The Labor Department reports jobless claims dropped to a 40-year low; IKEA recalls dressers that tip over and have killed children. Here are the top news stories for July 23, 2015.
Jobless Claims Reach 40-Year Low
The Labor Department Thursday reported that the number of Americans filing new applications for unemployment benefits dropped to a level not seen in more than 40 years. The claims for benefits for the week ending July 18 was 255,000, the lowest number since November of 1973. The numbers are significant but not without warning, since summer job numbers do fluctuate as a result of automakers shutting down assembly plants to retool. The four-week moving average of claims, which is considered a better measure of labor market trends, fell 4,000 to 278,500, but remained below the key 300,000 mark for the 17th straight week.
AmEx Reports Second-Quarter Profits
American Express Co. posted solid second-quarter profit numbers, exceeding analysts’ expectations, thanks to a drop in expenses. The largest credit-card issuer based on purchases, AmEx reported net income of $1.47 billion, or $1.42 per share, over the prediction of analysts of a profit of $1.32 per share. The net income numbers were well below the $1.53 billion from a year ago. Last year, AmEx reported a $626 million second-quarter gain from the sale of a 50 percent stake in its business travel division. This year the company is working to overcome the loss of the company’s partnership with Costco. Caesar’s Plummeting
Caesars Entertainment Corp. could be moving closer to joining its operating unit in bankruptcy thanks to a federal judge decision not to protect the casino company from creditor lawsuits that are seeking up to $11 billion. The bankruptcy judge in Chicago denied a Caesar’s request to stay four lawsuits by hedge fund creditors who are owed billions by Caesar’s operating unit. Caesars Entertainment Operating Co. Inc. filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy earlier this year. The hedge fund operators said Caesars guaranteed its debts.
IKEA Recalls Dressers
Approximately 27 million IKEA chests and dressers have been recalled by the company because they can tip over if they are not anchored to walls. The retailer and the Consumer Protection Safety Commission made a joint announcement Wednesday after two children died as a result of the MALM chests falling on them in 2014. IKEA says it knows of three other reports dating back as far as 1989 of deaths from tip-overs involving other models of IKEA chests and drawers. Consumers are not being told to return the furniture, but are being told to order and receive a free wall anchoring kit. The CPSC says a child dies in the United States ever two weeks from furniture tipping over.
The Volcker Rule Is Turned On
Five years after it was scheduled to be implemented, the Volcker Rule finally went into effect Wednesday. The Volcker Role, part of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010, is meant to restrict big U.S. banks from making risky speculative bets with funds from their own accounts through proprietary trading. The rule, named after former Federal Reserve Cahir Paul Volcker, who led the charge for banking reforms, was delayed by Congressional holdups until Wednesday. Apparently, most big banks have changed their behaviors in advance of the Volcker Rule and have killed the practices it was created to prevent.
Alzheimer Drug Revealed
At the Alzheimer’s Association International conference in Washington, D.C. Wednesday, British researchers announced a new drug that could help slow down the march of Alzheimer’s. Results on a drug named solanezumab reportedly can slow down the condition if given to patients early in the onset. Dr. Eric Karran, director of research at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said the drug had a “significant benefit’’ for people with a mild form of the disease but is not considered a cure. It will still be several years before the drug is available to patients due to regulatory approval.