business news in context, analysis with attitude

With brief, occasional, italicized and sometimes gratuitous commentary…

•  From the Associated Press:

"Slightly fewer Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week, reflecting a robust job market despite rising job cuts in some sectors of the economy that have cooled in recent months.

"Applications for jobless aid for the week ending June 25 ticked down to 231,000, a decline of 2,000 from the previous week, the Labor Department reported Thursday. First-time applications generally represent the number of layoffs.

"The four-week average for claims, which evens out some of the week-to-week volatility, rose by 7,250 from the previous week, to 231,750.

"The total number of Americans collecting jobless benefits for the week ending June 18 was 1,328,000, down 3,000 from the previous week. That figure has hovered near 50-year lows for months."

•  CNBC reports that "Kohl’s announced Friday that it is terminating talks to sell its business, saying that the retail environment has significantly deteriorated since the beginning of its bidding process … The retailer’s decision to end deal talks comes as its stock price slumps and its sales decline. Kohl’s has faced months of pressure from activist investors to pursue a sale and shake up the business with a new slate of board directors. Earlier this year, it rejected a different firm’s buyout offer of $64 a share, which it considered too low. The stock closed Friday at $28.68.

"Kohl’s on Friday said rocky conditions in the retail industry and the overall economy effectively doomed the deal with Franchise Group, after it engaged with more than 25 different parties with help from bankers at Goldman Sachs."

•  The Taipei Times reports that Costco purchased the 45 percent stake in Costco's business there that it did not own for $1.05 billion US, making the local company a fully-owned unit.  The story notes that "three Costco stores in Taiwan — in Taipei’s Neihu District, New Taipei City’s Jhonghe District, and one in Taichung — were among the top 10 most profitable Costco outlets worldwide."

•  Axios reports on the likelihood of a new shortage:  "there are reports of Dijon shortages in France because of bleak mustard-seed harvests in Canada."

First sriracha, and now Dijon mustard?  Sounds like the end of western civilization to me…