Jobless claims drop sharply
The first-time filings for state unemployment benefits declined by 38,000for the week ending August 1 to a seasonally adjusted 550,000, while the number of people who continued to collect regular benefits rose by 69,000 to a seasonally adjusted 6.31 million the prior week according to a Labor Department report released Thursday morning.

AIG settles $15 million charges with SEC
American International Group's former Chief Executive Hank Greenberg agreed to pay $15 million to settle civil allegations of accounting fraud, a Securities and Exchange Commission official said on Thursday.

Blackstone posts a wider loss, but beat expectations
Private equity firm Blackstone Group LP posted a higher loss, but results beat analyst expectations as the private-equity giant reported positive returns and better fund-raising at its credit-oriented and funds-of-hedge-funds businesses. For the three months ended June 30, the company lost $164.3 million, or 60 cents per share. That compared with a loss of $156.5 million, or 60 cents per share, a year earlier.

Britain 'Prints' more cash
The Bank of England today boosted the amount of funds available to purchase bonds, essentially “printing” 50 billion more pounds to boost the existing program to 175 billion pounds in an effort to help the U.K. Economy overcome the current recession. It also kept its key interest rate steady. Also today, the BoE and European Central Bank kept their key interest rates steady at record low levels of 0.5 percent and 1.0 percent as the Euro Zone economy is expected to remain weak for the rest of the year.

First fruits of Chrysler-Fiat alliance
 The first fruits of the new Chrysler Group LLC and Fiat SpA alliance may be to scrap Chrysler’s platform for building the popular 300C sedan in favor of new technology from the Italian automaker, Bloomberg reported today, citing two people familiar with the situation. The production changes won’t come until 2014 or 2015, an analyst told the news agency.

Twitter Down and Facebook's Slow
Twitter Inc., the fast-growing microblogging service, was inaccessible Thursday morning, struck by a denial-of-service attack, the company said on its status blog. Meanwhile, Facebook's site has been sluggish and unresponsive on Thursday. Read full Article here.

Comcast loses more video subscribers; profits up
No. 1 U.S. cable operator Comcast Corp lost more video subscribers than expected in the second quarter amid the weak economy and stiff competition from phone and satellite companies, but profit beat forecasts due to better cost controls and tax gains. Read full Article here.

Lenovo cuts Q1 loss on China growth; outlook cautious
Lenovo, the world's No. 4 PC brand, relied on Chinese government-backed demand boost to cut quarterly losses and was wary on its outlook, underlying the fragility of its recovery. Lenovo's results underscored how the company and rival Dell are suffering from weak enterprise demand, compared to consumer-driven Taiwan's Acer and the much more diversified Hewlett-Packard. Read full Article here.

El Paso Corp. 2Q earnings
El Paso Corp., owner of the largest network of natural gas pipelines in the country, will release its second quarter earnings.