Traders will be looking at the latest jobless claims today for signs that the economy is improving. Stocks closed higher yesterday, boosted by encouraging quarterly results from some well-known companies. The Dow Jones industrial average climbed nearly 62 points to 13,390.51, its first gain of the week. The S&P gained nearly 4 points, and the Nasdaq composite rose 14.
- A positive start to U.S. corporate earnings season and a sharp improvement in China's monthly trade helped boost world stock markets Thursday. Benchmarks rose after a handful of better-than-expected results from U.S. companies sparked gains on Wall Street. Benchmark crude oil was up to $93.68 per barrel. The dollar fell against the euro but rose against the yen.
- The Labor Department releases weekly jobless claims today as well as its survey on job openings and labor turnover for November. Also today, Freddie Mac, the mortgage company, will report on the weekly mortgage rates and the Commerce Department releases wholesale trade inventories for November.
- Federal regulators for the first time are laying out rules aimed at ensuring that mortgage borrowers can afford to repay the loans they take out. The rules being unveiled today by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau impose a range of obligations and restrictions on lenders, including bans on the risky "interest-only" and "no documentation" loans that helped inflate the housing bubble.
- China's trade growth has rebounded strongly in a positive sign for the recovery of the world's second-largest economy. Data on Thursday showed export growth in December more than doubled from the previous month to 14 percent. Imports rose 6 percent, up from November's lack of growth, in a sign of increasing domestic demand.
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