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Stocks higher...Jobless claims shrink...Pending home sales down again

Thursday - 9/26/2013, 11:40am  ET

NEW YORK (AP) -- Coming off a string of losing sessions, stocks are higher in morning trading. Investors have positive economic reports to digest on unemployment claims and U.S. economic growth, and a negative one on home sales. The Dow had been up close to 100 points in the first hour of trading, while the S&P 500 was up about 10 and the Nasdaq about 30.

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The number of people filing claims for unemployment benefits continues to shrink. The Labor Department says applications fell 5,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 305,000. That's the second-lowest level in six years. Steady declines in applications indicate that very few companies are laying off workers.

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The National Association of Realtors says fewer Americans signed contracts to buy homes in August. The 1.6 percent drop in the index of pending homes sales was the third straight decline and possibly a sign that rising mortgage rates are starting to deter buyers. However, the latest weekly numbers show mortgage rates down. Freddie Mac says the average rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage dropped to 4.32 percent last week, while a 15-year fixed loan declined to 3.37 percent.

WASHINGTON (AP) -- In its final estimate of second quarter economic growth, the Commerce Department reports the economy grew at a 2.5 percent annual rate from April through June. While that was a significant improvement over the first quarter's 1.1 percent growth, many analysts believe growth has slowed to 2 percent or below in the current quarter.

ROME (AP) -- A U.N. report says improved livestock breeding and feeding practices could trim the industry's greenhouse gas emissions by up to 30 percent. Livestock emissions account for 14.5 percent of all heat-trapping gasses attributed to human activities, most of it from cattle.


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