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Stocks rise...Net worth rebounds...Mortgage rates staying low

Thursday - 3/7/2013, 3:40pm  ET

NEW YORK (AP) -- The Dow Jones industrial average continues its push into uncharted territory. Stocks started higher after the Labor Department reported that the number of Americans seeking unemployment aid fell by 7,000 last week, driving the four-week average to its lowest in five years. Both the Dow and the S&P 500 are on course to log their fifth straight daily advance. The Nasdaq is also in positive territory.

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Americans' net worth is getting back to where it was before the recession, thanks to surging stocks and rebounding home prices. The Federal Reserve says household wealth amounted to $66.1 trillion at the end of 2012. That was $1.2 trillion more than three months earlier, and 98 percent of the pre-recession peak.

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Average U.S. rates on fixed mortgages are still hovering near historic lows. Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac says the average rate on the 30-year fixed mortgage edged up to 3.52 percent last week from 3.51 percent last week. The average rate on the 15-year fixed mortgage held at 2.76 percent.

NEW YORK (AP) -- Americans cut back on spending in February as cold weather and economic challenges chilled their appetite for spring merchandise. The International Council of Shopping Centers says a tally of 14 retailers finds that revenue at stores open at least a year rose an average of 4.1 percent last month. That compares with a 5.1 percent increase in January, and a rise of 6.7 percent in February of last year.

MENLO PARK, Calif. (AP) -- Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has unveiled a new look for the social network's News Feed, the place where its 1 billion users congregate to see what's happening with their friends, family and favorite businesses. The makeover will carve out more space to show the billions of photos and videos that are being posted on Facebook each month. Zuckerberg says he wants the News Feed to become more like a digital newspaper filled with compelling information tailored for each user.

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