Sep 8 - Summary of business headlines: Stocks drop sharply ahead of Obama speech; Bernanke offers no clues on Fed action; Jobless claims rise; Google buys Zagat. Bobbi Rebell reports.
Stocks fell Thursday after Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said the central bank would spare no effort to boost the economy, but gave no details of any steps policy makers might take. Trading was volatile and volume was light ahead of President Obama's jobs speech Thursday evening. New data showed jobless claims rose more than expected last week. But fixing the jobs situation will be a tough task, according to Jim Awad of Zephyr Management: SOUNDBITE: JIM AWAD, MANAGING DIRECTOR, ZEPHYR MANAGEMENT (ENGLISH) SAYING : "Part of it is structural that there is a mismatch between the jobs that are available and the skills of the unemployed. Some of them are just the headwinds of the U.S. economy deleveraging, and the public sector deleveraging and the private sector, the consumer, the housing problems so the jobs picture is not good." The housing market continues to struggle despite low rates. The average 30-year mortgage hit a record low of 4.12 percent. Google scoops up Zagat, the popular dining recommendations and ratings company. The purchase puts the 32-year-old Zagat into competition with OpenTable and becomes a cornerstone for Google's local offerings working in tandem with mapping and its search engine. Twitter says it now has 100 million active users. The microblogging website attributes its 40-percent growth every quarter to members using mobile devices - not the web. The company's gearing up for an initial public offering - but says it will go public - only on its own terms. On Wall Street, the major indexes posted losses with banks the biggest losers, as Bernanke failed to offer details on the Fed's next steps. In Europe, stocks posted gains boosted by shorts ahead of President Obama's jobs speech. Bobbi Rebell, Reuters.