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Business briefs: for sale after auction fails

The owner of the Web domain failed to find a buyer in a recent auction.

Skip Hoagland, who lives in Hilton Head, S.C., tried to sell the domain name for about $250,000. He said he bought the domain a dozen years ago for $20,000 and believes the Web address has soaring value as a media domain or as a site for regional promotion.

The auction ended this past week with no one making a bid; starting bids would have been $125,000 or higher.

Now Hoagland is trying to sell the domain name without an auction. The “buy-it-now” price is $287,500. Hoagland also allows bidders to make offers for consideration.

Jobless benefits pace down to 2007 level

WASHINGTON – The number of people seeking U.S. unemployment benefits dropped to the lowest level in almost seven years, falling 32,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 300,000.

The Labor Department said Thursday that the four-week average of applications, a less volatile measure, fell 4,750 to 316,250.

Fewer Americans sought benefits last week than at any point since the Great Recession began at the end of 2007. Applications are at their lowest level since May of that year.

Applications are a proxy for layoffs. The decrease suggests that employers expect stronger economic growth in the coming months and are holding on to their workers.

Greece successful in debt market return

ATHENS, Greece – Buoyant Greek officials hailed the country’s return to the international debt market after four years as an overwhelming success Thursday, with investors snapping up the five-year bond in a sale that was eight times oversubscribed.

The finance ministry said it had raised $4.14 billion with a 4.75 percent coupon, a lower borrowing rate than the 5 percent initially hoped for.

Greece was locked out of the markets since it nearly went bankrupt in 2010, when its borrowing rates spiked upon the revelation that its public debt was much larger than previously estimated.

Letter outlines goals at Amazon

NEW YORK – CEO Jeff Bezos’ annual letter to shareholders offers a glimpse into Amazon’s internal workings and what it is aiming for in the future, including more grocery services and the much-discussed drone delivery.

In the letter released Thursday, Bezos outlined Amazon’s offerings, including its fresh grocery business called Prime Fresh, which it has offered for five years in Seattle and expanded to Los Angeles and San Francisco. For $299 a year members get same-day and early morning delivery on groceries and other items ranging from toys to electronics and household goods. Bezos said the goal is to expand to more cities over time.

March sales at Costco better than forecast

ISSAQUAH, Wash. – Costco’s sales at stores open at least a year rose 5 percent in March, beating Wall Street’s forecast.

Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected a 3.5 percent increase. Its shares rose in early premarket trading.

This figure is a key indicator of a retailer’s health. It excludes results from stores recently opened or closed.

Removing lower gas prices and foreign currency fluctuation, sales at stores open at least a year increased 7 percent. The figured climbed 6 percent in the U.S. and rose 9 percent internationally.

Total monthly revenue climbed 8 percent to $10.43 billion.


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