STOCKS RISE INTO THE CLOSE: Here's what you need to know

Stocks edged higher into the close in a mixed trading session and the dollar rallied to a three-week high versus the euro.

First, the scoreboard:

  • Dow: 17,959, +56, (+0.3%)
  • S&P 500: 2,091, +9, (+0.5%)
  • Nasdaq: 4,975, +24, (+0.5%)

And now, the top stories on Thursday:

  1. The four-week moving average of initial jobless claims is at the lowest level since June 2000. Last week, claims rose 281,000, less than the 283,000 expected. The prior week’s data was revised slightly lower to 267,000. In a note to clients, Derek Lindsey at BNP Paribas said, “The trend in claims, below the pre-recession trough, continues to impress and runs counter to the disappointment we saw in the March payrolls report, suggesting it may be too early to draw conclusions about the strength of the labour market from that one report.”
  2. LinkedIn is buying online learning company for $US1.5 billion, the company announced. The deal is a cash-stock blend and is expected to close this quarter, according to a press release. LinkedIn’s head of content products Ryan Roslanskys said its users would benefit from access to Lynda courses that would help develop the skills they need in their careers.
  3. Intel has closed talks to takeover chip maker Altera Corp in a deal worth at least $US10 billion, according to an afternoon Reuters report. The companies were reportedly unable to agree on a price. An earlier report suggested the talks were ending, sending Altera shares up to 8% lower. Business Insider’s Lisa Eadicicco reported: “The deal would have made sense for Intel — 90% of the company’s operating profit comes from PC chips. The deal with Altera would have allowed Intel to diversify its business.”
  4. Hedge fund Kamunting Street Capital is turning into a family office after bets on energy junk bonds reportedly turned sour. One of the fund’s largest investors pulled money after losing interest in their credit strategy, Bloomberg reported. Founder Allan Teh previously ran a now defunct hedge fund unit at Citi before leaving to start his own hedge fund in 2004. Oil prices have fallen about 50% since last June.
  5. General Electric is close to selling most or all of its real estate portfolio worth around $US30 billion, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter. The company is reportedly in talks with Blackstone and Wells Fargo for the transaction. GE shares rose on the news, climbing nearly 3% in the final half hour of trading.
  6. Greece made its €460 million ($US495.82 million) debt repayment to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on time. Around €2.4 billion ($US2.55 billion) in bonds mature next week and according to HSBC, the real “crunch point” where Greece may default comes May 12 when another €767 ($US817 million) is due the IMF.

DON’T MISS: Insiders say we’re about to see Wall Street do some eye-popping M&A deals »

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