Stock prices are rising on some positive earnings reports and encouraging news about the employment picture. The Labor Department says applications for unemployment benefits fell last week byl 16,000 to 339,000, the second-lowest level in more than five years.
- Trading on the largest U.S. exchange for financial options has resumed following an outage blamed on software problems. The Chicago Board of Options Exchange failed to open at its regular time of 9:30 a.m. Eastern. The CBOE says it reopened at 12:50 p.m. with trading of options on the Standard & Poor's 500 index, and trading of other options resumed 10 minutes later.
- The average rate on the 30-year mortgage is inching closer to its historic low, while the 15-year rate has broken its record low. Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac says the average rate on the 15-year fixed mortgage fell to 2.61 percent this week from 2.64 percent last week. The previous low of 2.63 percent was reached in November. The average rate for the 30-year fixed loan slipped to 3.40 percent from 3.41 percent last week. A November rate of 3.31 percent rate was the lowest on records dating back to 1971.
- Top Democrats in Congress are voicing support for a measure to roll back budget cuts that led to delays for airline passengers because of air traffic controller furloughs. The measure would erase about $200 million in cuts to the Federal Aviation Administration. House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi says she prefers to roll back all $85 billion in budget cuts, but that she could back a bill just for the FAA if the details are satisfactory. Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York says he's also open to the bill.
- The National Football League has won a court order to shut down the operators of nearly 1,500 websites based in China that it says are selling fake NFL merchandise. In a lawsuit, the NFL accuses the websites of selling counterfeit jerseys, headwear and other merchandise bearing the trademarks of the league or its 32 teams. The ruling also gives the league the ability to learn the identities of those running the websites and more about their finances.
© 2013 Associated Press. All rights reserved. Material may not be redistributed.