Money Daily Brief: Jobless claims rise; personal income also up

Jobless claims rose last week; personal income and expenditures increased during August.

A couple shops together at a farmer's market on Wednesday. Disposable income rose during August by .1 percent.

Updated 9:45 EDT (13:45 UTC)

American jobless claims up: After a three week decline, initial jobless claims increased by 17,000 last week to 551,000. Total insured unemployment dropped by 70,000 to 6,090,000 for the week ending Sept. 19, the last week for which information is available.

US personal income, outlays rise: Personal income and expenditures increased by .2 percent ($19.3 billion) and 1.3 percent ($129.6 billion), respectively, in August. Disposable income also increased by .1 percent ($15.5 billion). Personal income has risen in four of the last five months, although only once more than .2 percent.

Latest acquisitions: Shares of Tandberg ASA soared on news that Cisco Systems was digging $3 billion out of its deep pockets to buy the Norwegian video conference company. Separately, inside sources said US cable giant Comcast is negotiating to buy up about half of NBC Universal. In another step in its restructuring, Citigroup completed the $8.7 billion sale of its Japanese brokerage to Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp. The Japanese bank is the first to buy a major brokerage in Japan, signaling a realignment in Japan's financial sector.

•Factory recovery: Russia's manufacturing sector grew for the first time in 14 months, while a Chinese government index showed continued and sustainable manufacturing growth in the People's Republic.

•IMF's crystal ball: The International Monetary Fund's global economic forecast envisions China and India leading the way out of global recession. Their economies next year should grow by 9 and 6.4 percent, respectively, while the United States may top 1.5 percent in one of the most optimistic prognoses yet. The agency is concerned that US government debt "could become unsustainable."

•Fed chairman to Congress: Ben Bernanke called for stronger regulation and consumer protections in prepared remarks for his testimony to Congress Thursday.

•In my backyard: It would have been the world's third-largest cellphone multinational, with huge growth potential as Africa's economies expand, but it was not meant to be. Merger talks between India's Bharti Airtel and South Africa's MTN – Africa's largest telecom – collapsed, with Bharti Airtel officials accusing the South African government of interfering on protectionist grounds.

Drew Hinshaw is a Monitor contributor in Accra, Ghana. For a look at the struggles of America's smallest firms, see Small business posts top job losses again, ADP says.

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