9:35 AM New York – U.S. indexes climbed after weekly jobless claims rose 4,000 to 367,000. Ocwen Financial agreed to acquire Homeward Residential Holdings for $750 million. Calpine agreed to purchase Bosque Power Plant for $432 million.
U.S. indexes edged higher in early morning trading and weekly jobless claims rose less than estimated and markets in Europe were mixed after central banks left rates unchanged.
Retailers also reported slower increase in same store sales in September after two months of solid gains during the back-to-school buying.
U.S. Weekly Jobless Claims Rise
First-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits rose in the week ended September 29, according to a report released by the U.S. Labor Department today.
Seasonally adjusted initial jobless claims rose 4,000 to 367,000, from the previous week''s revised figure of 363,000. The 4-week moving average was 375,000, unchanged from the previous week''s revised average.
Central Bank in Europe Hold Rates
The European Central Bank left its benchmark interest rate unchanged at a record low at 0.75% for the third consecutive month and kept its deposit rate at zero and the marginal lending facility rate at 1.5%.
The Bank of England maintained the size of quantitative easing at £375 billion and the record low interest rate unchanged at 0.5%, as expected. The current rate is the lowest since the central bank was established in 1694.
Portugal announced fresh austerity measures to rein its budget deficit for 2013 that includes lifting income taxes.
Asian Markets Trade Up
Asian stocks closed higher tracking Wall Street. The benchmark index in India jumped 1% and in Japan gained 0.9%. However, markets in Hong Kong closed flat and in Australia added 0.3%.
Australian retail sales rose 0.2% on a monthly basis in August following a 0.8% decline in July.
Separately, building approvals in Australia gained 6.4% from a month ago in August from the 21.2% fall in July.
Applied Materials to Slash Jobs
Applied Materials, Inc., the semiconductor equipment maker planned to cut approximately 900 to 1,300 positions or 6% to 9% of its global workforce to restructure its business.
Ocwen to Acquire Homeward Residential
Ocwen Financial Corporation agreed to acquire Homeward Residential Holdings Inc. from private equity firm WL Ross & Co. LLC for approximately $588 million in cash and $162 million of convertible preferred stock.
The deal includes Homeward''s various residential mortgage loan servicing and origination operating subsidiaries.
Calpine to Purchase Bosque Power Plant