Global Glance: U.S. jobless aid applications fall, GM profits more than double

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Here are today’s top business headlines from across the nation and world:

U.S. applications for jobless aid fall to four-decade low

WASHINGTON (AP) — The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits fell to a four-decade low last week, a sign that employers are unconcerned about weak economic growth in the first three months of 2016. The Labor Department says weekly applications for jobless benefits declined to a seasonally adjusted 247,000, the lowest reading since November 1973. The four-week average, a less-volatile figure, dropped 4,500 to 260,500. Read more

GM profits more than double on record North America earnings

DETROIT (AP) — General Motors’ first-quarter profit more than doubled on record earnings in North America, strong China profits and a break-even performance in Europe, earning $1.95 billion, or $1.24 per share, even after a $500 million cash investment in ride-sharing company Lyft. Read more

ECB leaves key rates unchanged

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — The European Central Bank has left its key interest rates unchanged as it waits to see whether current record lows will stimulate the tepid recovery in the 19 countries that share the euro currency. Read more

More Americans are expected to remodel their homes this year

WASHINGTON (AP) — A rising number of Americans are preparing to renovate their homes this year, a potential boost for the economy, according to projections released Thursday by Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies. The report estimates that spending on remodeling and repairs will climb 8.6 percent this year to $310 billion. The gains would bring renovations close to the 2006 peak of an inflation-adjusted $327 billion. Read more

China tells banks to lend to expand steel exports

BEIJING (AP) — Regulators told Chinese banks on Thursday to finance steel exports to help reduce a supply glut in a move that could worsen trade tensions with Europe and the United States. Beijing faces pressure from the United States and Europe to stop what they complain is a strategy of trying to clear away a backlog of steel by exporting at unfairly low prices. Washington imposed anti-dumping duties last month on Chinese steel. Read more

Southwest Airlines 1Q helped by lower fuel prices

DALLAS (AP) — Lower fuel prices and solid bookings bolstered Southwest Airlines in its first quarter, and it topped Wall Street’s profit expectations. For the three months ended March 31, the airline earned $511 million, or 79 cents per share. That compares with $453 million, or 66 cents per share, a year ago. Read more

VW reportedly to pay $1B to diesel owners, buy back some cars

DETROIT (AP) — Volkswagen, the U.S. government and private lawyers have reached a deal for the automaker to buy back some of the nearly 600,000 diesel cars that cheat on emissions tests and spend just over $1 billion to compensate owners, according to a person briefed on the matter. Read more


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