THE JOBS REPORT: The Labor Department reported that weekly unemployment claims fell to their lowest level since February 2008. But the unemployment rate is still much higher than it was then — 7.8 percent at the latest read, compared to 4.9 percent in February 2008.
EUROPE SIMMERS: Greece reported a record-high unemployment rate. The Standard & Poor's ratings agency late Wednesday cut its rating on Spain's debt. And in Germany, economic researchers predicted the country's growth would slow.
UNDER NEW OWNERSHIP?: At least two companies jumped after reports that they could get new owners. Sprint Nextel said that a Japanese cell phone company, Softbank Corp., is in talks to invest in the company. Truck company Oshkosh Corp. rose after activist investor Carl Icahn offered to buy the company.