Stocks rise…Jobless claims decline…Mortgage rates fall

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks are climbing in early trading on Wall Street. Traders appear mostly pleased by the latest U.S. corporate earnings news. Among the companies whose results beat expectations were Twenty-First Century Fox, Wendy’s and coffee brewing company Keurig Green Mountain. Tesla Motors fell 9 percent after the electric car maker reported a $49.8 million first-quarter loss.

WASHINGTON (AP) — The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits fell by 26,000 last week to 319,000. The drop follows two weeks of increases that reflected mostly temporary layoffs around the Easter holiday, which can cause an uptick in layoffs of bus drivers, cafeteria workers and other school workers during spring break. Those earlier increases caused the less volatile four-week average of applications to rise 4,500 to 324,750.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Average U.S. rates on fixed mortgages have fallen for the second straight week as the spring home-buying season gets off to a slow start. Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac says the average rate for the 30-year loan declined to 4.21 percent this week from 4.29 percent last week. The average for the 15-year mortgage eased to 3.32 percent from 3.38 percent.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Government-controlled mortgage financers Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have posted solid earnings for the first quarter of the year as the housing market continued to recover. Fannie Mae says it earned $5.3 billion in the first quarter and will pay a dividend of $5.7 billion to the U.S. Treasury next month. Freddie Mac posted net income of $4 billion for the first quarter and will pay a dividend of $4.5 billion to the government. Both companies have now repaid in full their taxpayer aid after being rescued by the government in 2008.

DUBLIN, Ohio (AP) — Wendy’s is reporting a sharply higher profit for its first quarter as the hamburger chain saw lower costs and an improvement in sales. Sales at established company-owned restaurants climbed 1.3 percent. At franchised locations, the figure rose 0.6 percent. The company credits successful product promotions and improved traffic at newly remodeled locations.

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