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Rally continues...Jobless claims decline...30-year mortgage lowest in over a year...Leading indicators gain

By The Associated Press | Posted - Dec. 18, 2014 at 8:51 a.m.



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NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks are climbing again in early trading on Wall Street, building on yesterday's big rally. The Dow Jones industrial average has been up more than 200 points this morning. Technology stocks are leading today's gains after Oracle posted better-than-expected earnings.

WASHINGTON (AP) — The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits has declined again. The Labor Department says weekly applications for unemployment benefits dropped by 6,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 289,000. That's the lowest level since late October. The less volatile four-week average declined by 750 to 298,750.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Average U.S. long-term mortgage rates have fallen this week. Mortgage company Freddie Mac says the nationwide average for a 30-year mortgage dropped to 3.80 percent from 3.93 percent last week. It is now at its lowest level since May 2013. The average for a 15-year mortgage declined to 3.09 percent from 3.20 percent last week.

WASHINGTON (AP) — An index designed to predict the future health of the economy has posted a third straight solid gain. The Conference Board says its index of leading indicators increased 0.6 percent in November, matching the revised October gain. The October reading had originally been reported as a 0.9 percent increase. The index posted a 0.8 percent rise in September. The leading index is composed of 10 forward-pointing indictors.

DETROIT (AP) — Ford is expanding a recall for faulty driver's side air bag inflators to the entire U.S. as demanded by the government. The move adds 447,000 Ford vehicles to the list of those recalled due to driver's inflators made by Japan's Takata Corp.

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The Associated Press

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