The Commerce Department reported GDP grew 2.6% in the fourth quarter, up from last month's estimate of 2.4%. Economists had expected growth to be at 2.7%. Initial jobless claims fell 10,000 to 311,000, the lowest levels in four months.
The International Monetary Fund said it will lend Ukraine $14 to $18 billion in aid in exchange for economic reforms. The European Union and the United States will also offer aid that could bring the total package to $27 billion over the next two years. In exchange for the economic aid, Ukraine promises what the country's officials call painful economic reforms. These include raising domestic gas prices by 50%, phasing out remaining gas subsidies by 2016, and improving the transparency of the country's gas giant, Naftogaz. While explaining the economic reforms to the Ukrainian parliament, the country's prime minister said Ukraine is on the edge of financial and economic bankruptcy.
Specialty retailer Brookstone is preparing to file for bankruptcy and is expected to be bought by another specialty retailer for $120 million. According to the Wall Street Journal, Brookstone has been in talks for weeks to be bought by Spencer Spirit Holdings, which owns Spencer's and costume retailer, Spirit. Brookstone was hurt by disappointing sales, weak liquidity and debt totaling about $140 million. The companies expect to finalize an agreement over the weekend. Brookstone could file for bankruptcy as early as Sunday.
Shares of King Digital Entertainment (KING) took a beating in their opening day of trading. The maker of the popular mobile game, Candy Crush, were down 16% after the company's initial public offering on the New York Stock Exchange. Shares priced at $22.50 and were lower from the start of trading. It was the worst opening day for any IPO so far this year. There have been concerns surrounding King that it may be a one hit wonder with Candy Crush.
A regional director of the National Labor Relations Board ruled yesterday that Northwestern University football players who get scholarships are school employees and can form a union. It counters the stance by the NCAA that players are students first and athletes second. The ruling says that players commit 50 to 60 hours a week during training camp and 40 to 50 hours a week during the regular season. They are also told when to eat, sleep and train. Northwestern said it would appeal the ruling. We want to know what you think. Do you think college football players should be able to form a union? Vote in our poll and leave a comment below as well.