Best Buy, Dollar Tree gain; stocks edge up
NEW YORK - Stocks closed higher following an encouraging report on Chinese manufacturing and improving earnings from several U.S. retailers.
Best Buy and Dollar Tree rose after reporting better results. Homebuilders rose following a modest increase in sales of previously occupied homes.
Also, a survey from HSBC suggested the slowdown in China's economy is flattening. May's reading on China's manufacturing sector was the best in five months.
The S&P 500 index rose 4.46 points to close at 1,892.49 Thursday. The Dow Jones industrial average increased 10.02 to 16,543.08. The Nasdaq composite gained 22.80 to 4,154.34.
HP announcing more job cuts, up to 16,000
PALO ALTO, Calif. - Hewlett-Packard says it is cutting another 11,000 to 16,000 jobs, above a target of 34,000 the company outlined in a restructuring plan in May 2012 and offered an outlook that was below expectations.
The company said the increased cuts come "as HP continues to reengineer the workforce to be more competitive and meet its objectives." CEO Meg Whitman said the HP's turnaround "remains on track."
The company also reported net income in the quarter ended April 30 rose 18 percent to $1.27 billion. Revenue fell 1 percent to $27.31 billion.
US home sales up 1.3% in April; pace is slowing
WASHINGTON - Sales of existing U.S. homes rebounded slightly in April, but the pace of buying remained below last year's level.
The National Association of Realtors said Thursday sales rose 1.3 percent from March to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.65 million. Purchases of homes over the past 12 months have dropped 6.8 percent.
Much of the gains were in the volatile condominium market, which experienced growth of 7.3 percent. Sales of single-family homes were up just 0.5 percent last month.
Time Inc. is moving its longtime headquarters
NEW YORK - The publisher of Time and People says it is ditching its Midtown Manhattan offices of 55 years to move downtown after it becomes an independent company. Time Inc. plans to spin off from Time Warner on June 6.
Time, which also publishes Sports Illustrated and Food & Wine, has been located at what's known as the Time & Life Building since 1959.
Mortgage rate slips to 4.14 percent this week
WASHINGTON - Average U.S. rates on fixed mortgages fell this week for a fourth straight week. The low rates could give a boost to the spring homebuying season, which has started slowly.
Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday the average rate for a 30-year loan declined to 4.14 percent from 4.2 percent last week. The average for the 15-year mortgage eased to 3.25 percent from 3.29 percent.
Facebook is expanding privacy reminder tool
NEW YORK - More Facebook users can expect to see a blue cartoon dinosaur popping up in their feeds, reminding them to check their privacy settings.
Facebook had already made the tool available to users who were posting public updates. The feature is designed to remind people how widely they share posts, what apps they use and other privacy issues.
Facebook says users are sometimes worried about sharing something by accident, or sharing with the wrong audience.
Toyota recalls 516,000 autos in three actions
DETROIT - Toyota said Thursday it's recalling 516,000 vehicles worldwide for three separate safety problems, including brakes that can activate without warning.
The company said it has no reports of accidents or injuries due to the defects. The company will alert owners and dealers will repair the issues for free.
The largest recall, 450,000 Sienna minivans from the 2004-11 years, targets vans in cold-weather areas. Road salt can corrode the spare tire carrier.
Also recalled: 16,000 Lexus GS 250 and 350 sedans from 2013 because a a brake defect; and 50,000 2014 Highlander and Highlander hybrid SUVs over an air bag software glitch.