- Positive signs in the job market are boosting investor confidence. Stocks closed higher on Wall Street yesterday for a fifth straight day. But will the upward momentum continue on the final trading day of the week? On Thursday, the Dow closed up 33 points at 14,329. The S&P 500 rose nearly 3 points to 1,544. And the Nasdaq rose nearly 10 points. Futures trading suggests gains this morning.
- A positive jobs report that pushed the Dow to another record high this week and better-than-expected Chinese exports helped boost international stock markets today. Benchmark crude oil rose but remained below $92 per barrel. The dollar gained against the euro and the yen.
- The number of Americans seeking unemployment aid fell to a seasonally adjusted 340,000 last week, driving down the four-week average to its lowest level in five years. The drop is a positive sign ahead of today's Labor Department report on February job growth. Also today, the Commerce Department reports on January's wholesale trade inventories.
- Economists are predicting a slight improvement in the unemployment rate when the Labor Department officially releases its statistics today. The FactSet survey forecasts 152,000 jobs added and a drop in unemployment to 7.8 percent from 7.9.
- Facebook is infusing the focal point of its website with a more dynamic look. It will include additional controls designed to empower its 1 billion users to sort streams of photos and other material into more organized sections that appeal to their personal interests. The changes are an attempt to address complaints that Facebook's hub - the News Feed - is degenerating into a jumble of monotonous musings and disjointed pictures.
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