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  • Average US 30-year mortgage rate at 4.13 pct. Thursday, 24 Jul 2014 | 10:40 AM ET

    WASHINGTON— Average U.S. long-term mortgage rates were stable to slightly higher this week, remaining near their lows for the year. Mortgage company Freddie Mac said Thursday that the nationwide average for a 30- year loan was 4.13 percent, unchanged from last week.

  • *Hamas sticks to demand embargo on enclave be lifted. GAZA/ JERUSALEM, July 24- Israeli forces shelled a U.N.-run school sheltering Palestinians in the northern Gaza strip, the Gaza health ministry said on Thursday, killing at least 15 people and raising the conflict's death toll to nearly 750..

  • US new-home sales plummet in June Thursday, 24 Jul 2014 | 10:05 AM ET

    WASHINGTON— Sales of new U.S. homes plunged in June, a sign that real estate continues to be a weak spot in the economy. New home sales fell 8.1 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 406,000, the Commerce Department said Thursday.

  • July 24- Southern Co, one of the biggest U.S. power companies, said it hopes to announce plans by the end of the year to build more nuclear reactors, a spokesman said late Wednesday.

  • US airlines to resume flights to Israel Thursday, 24 Jul 2014 | 9:22 AM ET

    The FAA's ban, imposed out of concern for the risk of planes being hit by Hamas rockets, became a hot button topic in both U.S.-Israeli diplomacy and Washington politics. Chicago- based United Airlines is set to resume service to Tel Aviv with a 4:45 p.m. eastern flight from Newark, New Jersey.

  • Ryan proposes streamlining anti-poverty programs Thursday, 24 Jul 2014 | 9:18 AM ET

    Paul Ryan proposed a new plan Thursday to merge up to 11 anti-poverty programs into a single grant program for states that he said would allow more flexibility to help lift people out of poverty. The Wisconsin Republican and 2012 vice presidential nominee is a respected voice within his party.

  • How states fared on unemployment benefit claims Thursday, 24 Jul 2014 | 8:58 AM ET

    WASHINGTON— Applications for U.S. unemployment benefits plunged last week, a sign that the economy is building strength. The Labor Department said Thursday that applications for jobless aid fell 19,000 to a seasonally adjusted 284,000. The fewest people sought benefits since February 2006, almost two years before the start of the Great Recession.

  • US unemployment aid applications drop to 284,000 Thursday, 24 Jul 2014 | 8:37 AM ET

    WASHINGTON— The number of people seeking U.S. unemployment benefits fell last week to its lowest level in more than eight years. Weekly applications for unemployment aid dropped 19,000 to a seasonally adjusted 284,000, the Labor Department said Thursday.

  • Ahead of the Bell: US Unemployment Benefits Thursday, 24 Jul 2014 | 6:46 AM ET

    WASHINGTON— The U.S. Labor Department reports on the number of people who applied for unemployment benefits last week. The report will be released at 8:30 a.m. Eastern on Thursday. The four-week average, a less volatile measure, dropped 3,000 to 309,000, the level since June 2007, about five months before the start of the recession.

  • *Euro STOXX 50 up 0.4 pct, FTSEurofirst 300 up 0.8 pct. The euro zone Euro STOXX 50 index was up 0.8 percent at 3,217.18 points while the broader FTSEurofirst 300 index index was up 0.4 percent at 1,381.21 points by 1021 GMT.

  • Ahead of the Bell: US new home sales Thursday, 24 Jul 2014 | 6:29 AM ET

    WASHINGTON— The Commerce Department reports on sales of new homes in June. The report will be released at 10 a.m. Eastern on Thursday. The National Association of Realtors reported that sales of existing homes increased 2.6 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.04 million homes.

  • *Hamas sticks to demand embargo on Gaza be lifted. GAZA/ JERUSALEM, July 24- Israel won a partial reprieve from the economic pain of its Gaza war on Thursday with the lifting of a U.S. ban on commercial flights to Tel Aviv, as fighting pushed the Palestinian death toll over 700..

  • *Hamas sticks to demand embargo on Gaza be lifted. GAZA/ JERUSALEM, July 24- Israel won a partial reprieve from the economic pain of its Gaza war on Thursday with the lifting of a U.S. ban on commercial flights to Tel Aviv, as fighting pushed the Palestinian death toll over 700..

  • European shares edge lower on mixed earnings, PMIs Thursday, 24 Jul 2014 | 3:52 AM ET

    The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 slipped 0.2 percent in early trade to 1,372.80 points, with benchmark indexes in France, Germany and the UK down 0.3 to 0.6 percent.

  • Social Security's $300M IT project doesn't work Thursday, 24 Jul 2014 | 3:06 AM ET

    WASHINGTON— After spending nearly $300 million on a new computer system to handle disability claims, the Social Security Administration still can't get it to work. Six years ago, Social Security embarked on an aggressive plan to replace outdated computer systems overwhelmed by a growing flood of disability claims.

  • SINGAPORE, July 24- Brent crude held steady above $108 a barrel on Thursday as a surprisingly strong reading on Chinese manufacturing bolstered hopes for higher demand in the world's No.2 oil consumer. Brent crude for September delivery traded up 8 cents at $108.11 a barrel by 0539 GMT, after closing 70 cents higher on Wednesday.

  • Cruz demands answers on FAA flight ban to Israel Thursday, 24 Jul 2014 | 12:30 AM ET

    Ted Cruz vowed Thursday to continue blocking confirmation of a series of ambassadorial and other diplomatic nominees despite the Federal Aviation Administration lifting a ban on U.S. airline flights to Israel.

  • US lifts ban on flights to Tel Aviv airport Thursday, 24 Jul 2014 | 12:15 AM ET

    WASHINGTON— The Federal Aviation Administration has lifted its ban on U.S. flights in and out of Israel.

  • Farm bank donates $10 billion for rural projects Thursday, 24 Jul 2014 | 12:02 AM ET

    WASHINGTON— A bank that serves farmers and agribusiness is donating $10 billion to spur private investment in rural America. The White House was announcing the money Thursday as part of a rural conference it is holding this week.

  • SINGAPORE, July 24- Brent crude was steady above $108 a barrel on Thursday, holding on to the previous day's gains, after a surprisingly strong reading on Chinese manufacturing bolstered hopes for higher demand in the world's second-biggest oil consumer.