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Stocks flat...Jobless claims dip...Wholesale prices, mortgage rates rise



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NEW YORK (AP) — Stock indexes are about flat in early trading on Wall Street. Technology companies are rising, as are big retail chains and other consumer-focused stocks. Target jumped after the retailer reported that its sales and customer traffic grew and raised its second-quarter forecasts. Delta Air Lines fell after reporting a smaller profit and less revenue than analysts expected.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Fewer Americans applied for jobless aid last week, as the number of people seeking benefits has stayed near historic lows pointing to a robust job market. The Labor Department says weekly unemployment applications fell by 3,000 to a seasonally-adjusted 247,000. The less volatile four-week average rose by 2,250 to 245,750.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Inflation at the wholesale level remained muted in June. The Labor Department says its producer price index, which measures prices before they reach consumers, rose 0.1 percent last month after being flat in May. The index was up 2 percent in June from a year earlier. Most of the increase came from rising prices for services, including a 4 percent jump in the cost of investment services.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Long-term mortgage rates are higher for the second straight week. Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac says the rate on 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages increased to an average 4.03 percent this week from 3.96 percent last week. It's the first time since May that the benchmark rate has topped 4 percent. The rate on 15-year, fixed-rate home loans rose to 3.29 percent last week from 3.22 percent.

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. prosecutors have charged more than 400 people with taking part in health care fraud and opioid scams that totaled $1.3 billion in false billing. Officials say those charged include more than 120 people involved in prescribing and distributing narcotics. Among those charged are six Michigan doctors accused of a scheme to prescribe unnecessary opioids. Attorney General Jeff Sessions says nearly 300 health care providers are being suspended or banned from participating in federal health care programs.

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The Associated Press

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