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Stocks slip...Jobless claims fall...3rd quarter GDP revised upward...Factory orders drop

Thursday - 12/5/2013, 11:49am  ET

NEW YORK (AP) -- Stocks are slightly lower in early trading on Wall Street. Traders are studying a series of mixed economic reports. Several retailers are also reporting poor results.

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits has fallen for the seventh time in eight weeks. The Labor Department says 298,000 people sought jobless benefits last week, down 23,000 from the previous week. The less volatile four-week moving average declined 10,750 to 322,250. The government issues its November employment report tomorrow.

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The U.S. economy grew faster than previously thought in the third quarter. The Commerce Department has revised its estimate upward to an annual growth rate of 3.6 percent from July through September. But almost the entire third-quarter revision in the gross domestic product was due to a big jump in business stockpiles. When inventories are excluded, the economy grew at a 1.9 percent rate, a slight decrease from the second quarter. Consumer spending was the weakest in nearly four years.

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Commerce Department says factory orders fell 0.9 percent in October, following a 1.8 percent increase in September. A big reason for the October decline was a steep drop in orders for aircraft. But core capital goods, a category that excludes volatile orders for aircraft and defense equipment, also fell, dropping 0.6 percent due in large part to a drop in demand for computers. Demand picked up for primary metals, household appliances and oil and gas field machinery.

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Average rates for fixed mortgages are up sharply this week. Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac says the average rate on the 30-year loan jumped to 4.46 percent from 4.29 percent last week, while the average on the 15-year fixed loan increased to 3.47 percent from 3.30 percent. Rates have risen a full percentage point since May after the Federal Reserve signaled it might slow its bond purchases by year's end. Rates peaked at 4.6 percent in August.

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