Business Highlights: AMC stock frenzy, jobless claims drop

White-knuckle thriller for AMC as it sells stock into frenzy

NEW YORK (AP) — Got your popcorn? The wild ride for the summer’s blockbuster stock, AMC Entertainment, got even crazier on Thursday. The movie-theater company’s stock plunged nearly 40% in the morning after it announced plans to sell 11.6 million shares to raise cash, while warning buyers they could lose all their investment. But it erased the loss in just a few hours. After the stock sale was complete, it climbed above the record closing price it had set a day earlier, only to sink back to a 17.9% loss by the end of trading. It’s the latest stupefying, nearly unexplainable set of moves for one of the “meme stocks” that have rocked Wall Street this year.


US jobless claims drop to 385,000, another pandemic low

WASHINGTON (AP) — The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits fell last week for a fifth straight week to a new pandemic low, the latest evidence that the U.S. job market is regaining its health as the economy further reopens. The Labor Department reported Thursday that jobless claims dropped to 385,000, down 20,000 from the week before. The number of weekly applications for unemployment aid, which generally reflects the pace of layoffs, has fallen steadily all year, though it remains high by historical standards. The decline in applications reflects a swift rebound in economic growth and the job market’s steady recovery from the coronavirus recession.


Sponsors hail Naomi Osaka’s ‘courage’ on mental health

NEW YORK (AP) — A few years ago, a star athlete dropping out of a major tennis tournament over mental health issues might have been seen as a sign of weakness. Today, at least for Naomi Osaka’s corporate sponsors, it is being hailed as refreshingly honest. That would explain why so many of them have stuck by Osaka after the four-time Grand Slam champion announced Monday that she was withdrawing from the French Open because she didn’t want to appear for the requisite news conferences that caused her “huge waves of anxiety.” Osaka, who also acknowledged suffering “long bouts of depression,” received criticism by some who say the media events are just “ part of the job.


GM lifts forecast as chip shortage eases, stock hits record

DETROIT (AP) — Shares of General Motors Co. rose to record highs Thursday after the company said its efforts to manage the global computer chip shortage have worked better than expected, so it’s financial results will improve. The company said in a statement Thursday it has made engineering changes, prioritized semiconductor use and pulled some potential deliveries into the second quarter. So now the first-half earnings will be significantly better than forecasts it issued earlier in the year. GM had predicted a first-half pretax profit of around $5.5 billion when it released first-quarter earnings in May. The company also said it’s optimistic about the full year, but gave no further details.

__

United Airlines sees a supersonic future

CHICAGO (AP) — United Airlines aims to bring back supersonic travel before the decade is over with a plane that has yet to be built. The airline said Thursday that it plans to buy 15 jets from Boom Supersonic with an option for 35 more once the start-up company designs a plane that flies faster than the speed of sound while meeting safety and environmental standards. United hopes to carry passengers on the plane in 2029. The airline said the plane will reduce flights between London and the New York area to just three and a half hours and make Tokyo only six hours from San Francisco.


US average mortgage rates flat to higher; 30-year at 2.99%

WASHINGTON (AP) — Mortgage rates were flat to higher this week. The benchmark 30-year home loan remained below the 3% mark amid continued positive indications of the economy’s recovery from the pandemic recession. Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac reported Thursday that the average for the 30-year rate rose to 2.99% from 2.95% last week. At this time last year, the average long-term rate stood at 3.18%. The rate for a 15-year loan, popular among those seeking to refinance, was unchanged from last week at 2.27%. In the latest economic news, the government reported that the number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits dropped last week for a fifth straight week, to 385,000, a new pandemic low and additional evidence that the job market is regaining its health as the economy further reopens.


Stocks end lower on Wall Street; AMC sinks after stock sale

NEW YORK (AP) — Technology companies helped drag stocks lower on Wall Street Thursday, knocking the S&P 500 into the red for the week. The benchmark S&P 500 index dropped 0.4% and is now on track for a 0.3% weekly loss. Technology companies, whose pricey valuations make them more sensitive to inflation fears, were the biggest weight on the market. Microsoft fell 0.6% and Apple lost 1.2%. Retailers, hotel operators and a variety of other companies that rely on direct consumer spending also posted some of the biggest declines, as did communications companies. Etsy slid 5.4%, Tesla dropped 5.3%, Wynn Resorts fell 4.1% and Facebook lost 0.9%.


The S&P 500 fell 15.27 points, or 0.4%, to 4,192.85. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 23.34 points, or 0.1%, to 34,577.04. The Nasdaq shed 141.82 points, or 1%, to 13,614.51. The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies lost 18.59 points, or 0.8%, to 2,279.25.