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Thursday Afternoon Business Brief

July 3, 2014, 1:25 PM

Thursday Afternoon Business Brief

NEW YORK (AP) - The Dow Jones industrial average has closed above 17,000 for the first time. Today's gain followed the U.S. government's report of a surge in hiring last month. The Dow rose 92 points, or 0.6 percent, to close at 17,068.26. The S&P 500 is also flirting with a milestone of 2,000. It rose more than 10 points to 1,985.44. The Nasdaq composite gained 28 points to 4,485.93. Trading closed early today ahead of the July 4th holiday.

  • The government's June jobs report shows strong employment gains last month, while the weekly report on jobless claims also reflects a healthy labor market. The Labor Department says the number of Americans filing applications for unemployment benefits edged up by 2,000 last week to 315,000, the same level as the four-week average. The unemployment rate dropped to 6.1 percent last month, the lowest rate since September 2008.
     
  • The U.S. trade deficit fell in May as U.S. exports hit an all-time high. The Commerce Department says the trade deficit narrowed 5.6 percent to $44.4 billion, helped by a jump in exports of petroleum products.  A lower trade deficit is a sign of economic growth when it shows U.S. companies are earning more in their overseas sales.
     
  • Mortgage rates are edging down again. Freddie Mac says that the nationwide average rate for a 30-year fixed loan dipped to 4.12 percent last week, while the average for the 15-year mortgage was unchanged at 3.22 percent after a big dip the previous week. Mortgage rates are slightly lower than they were at the same time last year.
     
  • Subaru is recalling more than 660,000 cars and SUVs because the brake lines can rust and leak fluid. For about half the vehicles, it's the second recall for the same problem. The vehicles affected include the Legacy and Outback from model years 2005 through 2009, the 2008 through 2014 Impreza and the 2009 through 2013 Forester. However, the recall covers only vehicles sold or registered in states where salt is used to clear roads in the winter.  (Those states are Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Washington, D.C.)

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