Meanwhile, there's more disappointing news on the labor front. The number of Americans filing for first time jobless benefits jumped to the the highest level since February 2015 last week. The Labor Department reported that unemployment claims rose by 20,000 to a seasonally adjusted 294,000.
Kohl's (KSS) was down sharply this morning. The discount department store chain reported earnings and revenue that missed analysts' estimates for the first three months of the year. Profit tumbled 87% as sales fell for the the first time in six quarters. Kohl's CEO noted the "challenging" sales results and said the company "took the markdowns necessary to clear excess inventory."
Monsanto (MON) shares were sharply higher in early trading amid speculation that Germany's BASF is considering a takeover bid of the U.S. agriculture giant according to a Streetinsider report late Wednesday. However, Bloomberg reported this morning that Germany's Bayer may be exploring a potential offer for Monsanto.
The commodities rout has claimed another victim. Shares of Linn Energy (LINE) tanked in early trading. The energy exploration and production company said it has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection after reaching a deal with lenders to restructure its debt.
Walmart takes another aim at Amazon
Starting today, Walmart (WMT) is testing a two-day shipping subscription and building its own delivery service. The new program—which Walmart is offering by invitation only— is called ShippingPass and will cost $49 a year. Standard delivery from Walmart’s website takes about a week.
Google bans payday loan ads
Google (GOOGL) is banning some particular ads it says are deceptive and harmful. Any ads that say loans are due with in 60 days – or have interest rates of 36% or higher – will be eliminated starting July 13th. A spokesperson for the company says the goal is to have fewer people exposed to misleading or harmful products.
Middle class is shrinking
America’s middle class is getting smaller. Major cities are seeing more households going into higher or lower income groups – with fewer staying in the middle – according to a new Pew study. Middle class adults no longer make up the majority in cities, including New York, Los Angeles, and Boston. Instead they count as half of the population.
Brazil's impeachment battle
After a night of marathon voting, Brazil’s Senate is suspending President Dilma Rousseff, who faces an impeachment trial. Fifty-five senators voted in favor of the suspension, with 22 against. Rousseff is facing allegations of breaking budget rules and using the public’s money for her 2014 re-election. Rousseff denies all of the charges. The country’s vice president – Michel Temer – will be her successor.