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This Week's Business News

Supreme Court Limits Investor Lawsuits, Strict Standard Applied

The Supreme Court on Thursday imposed a strict standard for shareholder lawsuits seeking to recover losses from companies accused of fraudulent business practices.

Go figure.

There's more:

That decision follows another significant Supreme Court victory last year for defendants in securities lawsuits. In that case the Supreme Court blocked class actions by stockholders who contended they were tricked into holding onto declining shares.

Go figure.

Jobless Claims

The four-week moving average of initial claims for jobless benefits - i.e., layoffs - now stands at 315,000. To put that into perspective, back in June 1997 the figure was 325,000.

That's correct - fewer people today are being laid off from their jobs when compared to 10 years ago. That's despite the fact total employment currently is higher by upwards of 17 million persons.

Jobless & Hopeless

On the other hand:

The San Jose Mercury News plans to cut its newsroom staff by 17 percent next month. The new round of job cuts will be the third for the Mercury News in less than two years. The paper imposed job cuts back in November 2005 and again in December 2006. The San Francisco Chronicle said last month that it would reduce its newsroom staff by 25 percent through buyouts or layoffs.

But as Ian Faith from "This is Spinal Tap" would say it's not that the liberal media is losing it's audience - its appeal merely is becoming more selective.

Leading Economic Indicators

The Conference Board reported its index of leading economic indicators in May rose 0.3%. That was above Wall Street expectations.

Housing Starts & Building Permits

The Census Bureau reported 1.47 million new homes were begun in May, below Wall Street expectations and below April's revised figure of 1.51 million housing starts.

The number of building permits obtained in May was 1.5 million, above Wall Street expectations and above April's figure of 1.46 million. Building permits are a gauge of future home construction.

Housing starts and building permits both are substantially lower at present than the outsized levels achieved during the recent housing market boom.

Data Sources: Census Bureau, Labor Department, Conference Board, AP Wire Reports.

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