Unemployment numbers are seen as good news; the British royal family reports its spending numbers for the year, and a consumer group asks for safety labels on energy drinks.
Unemployment benefits fall slightly
The U.S. Labor Department reports the number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits dropped marginally last week. The numbers still point to a steady improvement in the labor market. Initial claims for state unemployment benefits slipped 2,000 to a seasonally adjusted 312,000 for the week ended June 21. The prior week's claims were revised to show 2,000 more applications received than previously reported. Economists had forecast first-time applications for jobless would dip to 310,000. The four-week moving average for new claims rose 2,000 to 314,250 last week.
Meanwhile, in Brazil…
The Brazilian unemployment figures for May did not come out Thursday as scheduled because the employees working at the national statistics agency IBGE are on strike. The employees are only striking in two metropolitan areas, Salvador and Porto Alegre, but the agency was unable to put out meaningful statistics. No announcement was made on when the statistics will come out.
Consumer Group Asks for Safety Warnings on Energy Drinks
The Center for Science in the Public Interest has asked the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to put safety labels on energy drinks because the caffeine-heavy beverages have been linked to 17 deaths in the past 18 months. Thirty-four people have died in the United States in the past 10 years after drinking beverages similar to 5-Hour Energy, Monster or Rockstar. No study has yet linked the deaths to the drinks themselves.
Alcoa Will Buy Jet Engine Company
Alcoa says its plans to acquire jet engine component maker Firth Rixson from Oak Hill Capital Partners for $2.85 billion in cash and stock. Shares of Alco were higher in pre-market trading following the announcement. Alcoa said it will pay $2.35 billion in cash plus $500 million in stock, plus an additional $150 million potential earn-out. The deal is expected to close by the end of 2014 and is expected to contribute $1.6 billion in revenue in 2016.
Barclays Backs Off Bond Offering
Barclays has pulled a $1.5 billion bond offering after it was revealed that the New York attorney general is preparing to sue the British bank for securities fraud. Barclays has already amassed more than $4.5 billion in orders for the 10-year bond offering, market sources told CNBC, when reports of the lawsuit became public. One portfolio manager quoted in British news reports said “investors just balked’’ when the news came out. Shares in Barclay traded sharply lower on Thursday morning in London.
It Is Expensive to Be Royal
The United Kingdom’s royal family spent 35.7 million pounds in the year ending March 31, an increase of 45.7 percent from the previous year, according to the sovereign grant report which details how the government’s annual funding of the royal family is spent. It cost almost half a million dollars for Prince Charles to travel to the funeral of Nelson Mandela. Another large expenditure was the 45 percent rise in property maintenance carried out by the royal estate. This included a 3.4 million pound refurbishment job of the Prince’s official home. Meanwhile, the Queen’s property portfolio posted record profits of 267 million pounds in the last fiscal year.