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Stocks flat...Jobless claims decline...Services firms register slowest growth in nearly a year

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NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks are little changed in early trading on Wall Street as investors look over a mixed batch of earnings reports from U.S. companies. Avon plunged 10 percent after reporting a surprise loss in its latest quarter. Avon also said its CEO will leave in March as the company tries to turn its fortunes around. Electric car maker Tesla jumped 7 percent after the company assured investors it can meet aggressive production targets for its new lower-cost Model 3 sedan. Banks, technology and health companies are slipping.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Fewer Americans applied for jobless aid last week. The Labor Department says weekly unemployment applications fell by 5,000 to a seasonally-adjusted 240,000. The less volatile four-week average declined 2,500 to 241,750. Jobless claims have come in below 300,000 for 126 weeks in a row. That's the longest such stretch since 1970, when the U.S. population was much smaller.

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. services firms grew last month at the slowest pace since August 2016. The Institute for Supply Management says its services index slipped in July to 53.9 from June's 57.4. It was the lowest reading since the index registered 51.7 in August 2016. Still, anything above 50 signals growth, and American services companies are on a 91-month winning streak. Production, new orders, hiring and export orders all grew more slowly in July.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Orders at U.S. factories increased in June as demand surged for aircraft. The Commerce Departments reports that factory orders increased 3 percent, a solid rebound after declining in May and April. But the gains largely came from a massive 131 percent jump in orders for civilian aircraft, a category that can be volatile on a monthly basis. Excluding the transportation sector, factory orders slipped 0.2 percent in June. Demand fell for computers and electronic products, while primary metals, machinery and motor vehicles eked out gains.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Long-term U.S. mortgage rates have barely changed this week. Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac says the rate on 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages inched up to 3.93 percent from 3.92 percent last week. While historically low, that's still above last year's average of 3.65 percent. The rate on 15-year, fixed-rate home loans slipped to 3.18 percent from 3.20 percent last week.

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