Gauge of US economy's future health up in April
WASHINGTON (AP) — A measure of the U.S. economy's future health rose solidly in April, buoyed by a sharp rise in applications to build homes and a better job market.
The Conference Board said Friday that its index of leading indicators increased 0.6 percent last month to a reading of 95. That followed a 0.2 percent decline in March.
The index is intended to signal economic conditions three to six months out.
Unemployment falls in 40 US states, rises in 3
WASHINGTON (AP) — Solid hiring helped lower unemployment rates in 40 U.S. states last month, the most since November. The declines show the job market is improving throughout most of the country.
The Labor Department said Friday that unemployment rates increased in only three states: Louisiana, Tennessee and North Dakota. Rates were unchanged in seven states.
California, New York and South Carolina all reported the largest unemployment rate declines in April. Each state's rate fell by 0.4 percentage points.
Transocean shareholders oust chairman
NEW YORK (AP) — Transocean Ltd. shareholders have voted out the oil drilling company's chairman and backed one of Carl Icahn's director nominees.
But the oil driller said Friday that its stockholders decided against the billionaire investor's proposal for a $4 dividend.
Under intense pressure from Icahn, J. Michael Talbert had already said that he would retire as chairman by November. He had been Transocean's CEO from 1994 to 2002 and served three terms as chairman before Friday's ouster.
Pew survey questions Gen X, baby boomer savings
NEW YORK (AP) — A research report by the Pew Charitable Trusts says younger baby boomers and Generation Xers face an uncertain retirement because of reduced savings, high levels of debt, and losses during the Great Recession.
The study found that members of Generation X, who are now between 38 and 47 years old, lost almost half their wealth between 2007 and 2010. Young baby boomers, who are between 48 and 57, lost more money but a smaller portion of their overall wealth. The report says both of those groups are struggling to save enough money for retirement and are lagging older groups in terms of their savings. They also hold more debt than those groups did at similar points in their lives.
The report is based on the Survey of Consumer Finances, which is conducted every three years by the Federal Reserve, and the Panel Study of Income Dynamics, which has followed a group of families since 1968. It takes into account financial assets like savings accounts and retirement accounts, nonfinancial assets like business properties, and home equity minus debt.
Energy Department backs Texas LNG export plan
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Energy Department on Friday conditionally approved a Texas company's proposal to export liquefied natural gas, only the second such project allowed to move forward amid a production boom that has led to glut of domestic natural gas.
The action would allow Freeport LNG Expansion L.P. to export up to 1.4 billion cubic feet of liquefied natural gas per day from its terminal near Freeport, Texas, south of Houston. The DOE said granting such a permit for shipments to countries that do not have free trade agreements with the U.S. was in the public interest.
Freeport is the second export project to win Energy Department authorization, following the Sabine Pass LNG Terminal in Cameron Parish, La.
By The Associated Press(equals)
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 121.18 points, or 0.8 percent, to 15,354.40. The Standard & Poor' 500 index rose 17 points, or 1 percent, to 1,667.47. The Nasdaq composite climbed 33.72 points, or 1 percent, to 3,498.97.
Benchmark oil for June delivery rose 86 cents to close at $96.02 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, a benchmark for many international oil varieties, was up 86 cents to finish at $104.64 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange in London.
Wholesale gasoline rose 2 cents to end at $2.91 a gallon. Heating oil added 3 cents to finish at $2.94 a gallon. Natural gas gained 12 cents to end at $4.06 per 1,000 cubic feet.
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