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Sept. 13, 2012 at 12:05 PM
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U.S. markets rise ahead of Fed news

NEW YORK, Sept. 13 (UPI) -- U.S. stock indexes rose tentatively Thursday after the Labor Department said first-time jobless benefit claims rose by 15,000 in the week.

Initial claims for unemployment benefits rose to 382,000, the department said.

The Department of Labor Statistics said U.S. producer prices rose 1.7 percent in August, the largest monthly gain since June 2009.

Investors were also keyed in on a meeting of the Federal Reserve's Open Market Committee, which will announce its monetary policy decision mid-afternoon Thursday.

Shortly after noon, the Dow Jones industrial average gained 10.75 points or 0.16 percent to 13,354.10. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite index added 4.76 points or 0.15 percent to 3,119.07. The Standard and Poor's 500 added 1.34 points or 0.09 percent to 1,437.90.

The benchmark 10-year treasury rose 11/32 to yield 1.725 percent.

The euro rose to $1.2908 from Wednesday's $1.2899. The U.S. dollar fell to 77.42 yen from 77.85 yen.

In Tokyo, the Nikkei 255 index added 0.39 percent, 35.19 points, to 8,995.15.

In London, the FTSE 100 index added 0.69 percent, 39.80, to 5,821.88.


Foreclosures up a tick month-to-month

IRVINE, Calif., Sept. 13 (UPI) -- The number of U.S. properties involved in foreclosure rose from July to August, but were substantially lower than August 2011, an online real estate firm said.

RealtyTrac said 193,508 U.S. properties in August were either sent default notices, scheduled for auction or taken over by a bank, an increase of 1 percent from July, but down 15 percent from August 2011.

The numbers mean that one in every 681 U.S. housing units were involved in some stage of foreclosure during the month.

States that require foreclosures be handled by the courts are now seeing numbers of foreclosures rise as the legal system in various states catches up with backlogs, the company said.

"Bucking the national trend, deferred foreclosure activity boiled over in several states in August," said Daren Blomquist, vice president of RealtyTrac in a statement.

The two states with the highest percentage of properties involved in foreclosure are now Illinois -- one in every 298 housing units -- and Florida, where one in every 328 housing units was affected by foreclosure in August.

This is a new pattern. From December 2010 through this July, the top two states on the list were either Arizona, California, Georgia or Nevada -- four states that do not require foreclosures to be handled by the judicial system. In fact, from January 2005, when RealtyTrac began tracking the data until last month, Illinois had never before topped the national list.

"Meanwhile foreclosure activity in most non-judicial states stayed on a downward trajectory in August, with a few exceptions," Blomquist continued.

One exception was Washington state, where foreclosure activity rose 38 percent on an annual basis in August after 16 consecutive months of year-over year declines.

The shift in the state was caused by a state law that took effect in July 2011 that allowed homeowners facing foreclosure to request mediation.

By comparison, foreclosure activity increased on a year-over-year basis in August in Illinois for the eighth consecutive month.

The state had 17,781 properties involved in foreclosure in the month, a 42 percent increase from August 2011.


Producer prices up 1.7 percent in August

WASHINGTON, Sept. 13 (UPI) -- U.S. producer prices for finished goods rose in August at a faster clip than any month since June 2009, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Thursday.

Prices rose 1.7 percent, seasonally adjusted, after rising 0.3 percent in July and 0.1 percent in June.

Prior to that, producer prices fell month to month for three consecutive months.

On an annual basis, prices were up 2 percent.

Prices for finished foods rose 0.9 percent in August. For finished goods in the energy sector, prices rose 6.4 percent in August after falling 0.4 percent in July and 0.9 percent in June.

Energy prices dropped 4.1 percent in May, the sharpest monthly decline of the year.

Core prices, which exclude food and energy items, rose 0.2 percent in August from July.

For goods still in production, called intermediate goods, prices rose 1.1 percent in August. For raw materials, called crude goods, producer prices rose 5.8 percent.


Jobless claims rise in week

WASHINGTON, Sept. 13 (UPI) -- The U.S. Labor Department Thursday said first-time jobless benefits claims rose by 15,000 in the week ending Saturday.

Initial unemployment benefits claims for the week came to 382,000, up from the revised figure of 367,000 for the previous week.

The four-week rolling average was 375,000, up 3,250 from the previous week's revised average of 371,750.

The advance number of unadjusted actual first-time jobless benefits claims under state programs totaled 297,402 for the week, a decrease of 12,058 from the previous week, the Labor Department said.

There were 328,868 initial claims in the comparable week in 2011, the department's Employment and Training Administration said in a release.

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