Jobless claims down slightly
New applications for unemployment benefits dropped last week from a seven-year high, the Labor Department said Thursday, though they remain at elevated levels that indicate recession.
Initial claims for jobless benefits dropped 20,000 to a seasonally adjusted 478,000, the department said, the same level that Wall Street economists expected.
The department said Hurricanes Ike and Gustav were responsible for adding about 20,000 claims on a seasonally adjusted basis. That's down from approximately 45,000 the previous week.
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The four-week average, which smoothes out fluctuations, rose to 482,500, the highest since October 2001. The number of Americans continuing to claim unemployment benefits rose to 3.66 million, above analysts' estimates of 3.6 million. That's the highest total in more than five years. Associated Press
International Speedway Corp., the largest U.S. auto-racetrack operator, said third-quarter profit surged fourfold on an additional race in NASCAR's top series. The company's full-year profit and sales forecast trailed analysts' estimates.
Net income for the three months through Aug. 31 was $38.8 million, or 79 cents a share, compared with $9.52 million, or 18 cents, a year earlier, the Daytona Beach, Fla.-based company said Thursday in a statement. Revenue rose 9 percent to $213.2 million. Seven analysts, on average, predicted $208 million in a Bloomberg survey. Bloomberg News
Prudential Financial Inc., the second-biggest U.S. life insurer, said operating profit at its financial services businesses fell in the third quarter on charges related to its annuities operations.
After-tax adjusted operating income for the financial services businesses was probably $275 million to $375 million, or 67 cents to 90 cents a shares, the Newark, N.J.-based insurer said today in a statement.
The company had similar income of $905 million, or $1.97, in the year-earlier period.