Stocks extend their slide...Jobless claims rise...Home sales rise...Mortgage rates decline

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Associated Press

Posted on June 20, 2013 at 12:00 PM

Updated Thursday, Jun 20 at 12:00 PM

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks continue to slide after the Federal Reserve said it might end its huge bond-buying program by the middle of next year. The Dow Jones industrial average has been off about 200 points in early trading, after dropping 206 points yesterday. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note has shot up to the highest point since October 2011, and gold is leading a rout in commodity prices. Markets also fell sharply in Europe.

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Labor Department says applications for U.S. unemployment benefits rose by 18,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 354,000. Despite the gain, the level remains consistent with moderate job growth. The less volatile four-week average increased by 2,500 to 348,250.

WASHINGTON (AP) — There's fresh evidence today of a strengthening housing recovery. The National Association of Realtors says sales of previously occupied homes rose 4.2 percent in May to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.18 million. It's the first time since November 2009 that sales have surpassed the 5 million mark. The median price of a home rose in May to $208,000, the highest level since July 2008.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Mortgage rates have reversed their recent climb this week. Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac says the rate on the average 30-year fixed loan eased to 3.93 percent last week. That's down from 3.98 percent last week but is still the highest level since April 2012. The rate on the 15-year mortgage fell to 3.04 percent from 3.10 percent. That's the highest since May 2012.

NEW YORK (AP) — Kroger is raising its outlook for the year after the country's largest traditional supermarket chain reported a fiscal first-quarter profit that beat Wall Street expectations. The Cincinnati-based company, which also owns Ralphs, Fry's and Food 4 Less, says sales at stores open at least a year rose 3.3 percent during the period, excluding fuel. Total revenue rose 3 percent.

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