Authors to flavor festival

Michelle Bernstein

NEW YORK -- Investors coasted Thursday, leaving stocks unchanged while they looked ahead to today for a major jobs report.

U.S. stocks rose slightly in the morning after the Labor Department said the four-week average of unemployment claims fell to 375,750, the lowest since June 2008. The more important numbers come today when the government releases the number of jobs created in January and the unemployment rate.

BB&T opens new office on University Boulevard

BB&T has opened a full-service branch targeting the North Charleston, Ladson and Goose Creek markets. The new office is at 8989 University Blvd. in North Charleston. North Carolina-based BB&T has 13 bank branches in the Charleston region.

Glitches force airline to cancel two 787 flights

SEATTLE -- All Nippon Airways had to cancel two of its first long-haul Boeing 787 flights on a new route between Tokyo and Frankfurt because of software glitches.

ANA spokeswoman Jean Saito said the airline canceled a Jan. 26 flight out of Frankfurt because of a malfunction of the flaps system, and a Monday flight out of Tokyo because of an error in the software that monitors aircraft controls.

The Seattle Times said the glitches were repaired and that the Washington-made 787s returned to service.

ANA is the first customer for Boeing's new jet, which also is being assembled in North Charleston.

Merck swings to profit; little improvement seen

NEW YORK -- Merck & Co. swung to a fourth-quarter profit because of lower restructuring and other charges and higher sales of most of its key drugs.

The world's third-biggest drugmaker forecast little improvement this year, when its top-selling drug, allergy and asthma medicine Singulair, will get U.S. competition from cheaper generic versions.

Merck said net income was $1.51 billion compared to a $531 million loss a year earlier.

Sunoco CEO to resign as refiner changes its focus

PHILADELPHIA -- Oil refiner Sunoco said Thursday that CEO Lynn Elsenhans will step down March 1 and be replaced by chief financial officer Brian MacDonald as part of a shift in its business away from refining.

Sunoco plans to restructure to focus on pipelines and its energy retail businesses. Sunoco announced the move as it reported a $660 million loss for the fourth quarter.

Bernanke defends Fed on interest-rate policies

WASHINGTON -- Ben Bernanke defended the Federal Reserve's decision to hold interest rates at record-low levels for the next three years during a contentious hearing Thursday before federal lawmakers.

Bernanke told the House Budget Committee that the Fed's plan is appropriate to combat high unemployment while inflation is stable.

Bernanke was challenged by panel chairman, Paul Ryan, a Wisconsin Republican, who said the Fed's move would risk higher inflation and hurt growth. Bernanke disagreed, saying prices have stabilized since early 2011 and the dollar has shown no signs of weakening.