WASHINGTON -- The number of people filing new claims for unemployment benefits fell by 21,000 last week, the biggest decline in seven weeks, the government reported Thursday. The Labor Department said 330,000 newly laid-off workers filed benefit claims last week after a surge of 27,000 new claims the previous week, which had been the biggest one-week jump since early 2004. Labor Department analysts attributed the improvement to fewer layoffs in the auto industry and a shortened workweek because of the Memorial Day holiday.
NEW YORK -- Wall Street firm Morgan Stanley agreed to pay $2.65 million to settle charges it sold stock in an initial public stock offering it had managed while the shares were still under what's known as a "lock-up" period, the National Association of Securities Dealers announced Thursday. The NASD, an independent regulator of Wall Street firms, said it fined JPMorgan Chase & Co. $150,000 and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. $125,000 for similar violations.
NEW YORK -- A former Bank of America broker was acquitted Thursday of most counts of improperly trading mutual fund shares after hours in what has been seen as a test case for state Attorney General Eliot Spitzer's campaign to reform the mutual funds industry. Theodore C. Sihpol III was acquitted of 29 counts, including a top charge of grand larceny. State Supreme Court Justice James Yates declared a mistrial on four deadlocked counts. He is the first person tried so far as a result of Spitzer's mutual funds industry probe.
NEW YORK -- A strong global economy gave 600,000 people an entree last year into a highly envied group: the world's millionaires. The annual World Wealth Report, released Thursday by Merrill Lynch & Co. Inc. and the Capgemini Group consulting firm, found that there were 8.3 million people worldwide with $1 million or more in financial assets at the end of 2004, up from 7.7 million a year earlier. Their total wealth rose 8.2 percent to $30.8 trillion in 2004, giving them control of nearly a quarter of the world's financial assets, said Petrina Dolby, vice president of Capgemini's wealth management practice.
-- From wire reports