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Stocks little changed...Jobless claims fall to 43-year low...Home construction jumps

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NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks are mixed in early trading on Wall Street, with the Dow Jones industrial average slightly lower and the Standard & Poor's 500 index and the Nasdaq composite slightly higher. Energy companies are rising along with the price of oil. Wal-Mart is falling after it reporting disappointing sales in the third quarter.

WASHINGTON (AP) — The number of people seeking U.S. unemployment benefits has fallen to its lowest level since 1973. The Labor Department says applications for unemployment aid dropped by 19,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 235,000. The less volatile four-week average fell to 253,500.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Strong demand has spurred a jump in home construction. The Commerce Department says builders last month broke ground on the most new homes in nine years. Home construction soared 25.5 percent to a seasonally adjusted 1.3 million in October, the biggest gain since July 1982. Single-family home construction rose 10.7 percent, while apartment construction jumped 75 percent, the biggest gain in five years.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Long-term mortgage rates are higher this week, reflecting steep declines in U.S. government bond prices following Donald Trump's election victory. Mortgage giant Freddie Mac says the average for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage jumped to 3.94 percent from 3.57 percent last week. That put the benchmark rate close to its year-ago level of 3.97 percent. The 15-year fixed-rate mortgage rose to 3.14 percent from 2.88 percent.

WASHINGTON (AP) — There's still not much sign of inflation, even though rising energy costs pushed consumer prices up in October. The Labor Department says its consumer price index rose 0.4 percent last month, the most since April. Energy prices were up 3.5 percent, led by a 7 percent hike in gasoline prices. Core inflation, which strips out volatile food and energy costs, rose a modest 0.1 percent. Over the past year, consumer prices are up 1.6 percent — below the Federal Reserve's annual inflation target of 2 percent.

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