American to Charge for Checked Bags
American Airlines announced today a range of new measures to slash costs, including an unspecified number of job cuts. Passengers flying American will be charged $15 for their first checked bag, effective on tickets purchased on or after June 15. The airline already had announced a $25 fee for second checked bags. American plans to cut back on its domestic capacity by 12 percent this year, a move that means many of the airline's facilities across the nation will be closed. The airline did not say how many employees it would lay off but said the number would probably be in the thousands.
Rick Newman explored how airline mergers will affect passengers.
NRG Energy Seeks to Buy Calpine
NRG Energy, Texas's second-biggest power company, is seeking to become the country's largest electricity producer with an unsolicited $9.6 billion offer to buy Calpine Corp. Calpine, based in San Jose, Calif., is the nation's largest producer of electricity from gas-fired plants. NRG's interest in Calpine may stem from that focus on burning natural gas, which produces fewer carbon emissions, often cited as a cause of climate change.