Stocks closed near the flatline yesterday as Wall Street looked ahead to the start of the earnings season.

The number of people who applied for unemployment benefits in early April fell below 200,000 for the first time since 1969, the latest sign that a strong labor market remains an island of strength for a slower-growing U.S. economy.  Jobless claims, a rough measure of layoffs, fell by 8,000 to 196,000. 

Uber has officially filed for an initial public offering with the Securities and Exchange Commission, setting up one of the most anticipated Silicon Valley IPOs since Facebook.  Uber did not list a targeted price for shares, putting in a placeholder target of $1 billion for the total amount the San Francisco company seeks to raise. Reports this week stated that Uber expects to raise about $10 billion at a valuation of roughly $100 billion.  It’s reported that 30 banks will underwrite the issue.

 

Georgia-Pacific notified employees at its Coos Bay lumber mill yesterday that it will close the site and lay off all of the facility’s 111 workers.  The Atlanta-based pulp and paper company said Asian competition for Oregon logs made it more expensive to supply the Coos Bay mill. And the company said the prolonged closure of Coos Bay’s swing span railroad bridge made it more difficult to ship products from the site.