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Stocks edge higher...GDP shows modest growth...Jobless claims rise...Mortgage rates up

Thursday - 5/30/2013, 11:40am  ET

NEW YORK (AP) -- Stocks are moving higher in early trading on Wall Street after updates on the economy suggested a steady recovery in the U.S. Asian markets were rattled this morning by Japan's Nikkei index, which tumbled 5.2 percent, the latest in a series of recent plunges.

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Commerce Department says the U.S. economy grew at a modest 2.4 percent annual rate from January through March. That's slightly slower than initially estimated, but much faster than the 0.4 percent growth during the October-December quarter. Consumer spending was stronger than first thought, but businesses restocked more slowly and state and local government spending cuts were deeper.

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Labor Department says the number of Americans seeking unemployment aid rose by 10,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 354,000. The less volatile four-week average also rose for the third straight week, inching up by 6,750. Still, the level of applications is consistent with steady hiring and remains near a five-year low.

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Average U.S. rates on fixed mortgages have jumped this week to their highest levels in a year, though they remain low by historical standards. Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac says the average rate for the 30-year loan rose to 3.81 percent from 3.59 percent last week. The average on the 15-year loan was 2.98 percent, up from 2.77 percent last week.

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The number of Americans who signed contracts to buy homes ticked up in April to the highest level in three years. The National Association of Realtors says its seasonally adjusted index for pending home sales rose 0.3 percent to 106. That's the highest since April 2010, when a homebuyer tax credit inflated sales. Signed contracts have jumped 10.3 percent in the past 12 months.

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