AP Business NewsBrief at 9:08 a.m. EST
(Associated Press Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Claims for US jobless aid suggest modest hiringWASHINGTON (AP) _ The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits jumped 20,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 362,000, though it remained at a level consistent with modest hiring. The Labor Department said Thursday that the four-week average, a less volatile measure, rose 8,000 to 360,750, the highest in six weeks. A department spokesman said heavy snowstorms in the Northeast didn't affect the total.
US consumer prices flat in January for 2nd monthWASHINGTON (AP) _ U.S. consumer prices were flat last month, the latest sign inflation is in check. That could give the Federal Reserve leeway to continue its efforts to stimulate growth. The consumer price index has risen 1.6 percent in the 12 months ending in January, the Labor Department said Thursday. That's down from a 2.9 percent pace a year ago.
Wal-Mart outlook wary even as profit risesNEW YORK (AP) _ Wal-Mart Stores Inc. offered a weak business outlook Thursday as new economic challenges for its low-income shoppers start to take a toll. The world's largest retailer reported an 8.6 percent increase in profit for the fourth quarter which includes the crucial holiday season. But higher gasoline prices, late tax refunds and the payroll tax increase have it wary about the coming year.
US futures dip on European data, Fed minutesNEW YORK (AP) _ U.S. stock futures fell Thursday as a sell-off that began the previous day with the release of Federal Reserve minutes gained momentum on troublesome economic data from Europe. Dow Jones industrial futures fell 13 points to 13,876. The broader S&P futures gave up 2.1 points to 1,505. Nasdaq futures fell 7.75 points to 2,729.75.
Sony shows PlayStation 4 capabilities, but no boxNEW YORK (AP) _ Sony showed off what the PlayStation 4 can do, but not what it will look like. The Japanese electronics giant talked about its upcoming game console for the first time and said it will go on sale this holiday season.
Private US firms take major role vs. cyberattacksWASHINGTON (AP) _ When Kevin Mandia, a retired military cybercrime investigator, decided to expose China as a primary threat to U.S. computer networks, he didn't have to consult with American diplomats in Beijing or declassify tactics to safely reveal government secrets. He pulled together a 76-page report based on seven years of his company's work and produced the most detailed public account yet of how, he says, the Chinese government has been rummaging through the networks of major U.S. companies.
Linn buying Berry Petroleum for about $2.5BHOUSTON (AP) _ Linn Energy is buying the drilling company Berry Petroleum Co. for stock worth about $2.5 billion. Linn, an oil and gas producer, said Thursday that the deal will broaden its presence in California, the Permian Basin, Texas and the Rockies and boost its production by 30 percent. Its estimated proved reserves will be increased by 34 percent.
NY Times again prepares to sell Boston GlobeLOS ANGELES (AP) _ The New York Times Co. said Wednesday that it is putting The Boston Globe and its related assets up for sale four years after it called off a previous attempt to sell the newspaper. Mark Thompson, the Times' chief executive, said in a statement a sale would be in the best long-term interests of both properties, "given the differences between these businesses and The New York Times."
German chancellor champions trans-Atlantic tradeBERLIN (AP) _ Chancellor Angela Merkel says a proposed trans-Atlantic trade agreement between the European Union and the United States has Germany's strong backing, and would have global impact. The proposal has garnered support on both continents, with President Barack Obama saying earlier this month that the U.S. believes "trade that is free and fair across the Atlantic supports millions of good-paying American jobs."
BP civil settlement remains elusive as trial nearsNEW ORLEANS (AP) _ The U.S. Justice Department and the five Gulf coast states affected by a massive oil spill nearly three years ago have indicated they would like to settle their environmental and economic claims with BP PLC ahead of a trial scheduled to start next week. The problem is that they haven't been able to agree on the possible terms of such an agreement. Months of negotiations have failed to resolve lingering differences _ not just with the London-based oil giant, but among themselves.
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