Stocks fell into negative territory today with investors reacting to a mixed bag of economic reports.
The number of Americans filing first time unemployment benefits fell 12,000 to a seasonally adjusted 350,000 last week, which was better than economists' expectations. Meanwhile, the four-week moving average fell to its lowest level in more than four years.
Also on the economic front, the Commerce Department is reporting a 4.4 percent rise in new home sales in November, to a seasonally adjusted 377,000 unit annual rate.
The consumer confidence index fell to a four-month low in December, to 65.1. The Conference Board is blaming the decline on the failure of the nation's leaders to reach a deal to avoid the fiscal cliff.
Toyota (NYSE:TM) has agreed to settled a lawsuit in connection with sudden accelerations in its vehicles, which caused accidents and injuries. The company will pay more than $1 billion as part of its settlement.
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