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Weekly jobless claims near 7-year low; IBM invests $3B in chip research; Dish asks FCC to block Comcast-TWC merger

The Labor Department said initial jobless claims fell 11,000 last week to 304,000, near a seven-year low. Analysts expected claims to remain at the previous week’s levels of 315,000. The four-week average fell 3,500 to 311,500, the second-lowest reading since August 2007. Continuing jobless claims rose 10,000 to a seasonally-adjusted 2.58 million.

IBM (IBM) said it would spend $3 billion over five years on semiconductor research. The company plans to make microchips with smaller circuitry and more components that are faster and use less energy. While IBM plans to continue researching and licensing chips, the company signaled its intention to get out of the chip manufacturing business. IBM is reportedly looking to sell its chip manufacturing plants in East Fishkill, NY and Burlington, VT.

The venture capital arm of Google (GOOGL) is launching a $100 million fund to back start-ups in Europe. The company had previously focused on Silicon Valley start-ups.

Dish (DISH) satellite network has asked the FCC not to approve the proposed $45 billion merger between Comcast (CMCSA) and Time Warner Cable (TWC) because it would create "serious competitive concerns" in the cable and broadband industries. Dish is concerned about the amount of leverage the combined company would have in broadband service and the deals it could negotiate with programmers. Dish also expressed concern about the proposed $48.5 billion deal between AT&T (T) and DirecTV (DTV).

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