Some better news on the economy, including reports covering new jobless claims and holiday retail sales, has lent to an improved mood on Wall Street. Today's move higher comes after three days of declines.
- The euro has risen against the dollar, moving back above $1.30, a day after hitting an 11-month low. The yields on Spanish and Italian government fell, a sign that investors were less worried about the ability of those countries to pay back their debts.
- The job market is showing some end of year spirit. Fewer people are filing first-time claims for unemployment benefits. There was word from the Labor Department that the number of new claims for help has dropped to 366,000. That's the lowest since May 2008.
- A shift is being seen on Capitol Hill toward rare compromise. Congressional leaders express optimism that agreement is near to extend this year's payroll tax cut, renew unemployment benefits and to avert a federal shutdown.
- American Eagle, the regional-flying affiliate of American Airlines, may furlough 223 Texas-based pilots and flight attendants in February as the company cuts costs under bankruptcy protection. American Eagle notified Texas officials of the possible furloughs on the same day that its CEO told employees that bankruptcy reorganization will mean job losses and unpopular decisions.
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