Stocks continue to trade in a largely directionless pattern. Investors now await release of tomorrow's monthly jobs report.
- A good sign for the job market. The number of people applying for unemployment benefits fell sharply last week. The Labor Department reports a decline of 25,000 in new claims, down to a seasonally adjusted level of 370,000.
- There was a slight rise in mortgage interest rates last week, but not enough to make a big difference to prospective borrowers. Freddie Mac says the average for 30-year rates rose to 3.34 percent.
- The European Central Bank is increasingly downbeat on the outlook for the zone using the euro. It looks for a contraction of 0.3 percent next year.
- Apple CEO Tim Cook says the technology giant will begin to make one of its Mac computer lines in the U.S. next year. Cook told NBC many of the chips used in Apple products are already made in the U.S. and they account for a big part of the cost.
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