BRIEFCASE

Honda introduces its FIT EV Electric Vehicle Concept car at the LA Auto Show in 2010. Auto companies in the U.S. are lowering lease prices for electric cars as they try to jump-start slow sales in a competitive market.

Damian Dovarganes

NEW YORK — The stock market rose Thursday after two lackluster economic reports raised expectations that the Federal Reserve will continue to boost the economy with its stimulus program.

Unemployment claims rose and an initial estimate of first-quarter economic growth was revised slightly lower to 2.4 percent. That suggests that the U.S. economy may still need some time to recover from its funk and that the Fed will keep up its $85 billion in monthly bond purchases.

The Dow Jones industrial average closed up 21.73 to 15,324.53. The Nasdaq rose 23.78 to 3,491.30. The S&P 500 rose 6.05 to 1,654.41.

ORANGEBURG — A new rail spur that is part of a state incentive package for a company in Orangeburg is almost complete. The Times and Democrat of Orangeburg reported that the spur connecting Universal Trade Solutions to the Norfolk Southern line should be finished by mid-July.

The spur was part of an incentive package that brought the company to an unoccupied warehouse in 2011. Most of the $550,000 cost comes from a Commerce Department grant.

United Trade stores and distributes metal parts for manufacturers.

Singapore Airlines announced Thursday that it has ordered 30 Boeing 787-10s, becoming the first customer for the double-stretch Dreamliner. Boeing hasn’t officially launched the 787 variant, which will carry up to 350 passengers, but many in the industry expect that to happen at next month’s Paris Air Show.

WASHINGTON — The average U.S. household has regained less than half its lost wealth, a report by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis concludes. That’s far below the estimate in a March report that calculated that Americans as a whole had regained 91 percent.

Household wealth plunged $16 trillion from the third quarter of 2007 through the first quarter of 2009. By the final three months of 2012, about $14.7 billion was regained. Once the figures are adjusted for inflation and population growth, the recovery rate is 45 percent, the St. Louis Fed said.

Average rates on fixed mortgages jumped this week to their highest levels in a year.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday the average rate for the 30-year loan rose to 3.81 percent, from 3.59 percent last week. The average on the 15-year loan rose to 2.98 percent.

NEW YORK — Retired Army Gen. David Petraeus will take a job with investment firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts as he attempts to rebuild his reputation after an affair with a biographer triggered his resignation as CIA director last fall.

Petraeus, 60, will be chairman of the firm’s new KKR Global Institute. He was CIA director from September 2011 until last November. Before that, he served more than 37 years in the Army.

Auto companies are hoping lower lease prices can put a charge into sluggish electric car sales. Honda announced Thursday that it is slashing the monthly lease cost of its Fit EV by one third, following similar moves by other automakers.

Staff and wire reports