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Business Highlights

By The Associated Press

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Nasdaq resumes stock trading after 3-hour outage

NEW YORK (AP) â¿¿ Trading on the Nasdaq stock exchange was halted for three hours Thursday due to a technical glitch. Other exchanges were operating normally.

Nasdaq trading resumed at 3:25 p.m. EDT after being stopped shortly after noon because of problems with a quote dissemination system. The Nasdaq composite rose in afternoon trading after trading resumed.

The disruption sent brokers scurrying to figure out what went wrong and raised new questions about the pitfalls of computer-driven stock trading.

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US unemployment aid applications rise to 336,000

WASHINGTON (AP) â¿¿ The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits rose last week after reaching the lowest level in 5 1/2 years. But the broader trend suggests companies are laying off fewer workers and could step up hiring in the months ahead.

The Labor Department said Thursday that applications for first-time benefits rose 13,000 to a seasonally adjusted 336,000 in the week ending Aug. 17. That's up from 323,000 in the previous week, which was the lowest since Jan. 2008.

The four-week average, which smooths week to week fluctuations, fell by 2,250 to 330,500. That's the sixth straight decline and the lowest for the average since November 2007.

At the depths of the recession in March 2009, applications numbered 670,000.

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Average US rate on 30-year mortgage at 4.58 pct.

WASHINGTON (AP) â¿¿ Average U.S. rates for fixed mortgages rose this week to their highest levels in two years, driven by heightened speculation that the Federal Reserve will slow its bond purchases later this year.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday that the average rate on the 30-year loan jumped to 4.58 percent, up from 4.40 percent last week. The average on the 15-year fixed loan rose to 3.60 percent from 3.44 percent. Both averages are the highest since July 2011.

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