New orders for U.S. factory goods unexpectedly fell in January, posting their sixth straight monthly decline, a sign of weakness in the manufacturing sector. The Commerce Department said on Thursday new orders for manufactured goods slipped 0.2 percent after a revised 3.5 percent decline in December.
U.S. stocks were little changed on Thursday, in the wake of two days of declines on the S&P 500, as economic data did little to alter expectations on the timing of an interest rate hike by the Federal Reserve. AbbVie (ABBV.N) is to buy Pharmacyclics (PCYC.O) for about $21 billion, giving it access to what is expected to be one of the world's top-selling cancer drugs and expanding its reach in the profitable oncology field.
The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment aid last week rose to its highest level since May, but economists dismissed the increase as weather-related and said the jobs market remained solid. The reports, however, suggested some near-term weakness in economic growth. "The underlying fundamentals of the economy remain solid and there is no reason we won't continue to see the type of economic growth and job growth that we saw in 2014 continuing this year," said Gus Faucher, senior economist at PNC Financial Services Group in Pittsburgh. Initial claims for state unemployment benefits rose by 7,000 to a seasonally adjusted 320,000 for the week ended Feb. 28, the Labor Department said.