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Thursday Afternoon Business Brief

January 24, 2013, 1:34 PM

Thursday Afternoon Business Brief

Another drop in the number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits has given stocks a boost today. The S&P 500 poked above 1,500 for the first time since December 2007, though it's since slipped below that threshold. The Dow has spent the day in positive territory, but Apple is keeping the Nasdaq down after it forecast slowing sales.

  • Apple's quarterly earnings report has sent shares in the electronics giant plunging today. Apple reports its October-December earnings were flat compared with the previous year and is forecaster slowing growth after five blowout years. Shares have fallen more than 10 percent today, though even with the decline, Apple remains the world's most valuable company.
  • Netflix stock is on its way to its biggest one-day gain since the video subscription service went public more than a decade ago. The stock had climbed 37 percent in afternoon trading after a fourth-quarter earnings report showed Netflix picked up 2 million subscribers and turned a profit during the final three months of the year.
  • Mortgage rates rose this week, but remain near record lows. Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac says the average rate on the 30-year fixed loan increased to 3.42 percent, while the average on the 15-year fixed mortgage increased to 2.71 percent.
  • McDonald's says it will be the first national restaurant chain to carry a label from a group that certifies sustainable fishing practices. The blue "ecolabel" from the Marine Stewardship Council certifies that the Alaskan Pollack used in McDonald's Filet-O-Fish sandwiches come from suppliers with sustainable fishing practices.

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