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    Network and video-systems maker Arris Group (ARRS) on Wednesday unveiled an agreement to acquire for £1.4 billion U.K.'s Pace PLC (PCMXF), a deal that will allow Arris to benefit from upstart video services and relocate abroad to cut taxes. Arris would pay the bulk of the 426.5 pence-per-share price in stock, with just under a third in cash, to create a company with revenue of about $8 billion.

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    The average rate for the benchmark 30- year fixed-rate mortgage declined to 3.65% in the week that ended April 23 from 3.67% in the prior week, Freddie Mac said Thursday. That's "positive news for potential homebuyers in the market this spring," said Len Kiefer, Freddie's deputy chief economist. The 15- year averaged 2.92%, down from 2.94%.

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    - New U.S. single-family home sales in March recorded their biggest drop in more than 1-1/2 years, snapping three straight months of hefty gains, in a temporary setback for the housing market. The Commerce Department said on Thursday sales declined 11.4 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 481,000 units.

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    The flash reading of the Markit manufacturing purchasing managers index fell in April to 54.2 from 55.7 in March. Survey respondents generally cited soft international markets for the decline. The flash estimate is typically based on approximately 85%-90% of total PMI survey responses each month, and any reading above 50 indicates improving conditions.

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    Brace for Greece sliding into limbo. LONDON-- Investors have had to grapple with the prospect of a "Grexit" and a "Grexident"-- and now there's also the "Grimbo" to deal with. Citigroup has just added a new word to the crisis lexicon, warning that Greece could fall into financial limbo-- a "Grimbo"-- if Athens fails at securing more money from its international lenders and the reform negotiations remain deadlocked.

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    - Growth in the U.S. manufacturing sector dipped more than expected in April, with factory activity showing the slowest momentum since January, according to an industry report released Thursday.

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    * Investors hesitant to jump back into U.S. bonds * U.S. yields had early fall on weak overseas factory data * U.S. to sell $18 bln 5-year inflation-protected notes By Richard Leong NEW YORK, April 23 - U.S. Treasuries yields were little changed on Thursday with benchmark yields hovering near 3-1/2 week highs after a broad selloff in Treasuries, German Bunds and British Gilts on Wednesday.

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    * Weekly jobless claims increase 1,000 to 295,000. * Four-week average of claims below 300,000 for fourth week. * New home sales fall 11.4 percent in March. By Lucia Mutikani. The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment aid edged up last week for a third straight week, but the underlying trend continued to point to solid momentum in the labor market.

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    WASHINGTON-- Few Americans recently filed for jobless benefits, according to government data released Thursday, signaling that employers aren't laying off many workers, a trend that may buck up some who were disappointed by the weak job growth seen in March. The number of people who applied for regular state unemployment-insurance benefits ticked up by 1,000 to 295,000 in the week that ended April 18, the Labor Department reported. Earlier this year, weekly jobless claims...

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    The number of Americans filing new claims for jobless benefits rose last week for a third straight week, but the underlying trend continued to point to a solidly improving labor market. Initial claims for state unemployment benefits increased 1,000 to a seasonally adjusted 295,000 for the week ended April 18, the Labor Department said on Thursday.

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    The number of people who applied for regular state unemployment-insurance benefits ticked up 1,000 to 295,000 in the week that ended April 18, signaling a low level of layoffs, according to government data released Thursday. Economists polled by MarketWatch had expected jobless claims to decline to 288,000 from 294,000 in the prior week. The average of new claims over the past month, a less volatile figure than the weekly data, rose by 1,750 to 284,500, the U.S.

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    The U.S. federal funds rate, which banks charge each other to borrow their excess reserves, averaged 0.13 percent on Wednesday for an eighth straight day, Fed data released early Thursday showed. The fed funds rate, which the Federal Reserve targets to achieve its rate objective, traded in a range of 0.05 percent to 0.3125 percent, compared with 0.06 percent to 0.3125 percent range on Tuesday.

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    Sections of the U.S. financial system that may be vulnerable to investor panic are raising concerns inside the Federal Reserve, as policymakers preparing for the first interest-rate hike in nearly a decade seek to ensure that the market is ready and able to handle it whenever it happens.

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    It is hard to confuse a 40- ton excavator with a crystal ball. But forecasters could do worse than tracking retail sales of the huge, yellow machines sold by Caterpillar Inc.. Being the largest seller of equipment used to build stuff or extract the stuff from the ground used to build that stuff, Caterpillar's (CAT) customers' appetite is a sort of macroeconomic early-warning system.

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    U.S. senators on Wednesday backed tough rules against currency manipulation by trading partners as part of a package of trade bills key to sealing a Pacific trade pact. The rules backed would punish currency cheating with import duties, despite warnings from the U.S. Treasury that such a move could open the door to retaliation against the United States.

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    It has become increasingly difficult for Americans to climb the economic ladder, says Joseph Stiglitz, a Nobel-prize winning economist. The U.S. has one of the highest levels of income inequality among its peers and is among the worst in offering equal opportunities for advancement, said Stiglitz, who spoke Tuesday in New York City. "The American Dream is a myth," said Stiglitz.

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    One of my friends (also a client of mine) owns a roughly 100-person manufacturing firm, and he has noticed something over the past few years. “I walk into my warehouse,” he recently told me, “and I feel like my employees are looking at me differently. Sometimes I feel like they hate me.” Hate him? Let’s hope not. He seems to be a good boss, he has run a good company for many years, and that company provides good jobs. But he’s not the only employer in my network who has told me a similar story. Some business owners feel a little under siege.  Maybe it’s because they’re paying themselves too much. That’s the notion Hillary Clinton put forth last week when she lamented that American families are still facing financial hardship at a time “when the average CEO makes about 300 times what the average worker makes.” A similar sentiment came through when President Obama referred to bankers on Wall Street as “fat cats” and protests broke out around the country against the so-called “one-percenters.” A number of Republicans have supported the notion that the richest Americans should fork over a larger share of the country’s tax revenue, too. As a result, those making more than $250,000 per year have been singled out as “wealthy” and face the prospect of higher taxes. Employees read the news and watch television. In some cases, they look at their employers as a member of that “wealthy” club, whether that title is really appropriate or not. Many agree with the politicians who support legislation restricting CEO pay or compensation. What most politicians and employees don’t know about are the challenges and the risks those employers took to build their businesses. The employees just watch their bosses drive off at the end of the day in a nice car to a nice house in the suburbs. Some, naturally, resent this.  Related: Why the minimum wage battle divides small business ownersAt the same time, maybe employers aren’t paying their employees enough. The minimum wage is still at $7.25 an hour, but the federal government (and by extension, its contractors) is paying $10.10 an hour. Meanwhile, many cities have increased their maximum wages to as much as $15 per hour, and the president and other political leaders have called on executives at larger companies to pay their employees more — or, as the president likes to put it, to “give America a raise.”At the same time, for many employers, your full-time employees are suddenly entitled to health coverage paid by you and are resenting that this wasn’t the case before the Affordable Care Act. Or perhaps you can’t afford to offer paid sick or parental leave, but now your city or state is requiring it — and as the issue grows into a national debate, your employees are wondering why you haven’t offered this important benefit in the past.If you’re like most small business owners, you appreciate your workers and recognize their value.  You would like to give bigger raises and offer better benefits.  But you can’t increase your prices in this still sluggish economic environment.So, the message out of Washington — and in many cases, from state and local officials — is that you’re paying yourself too much and you’re not paying your employees enough. On top of that, you’re not providing them enough benefits and you’re not giving them enough paid time off.No wonder they’re starting to get disgruntled. No wonder some may start to resent — even hate — you. Gene Marks owns the Marks Group, a Bala Cynwyd, Pa., consulting firm that helps clients with customer relationship management.




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    The top Democrat on the U.S. House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee said on Wednesday he will offer an alternative to legislation to speed trade deals through Congress when lawmakers debate the bill on Thursday. Michigan's Sander Levin said his proposal would put a massive Pacific trade pact "on the right track" and provide a path for a deal that could get broad, bipartisan support.

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    Some consumers show no loyalty and go back to gas guzzlers. Car buyers are swapping hybrid and electric cars for gas-guzzling SUVs at a higher rate than ever before, car-buying site Edmunds.com said this week. The culprit for that lack of loyalty toward hybrids and EVs?