WASHINGTON (AP) - Mary Jo White, President Barack Obama's nominee to lead the Securities and Exchange Commission, has represented an A-list of banks and corporations that could raise conflict-of-interest questions during her confirmation hearing.
White's financial disclosure form was made public Friday and includes a list of clients from her years as a corporate litigator. Among them are several Fortune 100 companies - JPMorgan Chase, General Electric, Microsoft, Hess and Verizon - Switzerland's largest bank and the world's biggest automaker, Toyota.
White says she will remove herself from any decision affecting a former client for one year after she represented them.
The Senate must confirm White before she can take office. While her former clients could draw attention, many of her predecessors also took office with clients that posed conflicts of interest.
Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt plans to sell more than 40 percent of his stock in the Internet search leader this year.
The plan disclosed Friday calls for Schmidt to sell up to 3.2 million shares. If he were to sell all that stock at Google's current price, Schmidt would realize a $2.5 billion windfall.
Schmidt ended December with 7.6 million Google shares, or a 2.3 percent stake in the Mountain View, Calif., company.
Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin are the only company executives who own more stock than Schmidt. Page controls an 8.7 percent stake and Brin holds an 8.5 percent stake.
The 57-year-old Schmidt was Google's CEO for a decade before turning over the job to Page in April 2011.
WASHINGTON (AP) - Fewer Americans sought unemployment benefits last week, indicating companies continue to hire at a modest but steady pace.
The Labor Department says weekly applications for unemployment benefits fell 5,000 to a seasonally adjusted 366,000. The four-week average, a less volatile measure, dropped to 350,500, the lowest in nearly five years. The average is low because of seasonal factors, which reduced applications sharply last month.
Weekly applications are a proxy for layoffs. When layoffs decline, net hiring typically rises.
The four-week average of applications has dropped nearly 6 percent in the past three months. At the same time, hiring has picked up: Employers added an average of 200,000 jobs a month from November through January.
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