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Stocks finish higher...Target sees phishing scams...Shoppers see early sales

Tuesday - 12/24/2013, 3:20pm  ET

NEW YORK (AP) -- Stocks have finished higher in a shortened Christmas Eve session in light trading. The Dow industrials rose 62 points, while the S&P 500 rose five and the Nasdaq composite gained six points. Homebuilder stocks rose after the government reported that sales of new homes increased last month at a faster pace than analysts were expecting.

ATLANTA (AP) -- Target says it has learned of some incidents of scam emails related to its recent data breach. The company says it's setting up a section of its corporate website to post copies of all official communication. Target said last week that data connected to about 40 million credit and debit card accounts was stolen between Nov. 27 and Dec. 15.

DECATUR, Ga. (AP) -- Shoppers today have been taking advantage of pre-holiday sales that are normally seen on the day after Christmas. One woman who visited a CVS store in Decatur, Georgia this morning was searching for stuffed animals for her children. Heather Nadler said she still plans to hit up sales after Christmas -- when she says she'll probably start shopping for herself.

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The number of Americans applying for mortgages has fallen 63 percent since a May peak, reflecting a cooling housing market and higher borrowing rates. The Mortgage Bankers Association says applications fell a seasonally adjusted 6.3 percent last week from a week earlier. Applications are now at a 13-year low.

BEIJING (AP) -- For the second time in six months, a shortage of cash in one corner of China's banking industry has stirred anxiety in financial markets. Though tensions eased somewhat today after China's central bank provided billions of dollars in short-term funding to banks, financial market analysts are keeping a close watch on developments in China's credit markets. Because China is now the world's second-largest economy, tensions there could have repercussions worldwide.

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