May 2 - Summary of business headlines: Investors encouraged by a drop in weekly jobless claims to a five-year low; LinkedIn revenues surge, but guidance weak; AIG tops forecast; Blackstone CEO blames Washington for spring's ''surprise'' economic backstep. Conway G. Gittens reports.
PLEASE NOTE: THIS EDIT CONTAINS CONVERTED 4:3 MATERIAL Summary of business headlines: Investors encouraged by a drop in weekly jobless claims to a five-year low; LinkedIn revenues surge, but guidance weak; AIG tops forecast; Blackstone CEO blames Washington for spring's "surprise" economic backstep. Conway G. Gittens reports. Wall Street bounces back from the deepest drop in two weeks with the S&P 500 rallying to a new record close. Blue chips jumped triple digits. The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq reclaimed all of the losses from the day before led by tech stocks. The latest figures on unemployment claims helped to restore confidence in the labor market ahead of Friday's key employment report. The number of Americans lining up for jobless benefits tumbled to a five-year low. As for the rest of the economy - Steve Schwarzman, head of private equity firm Blackstone Group - says he can't explain why the economy keeps slowing down in the spring, but he does have a few clues on what's hurting the economy this year. SOUNDBITE: STEVE SCHWARZMAN, CEO, BLACKSTONE GROUP (ENGLISH) SAYING: "We have a bit of a difficult economy because we aren't doing all the right things that we could to grow it. Everybody wants to grow it but people seem to have different ideas and we have a regulatory burden now that is starting to make it difficult for business people to make decisions and so why that hits at this time of the year I always find it as a surprise rather than a pattern." On the earnings front: revenues at LinkedIn surged a better-than-expected 72 percent in the first quarter and earnings topped predictions. But sales guidance for the current quarter is below forecasts. AIG easily beat Wall Street's earnings consensus, despite a 35 percent drop in profits due in part to higher insurance claims. Sales at General Motors declined, but the automaker still managed to beat revenue and profit forecasts, thanks to higher demand for its cars and trucks in North America. Shares of GM - up 3-1/2 percent for the day and up 34 percent from a year ago. Intel is going with three-decade veteran Brian Krzanich as new CEO. Investors were hoping an outside executive would be brought in to aggressively shake things up. Intel has yet to find a successful way into the fast-growing mobile computing market. The promotion received a ho-hum response from shareholders. In Europe, the European Central Bank cut interest rates and ECB President Mario Draghi says he's ready to do more. Stock markets across Europe only saw a modest bounce in response.