Jobless Claims Drop Only a Bit; Productivity Gets Slower ~ The number of U.S. workers filing new applications for unemployment insurance fell slightly less than expected last week, while non-farm productivity growth slowed sharply in the first quarter, government data showed on Thursday. Initial claims for state unemployment benefits dropped 7,000 to a seasonally adjusted 444,000 in the week ended May 1, the Labor Department said. (NASDAQ:CNBC)
Expedition to Contain Oil Leak Begins in Gulf ~ A 100-ton concrete-and-steel contraption designed to siphon off the oil fouling the Gulf of Mexico was being hauled to the spot in the sea where a blown-out well is spewing hundreds of thousands of gallons of petroleum a day. Engineers hope it will be the best short-term solution to controlling the leak that has only worsened since it began two weeks ago.A boat hauling the specially built containment box and dome structure pushed off Wednesday evening from the Louisiana coast and was expected to arrive at the site of the disaster sometime Thursday. The Joe Griffin will meet up with another BP-chartered boat, the Boa Sub C, a Norwegian vessel that will use a crane to lower the contraption to the seafloor to cover the gusher of oil spewing from the seabed — something that has never been tried before at such depths. BP spokesman Bill Salvin said the drop is expected at about noon on Thursday. (CNBC)
Brazil Debt Offer ‘Safe Haven’ as Spread Below Russia ~ Brazil’s benchmark borrowing costs slid below Russia's for the first time this year as investors bet the South American country is less at risk of contagion from the Greek debt crisis than Eastern European nations. Brazilian dollar bonds yielded 2.18 percentage points more than U.S. Treasuries yesterday, compared with 2.19 percentage points for Russia, according to JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s EMBI+ index. Brazilian yields last were below those on Russian debt, which is rated one level higher by Standard & Poor’s and two by Moody’s Investors Service, on Dec. 21. “Brazil offers a safe haven for investors that are concerned about market volatility and contagion related to Greece,” said David Bessey, who helps manage more than $10 billion of emerging-market debt at Prudential Financial in Newark, New Jersey. “It’s not obvious to me that the distortion couldn’t last for a long time given what’s going on in Eastern Europe.” (Bloomberg)
E.C.B. Leaves Rates Unchanged ~ The European Central Bank left its benchmark interest rate unchanged at a historic low Thursday, as expected, as the crisis in Greece and nervousness about other overly indebted euro zone countries far overshadowed any worries about inflation. The bank, which sets monetary policy for the 16 countries in the euro zone, said its benchmark interest rate would stay at 1 percent, where it has been for a year. Most E.C.B. watchers don’t expect rates to rise until next year, and would have been shocked had the bank taken action Thursday. (NYSE:NYT)
CAAS Q1 earnings of $.34/share, $0.15 better than consensus of $.19; revenues rose 88.4% year/year to $84.2 mln vs the $67 mln consensus.
ANSS Q1 earnings of $.47/share, $.04 better than consensus of $.43; revenues rose 12.1% year/year to $136.1M vs the $130.1M consensus.
Disclosure: CAAS, ANSS