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Weekly jobless claims; Sears sales slide; Protests surround McDonald's shareholder meeting

More Americans filed for unemployment claims last week. According to the Labor Department, initial jobless claims rose 28,000 to 326,000 for the week ended May 17, more than the increase of 12,000 that Wall Street was expecting. The increase is still near the previous week’s seven-year low.

Sears (SHLD) reported a much wider-than-expected loss of $2.24 a share. Revenue of $7.9 billion managed to beat estimates, but was down nearly 7% from a year ago. Deep discounts and promotions failed to lure customers back to Sears stores. The company has been struggling to turn things around by cutting costs and selling assets. Sears has closed about 80 stores so far this year, and the company said it may close even more by the end of 2014.

Best Buy (BBY) also released strong earnings this morning, but its sales forecast was weak. The electronic retailer’s earnings beat expectations by $0.13 coming in at $0.33 a share, but revenue fell to $9.04 billion, missing estimates by 170 million dollars. That’s the ninth straight quarter revenue dropped for the company. Same-store sales in the US. fell 1.3% in the first quarter, and the company predicted same-store sales will decline in the second and third quarters as well.

Protesters surrounded McDonald's (MCD) headquarters in Oakbrook, Illinois on Wednesday as the company begins its annual investor meeting today. About 2,000 protesters gathered to push for a $15 minimum wage. About 100 demonstrators were arrested for trespassing. The company urged many of its employees to work from home because of traffic concerns. Protesters plan to rally today as well.

In our poll today: Have the protests at McDonald's changed how you feel about the fast-food restaurant? Vote in our poll, or leave us a comment below or on Twitter.

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