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Stocks on the rise...Jobless claims fall...Internet sales tax nears Senate vote

Thursday - 4/25/2013, 11:50am  ET

NEW YORK (AP) -- Stocks have opened higher after a new batch of strong earnings from U.S. companies and an encouraging report on the labor market. Harley-Davidson, Southwest Airlines and Dow Chemical among the companies reporting strong first-quarter results.

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Labor Department says the number of Americans seeking unemployment aid fell last week to the second-lowest level in more than five years. Applications dropped by 16,000 to a seasonally adjusted 339,000. The less volatile four-week average declined 4,500 to 357,500.

MADRID (AP) -- Spain's jobless rate has hit a record high of 27.2 percent, with more than 6 million people unemployed for the first time ever. Spain's National Statistics Institute says the number of unemployed rose by 237,400 in the first three months of the year to a total of 6.2 million people out of work. Spain has been in recession for much of the past four years as it struggles to deal with the collapse of its once-booming real estate sector.

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The U.S. Senate could vote as early as today on a bill to empower states to require online retailers to collect state and local sales taxes for purchases made over the Internet. Under the bill, the sales taxes would be sent to the states where a shopper lives. The bill passed a test vote in the Senate yesterday, 74 to 23, with 27 Republicans voting in favor.

NEW YORK (AP) -- Facebook says an independent audit found its privacy practices sufficient during a six-month assessment period that was part of a settlement with federal regulators. Facebook Inc. says it submitted the findings to the Federal Trade Commission on Monday. The audit was required as part of the social networking company's settlement with the FTC last summer resolving charges that Facebook exposed information about users without getting the required legal consent.


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