LONDON/NEW YORK (Reuters) – Exxon Mobil Corp and Royal Dutch Shell Plc posted steep jumps in first-quarter profits and beat analysts' forecasts, helped by high oil prices and buoyant refining margins.
Profits for the world's biggest oil producers have surged as oil prices moved above $100 per barrel in the first quarter on unrest in the Middle East and Africa and growing global demand for energy.
Exxon, the world's largest publicly listed company, posted a 69 percent increase in earnings to $10.65 billion, its biggest profit since the third-quarter of 2008, when oil prices last traded above $100 per barrel.
LOS ANGELES – It's Friday. Instead of spending the last day of her spring break vacation on the beach or at a theme park like so many other teenagers, Rebecca Black is recording tunes at the suburban studio of Charlton Pettus, a music producer who has worked with such singers as Hilary Duff and Clay Aiken. Rebecca realizes that this is very unusual.
LOS ANGELES – Lindsay Lohan is facing a crucial court hearing during which prosecutors will lay out some of the evidence they have to support a felony grand theft case over a necklace.
The daylong preliminary hearing Friday is expected to feature testimony about Lohan's actions and the necklace, which an upscale jewelry store reported the actress took without permission in January. Prosecutors and the store, Kamofie & Co., have said the necklace is worth $2,500, although Lohan's attorney has indicated she plans to challenge its value.
The actress has rejected two plea deals that carried guaranteed jails sentences. This week, the makers of a pair of films announced they have cast Lohan in two movies, one of which will begin production later this year.
Preliminary hearings generally end with a judge determining there is enough evidence for the case to continue, although the levels of proof are lower than during a trial.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits fell last week but held above the key 400,000 level, hinting at some loss of momentum in the labor market recovery.
Initial claims for state unemployment benefits fell 13,000 to a seasonally adjusted 403,000, the Labor Department said on Thursday, unwinding some of the prior week's quarter-end jump.
Economists polled by Reuters had forecast claims slipping to 392,000. The prior week's figure was revised up to 416,000 from the previously reported 412,000.
NEW YORK (Reuters) – Earnings could make for a bumpy ride in U.S. stocks next week if more key companies undershoot expectations, possibly causing a spike in volatility.
Disappointments from Alcoa (AA.N) , Google (GOOG.O) and others in the first week of earnings have dampened some of the enthusiasm about results, ensuring that eyes will be glued to reports in the coming days.