Unemployment claims drop
For the first time since January, the number of Americans filing for unemployment claims fell in the past week according to reports from the Labor Department. The number of initial claims in the week ending July 4 fell 52,000 to 565,000.

Federal Reserve defends its independence
Federal Reserve deputy chairman Donald Kohn on Thursday defended the independence of the US central bank and urged Congress to respect the central bank's independence to conduct monetary policy. According to Kohn congressional oversight could hurt the economy and not be in the best interests of financial markets and the public.

Citigroup Gets new CFO
Citigroup announced its biggest changes in management since the start of the economic crisis as it faces intense government pressure to improve performance. The bank replaced its chief financial officer with John Gerspach. The bank has received $45 billion in aid from the government since last fall, part of which is being converted to a 34 percent equity stake in the bank.

U.S. Senate delays climate bill writing until September
The U.S. Senate has delayed the date to finish writing its version of an important climate bill until September and not in early August as it was expected. The decision raises about whether the bill will be delivered to President Barack Obama before U.N. climate talks in Copenhagen in December, Chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Barbara Boxer said today, according to Reuters.

Sprint to outsource network operations to Ericsson
Sprint Nextel Corp. has reached a long-rumored deal worth as much as $5 billion to turn over day-to-day management of its network to Ericsson. Ericsson will take over daily operations and maintenance of Sprint's voice, data, and wireline networks. It will also take on 6,000 Sprint employees.

Microsoft Bing steals more market share from Google
Microsoft Bing -- which was unveiled at the end of May -- ensnared 5.25 percent of the search market over those four weeks, according to Hitwise data. Google still maintains a healthy 74 percent of U.S. Internet search in the four weeks ending on May 27.

China increases spending for energy efficiency
China will spend $5.6 billion (38 billion yuan) from the central state budget for energy efficiency projects for 2009 to reduce emissions, the Ministry of Environmental Protection said in a statement Thursday. The amount is larger than 30.5 million yuan in 2008 and 23.7 billion yuan in 2007.

Chevron says profit gains offset by unfavorable currency exchange rates
Chevron Corp reported on Thursday that upstream earnings for the second quarter of 2009, compared with the first quarter, are expected to benefit from rising prices for crude oil, largely offset by unfavorable currency exchange rates. Upstream operations include the recovery and production of crude oil. The results represent a partial two month view of the company's results with another month still to be reported.

Court ruling keeps GM sale on track
A decision by a Federal judge on Thursday kept General Motors on track for a sale of its best assets to a new GM. Judge Lewis Kaplan denied a request by a committee of asbestos personal injury claimants for a delay. He said issuing a stay would likely lead to the liquidation of GM, Reuters reported.

Natural Gas Inventories rose less than expected
The Energy Information Administration said in its weekly report that U.S. inventories of natural gas rose 75 billion cubic feet to 2.796 trillion cubic feet in the week ended July 3, less than the 85 billion cubic feet analysts forecasted, according to Bloomberg.