U.S. jobless claims fell last weekThe number...

U.S. jobless claims fell last week

The number of Americans filing first-time claims for jobless benefits fell by 20,000 last week, erasing the previous week's jump that had lifted claims to a 15-week high, the government said yesterday. The Labor Department said new applications for unemployment insurance totaled 338,000, down from a revised 358,000 during the week ended Nov. 6.


In Maryland, new jobless claims were slightly down to 5,135 for the week that ended Nov. 6, from 5,170 for the week before, the state's Department of Economic and Employment Development said yesterday.

New-car labeling is proposed


The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration proposed yesterday requiring labels on new cars and light trucks that show the percentage of the vehicle made in the United States or Canada. The idea is to highlight vehicles that were largely assembled in North America so buyers who want to buy an American car can do so.

Lego to build theme park in Calif.

Ending a nine-month, high-stakes competition between the governors of California and Virginia, the Danish toy maker Lego has decided to build a 40-acre, $100 million theme park in suburban Carlsbad, Calif., rather than in Prince William County, Va., where Disney said last week that it would build an American theme park.

The Lego Family Park would create 650 part-time and full-time jobs, draw 1.8 million visitors annually, provide $2 million in taxes and pump $76 million a year into the local economy, Lego officials estimate.

Dutch insurer's profits rise

AEGON N.V., a Dutch insurer and parent of Monumental Corp. in Baltimore, reported yesterday a 15 percent increase in net income in the first nine months of the year, to 736.8 million guilders (U.S. $399 million), or 7.27 guilders a share (U.S. $3.94).

That compared with 698.3 million guilders, or 7.06 guilders a share, in the same period last year. Third quarter revenues and earnings also were higher, up about 11 percent from year-ago results.

Sony profits fell 44% in half


Sony Corp., battered along with other Japanese electronics makers by the strong yen and weak demand worldwide, said its profits fell 44 percent for the six months that ended Sept. 30.

Sony said yesterday that it earned 9.97 billion yen, or $93.2 million, for the first half of Japan's fiscal year, down from 17.91 billion yen a year earlier. Sales slipped 9.5 percent, to 1.77 trillion yen, or $16.5 billion, from 1.95 trillion yen a year earlier.