Sears says it expects losses for fourth quarter and year

Sears Holdings Corp.’s shares plummeted in after-hours trading Thursday after the beleaguered retailer said it expects a hefty loss in the fourth quarter and for the year as sales for the critical holiday season dropped sharply.

The dismal results raise more questions about the future as the retailer, which operates Sears and Kmart stores, faces mounting pressures from other nimbler rivals like Walmart that have lured shoppers away for years.

It also underscores the heavy challenges that Eddie Lampert, hedge fund billionaire and Sears’ chairman and CEO, faces to turn around the business..

Diamond Foods reaches settlement in SEC case

Diamond Foods Inc. will pay $5 million to settle charges by the Securities and Exchange Commission for its role in an accounting scheme.

The SEC said Thursday that it charged the San Francisco-based snack maker and two of its former executives for their roles in falsifying walnut costs in order to boost earnings.

The SEC said it has reached a settlement with the company and former CEO Michael Mendes. 

Jobless claims plunge to lowest level since November

Initial claims for unemployment benefits fell to 330,000 last week, the lowest level since November, as holiday season volatility continued to ease ahead of the government’s jobs report Friday.

The number of people filing for first-time jobless benefits was down from an upwardly revised 345,000 the previous week, the Labor Department said Thursday.

— From news service reports