A lesson in turtles

Nicole Salomon (left) and Grace Cooper were having a ball Tuesday playing with DeBordieu, a 305-pound loggerhead turtle undergoing rehabilitation at the sea turtle hospital in the South Carolina Aquarium.

Jobless, housing data punish stock market

NEW YORK — Two glaring signs that the economy remains in a deep slump sent stocks reeling Thursday.

News that unemployment claims reached a record high and that new-home sales hit a record low forced the major stock indexes to give back all of Wednesday's gains, and then some.

Companies across a variety of industries have been slashing their payrolls by the thousands. Starbucks Corp., Eastman Kodak and Allstate Corp. became the latest major employers to announce big job cuts.

Volatility still has a grip on Wall Street. While stocks soared Wednesday on hopes that the government will take bad debt off banks' books, investors retreated in response to some reminders that it might be a while before the nation's 14-month-old recession ends, even if banks get more aid.

Aluminum maker to open S.C. plant

A new company that makes aluminum tube products said it will create 40 jobs over the next five years in Orangeburg County, the state Commerce Department said Thursday. Triumph Tube Inc also will make a capital investment of $3.5 million.

The manufacturer said it plans to market its products throughout North America to various industries, including defense, automotive, medical and sporting goods.

Ford posts biggest loss in long history

DEARBORN, Mich. — After the worst annual loss in its 105-year history, Ford Motor Co. still doesn't plan to seek government aid, but it's borrowing more money and hinting at further restructuring to brace for a tough 2009 and any surprises from the unpredictable economy.

The second-largest U.S.-based automaker on Thursday reported a $14.6 billion net loss for 2008, beating its old record of $12.6 billion set two years earlier. Ford lost $5.9 billion in the fourth quarter, but more importantly it spent $5.5 billion more than it took in, dropping its cash reserves to $13.4 billion at year's end.

Amazon's profit up due to holiday

NEW YORK — Amazon.com Inc. said Thursday that its fourth-quarter profit rose 9 percent and easily surpassed analysts' forecasts.

Amazon had called the holiday season its "best ever," and the earnings report backed up the idea that the online retailer is not being seriously hurt by cutbacks in consumer spending. Amazon said its revenue in the current quarter should be between $4.53 billion and $4.93 billion, while analysts are expecting $4.57 billion.

Report: S7 airline ditches 787 orders

MOSCOW — Russian airline S7 said Thursday that it is canceling an order for 15 Boeing 787 Dreamliner jets, Russian news agencies reported.

S7 gave no reason for the decision, the reports said. It came as the global financial crisis hits Russian companies and citizens' travel budgets. The deal was valued at $2.4 billion, and the statement said delivery was to begin in 2014.

S7 said it was still interested in the Dreamliner and was in talks on possibly leasing Dreamliners before 2014, the reports said. Major portions of the 787 are made in North Charleston.