Stocks have edged higher today as investors have digested some more earnings reports and mixed economic data. The key averages have been up about 0.5 percent at midday.
- The number of people applying for unemployment benefits remained stuck near a three-month high last week. The Labor Department says new claims for jobless benefits slipped to 388,000.
- The National Association of Realtors says signed contracts, or pending home sales, rose to the highest level in nearly two years last month. Cancellation of sales contracts continues to be a drain on the market, with many prospective buyers unable to qualify for mortgages.
- Chesapeake Energy is ending a program that allowed CEO Aubrey McClendon to take personal stakes in the wells it drills as part of his compensation package. The company's board will also review loans that McClendon received from outside groups that may have done business with Chesapeake in the past. The CEO used the loans to buy his stakes in the wells.
- Chrysler reports its best quarterly profit in 13 years, marking a continued recovery from its near death three years ago. The automaker earned $473 million in the first quarter, mainly from strong U.S. sales, which rose 39 percent from January through March.
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