Stocks open higher…Jobless claims jump…Home sales rebound slightly…Mortgage rates down again

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks are edging higher in early trading on Wall Street, building on yesterday’s gains. Stocks moving higher include Best Buy, Dollar Tree and Limited Brands, which all reported good earnings. Sears Holdings fell after reporting a wider quarterly loss as sales slumped at Sears and Kmart stores.

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Labor Department says the number of people seeking unemployment benefits jumped last week, but remained at a level that suggests hiring should remain steady. Applications rose 28,000 to a seasonally adjusted 326,000. The increase comes after applications fell to their lowest level since May 2007 two weeks ago. The less volatile four-week average, which reached a seven-year low last month, dipped 1,000 to 322,500.

WASHINGTON (AP) — There’s been a slight rebound in sales of existing homes, but the pace remains well below last year’s level. The National Association of Realtors says sales in April rose 1.3 percent from March to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.65 million. Much of the increase was concentrated in the volatile condominium market, which experienced growth of 7.3 percent. Sales of single-family homes were up just 0.5 percent last month.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Average rates on fixed mortgages are down for a fourth straight week. Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac says the average rate for a 30-year loan declined to 4.14 percent this week from 4.20 percent last week. The average for the 15-year mortgage eased to 3.25 percent from 3.29 percent.

WASHINGTON (AP) — A gauge of the economy’s future health is showing evidence of stronger growth after a severe winter dampened activity. The Conference Board says its index of leading indicators increased 0.4 percent in April following an upwardly revised 1 percent gain in March. The strength in April was led by improving housing and financial market conditions.

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