NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks are higher in early trading on Wall Street following the weekly report on unemployment claims. The Labor Department says applications for unemployment benefits edged higher last week in the latest sign of slow but consistent gains in the job market. The less volatile four-week average also ticked up after falling to a four-year low the previous week.
WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. wholesalers boosted their stockpiles in November and their sales rose at the fastest pace since the spring of 2011. The Commerce Department says wholesale business stockpiles rose 0.6 percent in November compared with October, when inventories had risen just 0.3 percent. Sales in November surged 2.3 percent, the biggest one-month sales gain since March of 2011.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Average U.S. rates on fixed mortgages rose this week but remained close to record lows. Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac says the average rate on the 30-year loan increased to 3.40 percent from 3.34 percent last week. That's still near the 3.31 percent rate reached in November, the lowest on records dating to 1971. The average on the 15-year fixed mortgage increased to 2.66 percent from 2.64 percent last week.
FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — The president of the European Central Bank says the struggling eurozone economy has shown signs of stabilizing in recent days but remains short of a turning point and will only return to gradual growth later this year. Mario Draghi (DRAHG'-ee) spoke after the bank's 23-member governing council left its key interest rate unchanged at a record low of 0.75 percent. Draghi says rates are already low enough to encourage economic growth.
NEW YORK (AP) — The New York City financial services firm that lost the most workers in the Sept. 11 terror attacks is giving a total of $10 million to 19 schools in communities recovering from Superstorm Sandy. Cantor Fitzgerald, its relief fund and its affiliate BGC Partners will donate $1,000 to each family to spend as they see fit. The schools are in Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, Long Island and New Jersey.