Eckert Seamans expands to Newark, N.J., office
Law firm Eckert Seamans Cherin & Mellott has opened an office in Newark, N.J. The Downtown-based firm said it added nine lawyers from New York firm McGivney & Kluger, one of whom will be based in Newark. Seven others will be based in Eckert's Boston office and one in its White Plains, N.Y. office. Another Eckert attorney will move to the Newark office immediately and the firm plans to expand staff there, said spokeswoman Kate Cromie. Eckert has 360 attorneys in 11 offices.
Huntington Bank warns of possible online trouble
Columbus, Ohio-based Huntington Bank said Thursday that some customers could be having trouble accessing their bank accounts online, possibly because of a cyber attack. "We apologize for the inconvenience and appreciate your patience," the bank said in a posting on its Facebook page.
U.S. jobless claims drop to 5-year low of 330,000
The number of Americans seeking unemployment aid fell last week to the lowest level in five years. The Labor Department said Thursday that weekly unemployment benefit applications dropped 5,000 to a seasonally adjusted 330,000. That's the fewest since January 2008. The four-week average, a less volatile measure, fell to 351,750. That's also the lowest in nearly five years.
Average 30-year mortgage rate rises to 3.42%
Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday that the average rate on the 30-year fixed loan increased to 3.42 percent from 3.38 percent last week. That's still near the 3.31 percent rate reached in November, the lowest in records dating to 1971. The average on the 15-year fixed mortgage increased to 2.71 percent from 2.66 percent last week. The record low is 2.63 percent.
Measure of future growth up 0.5% in December
The Conference Board said Thursday that its index of leading indicators rose 0.5 percent in December, the best showing since September. Five of the 10 indicators that make up the index were positive factors in December. Consumers' dim outlook for business conditions and weaker expectations for manufacturing orders held back the index.
Toyota, BMW working on new battery technology
Toyota Motor Corp. and BMW Group are working together on next-generation batteries for green vehicles called "lithium-air." But both sides said Thursday the partnership will not involve a capital alliance. The Japanese and German automakers aim to complete a fuel-cell vehicle system by 2020. The technology, which other automakers are also working on, will allow a major part of the battery's energy-making process to come from the oxygen in air.
Sony fined in U.K. over PlayStation cyberattack
British regulators have fined Sony 250,000 pounds ($396,100) for failing to prevent a 2011 cyberattack on its PlayStation Network that put millions of users' personal information -- including names, addresses, birth dates and account passwords -- at risk. Sony, which has previously apologized for the data breach, said Thursday it "strongly disagrees" with the ruling and plans to appeal.
From staff and wire reports