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Facebook finds $1 billion friend

posted 10 Apr 2012, 03:58 by Mpelembe   [ updated 10 Apr 2012, 03:59 ]

Summary of business headlines: Facebook to pay $1 billion for Instagram; AOL sells patents to Microsoft for $1 billion; Wall Street sees biggest drop in a month as March jobs data add to global economic jitters.

USA-USCLOSE - Facebook is buying Instagram for $1 billion in cash and stock. Instagram, the company behind a popular photo-sharing application for smartphones, has 30 million users since launching a little over a year ago. And it's those millions of eyeballs, which caught the attention of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. This is Facebook's biggest acquisition to date.

Meanwhile, Microsoft is acquiring more than $1 billion worth of patents from AOL, although AOL was quiet on what those patents are for. Analysts were surprised AOL was able to get that much.

Those deals were welcomed on Wall Street, but not enough for investors to overlook the disappointing jobs report released Friday when markets were closed. Only 120,000 new jobs were created in March and the unemployment rate dropped to a three-year low of 8.2 percent, but that's because discouraged Americans stopped looking for work.

The report is adding to fears the global economy is fizzling in the same way it did last year.

ICAP managing director Kenneth Polcari:


"There's more concern, once again, over a slowing global economy starting out of Asia, moving into Europe and then once again you got the whole Spanish, Italian, Portugal bond issue that raise some concern last week and then certainly on Friday you had the non-farm payrolls number, which was not nearly as strong as everyone had suggested, which once again indicates kind of a slowdown here in the U.S."

With that in mind, Wall Street had its worst day in a month, extending a losing streak to four consecutive sessions.

European markets were closed for the Easter holiday.

Conway Gittens, Reuters