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Conflicting Signals From Latest Economic Indicators

Thursday morning's economic news:

-- There were 360,000 first-time claims for unemployment insurance last week, up 32,000 from the week before, the Employment and Training Administration says. At 360,000, the pace was the fastest since the last week of March. But it remained well below the 400,000-and-higher rate that lasted from mid-2008 into 2011.

-- Builders began work on 16.5 percent fewer homes in April than in March, the Census Bureau and Department of Housing and Urban Development report. Housing starts were still up 13.1 percent from April 2012.

-- Consumer prices fell 0.4 percent in April from March, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Driving prices down: An 8.1 percent plunge in gas prices.

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