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Business

U.S. Employment

Applications for U.S. jobless aid edge up to 304,000
Cherie Diez / Tampa Bay Times

Applications for U.S. jobless aid rise to 304,000

The number of people seeking U.S. unemployment benefits last week rose 2,000 to a seasonally adjusted 304,000. Jobless claims continue to be near pre-recession levels despite the slight increase.

The Labor Department said Thursday that the four-week average of applications, a less volatile measure, fell 4,750 to 312,000. That average has fallen from 357,500 applications over the past 12 months. It is the lowest four-week average since October 2007, just two months before the Great Recession started.

Applications are a proxy for layoffs. The current level of claims suggests that employers are holding on to their workers with the expectation of stronger economic growth ahead.

Corporate Earnings

Video game consoles boost AMD’s earnings

Buoyed by sales of game console chips, Advanced Micro Devices’ first-quarter financial results beat analysts’ expectations on Thursday, sending the company’s stock climbing.

The chipmaker said it took a smaller loss in the quarter as sales of visual and graphics chips climbed. Revenue from its graphics and visual solutions business more than doubled compared to a year ago.

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Social Media

Facebook rolls out location-sharing feature
Facebook

Facebook rolls out location-sharing feature

Facebook users in the U.S. will soon be able to see which of their friends are nearby using a new feature the company is launching on Thursday.

The "Nearby Friends" feature must be turned on by the user, so people shouldn't expect to broadcast their location unknowingly. It will use your smartphone's GPS system to tell your Facebook friends you are nearby — provided they have the feature turned on as well.

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Software

North Texas software company moving headquarters to Austin

Encryptics Inc., a North Texas software security company, is moving its headquarters to Austin as it plans its next stage of expansion.

The company, based in Frisco, sells data-encryption software that restricts what the receiver can do with the information. It prevents forwarding, printing or saving of messages to protect the sender’s privacy.

Retail

Target expands subscription delivery service

Target is taking aim at rival Amazon by expanding a service that regularly delivers products to shoppers’ homes.

The nation’s second-largest discounter started its subscription service in September by offering 150 baby products, like baby wipes and diapers, for delivery.

Target is expanding that program tenfold by adding nearly 1,600 items, from beauty products to pet supplies to home office supplies.

Business Briefs

Business Digest: Stocks end mostly higher amid mixed earnings reports

WALL STREET

Stocks end mostly higher amid mixed earnings reports

Corporate earnings pushed U.S. stocks mostly higher on Thursday, but it wasn’t an easy ride up.

The stock market appeared set in the morning for its fourth consecutive positive open, but turned negative as investors sold shares in Google and IBM. The market heavyweights reported disappointing earnings late Wednesday.


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