US Unemployment Benefits Fall Signaling Modest Growth For Economy

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NEW YORK, NY – Economy still growing: The latest data suggest the U.S. economy is on track for modest growth.

The Labor Department said Initial claims for unemployment benefits fell 9,000 to 346,000 in the week ended June 22.

Separately, Americans’ personal income rose 0.5% in May, while spending increased 0.3%, according to the Commerce Department.

What’s moving: ConAgra Foods shares rose after the company said it swung to a profit in is fiscal fourth quarter. Shares of KB Home were also higher after the homebuilder said losses narrowed in the second quarter.

Paycheck Inc., a provider of back office services, said profits were flat in the company’s fourth quarter.

Shares of DirectTV fell after the company disclosed a pre-tax charge of $25 million due to misreporting of subscribers in its Latin American business.

Shares of Clearwire fell after the Dish Network pulled its bid, just days after Clearwire recommended its shareholders back an offer from Sprint.

Accenture and Nike will release results after the market close.

European markets gained in afternoon trading. Asian markets ended mixed.

Australia’s ASX All Ordinaries index shot up by nearly 2% Thursday as Kevin Rudd returned as prime minister, three years after being replaced in the office by his then-deputy Julia Gillard.

Investors are hoping this changing of the guards will result in more tax concessions for miners, said Mike van Dulken, head of research at Accendo Markets.

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