___Foreclosure crisis hits older Americans hard WASHINGTON (AP) â¿¿ More than 1.5 million older Americans already have lost their homes, with millions more at risk as the national housing crisis takes its toll on those who are among the worst positioned to weather the storm, a new AARP report says. Older African-Americans and Hispanics are the hardest hit. AARP said that over the past five years, the proportion of seriously delinquent loans held by older Americans jumped by more than quadrupled. Homeowners who are younger than age 50 have a higher rate of serious delinquency than their older counterparts. But the rate is increasing at a faster pace for older Americans than for younger ones, according to AARP's analysis of more than 17 million mortgages. ___ Measure of US economy falls 0.3 percent in June WASHINGTON (AP) â¿¿ A measure of future U.S. economic activity declined in June, the latest signal that the economic recovery is sputtering. The Conference Board said Thursday that its index of leading economic indicators declined 0.3 percent in June after a 0.4 percent increase in May. The index fell 0.1 percent in April, its first drop in seven months. Weakness in new orders, consumer expectations and building permits contributed to the decline. ___ By The Associated Press(equals) The Dow Jones industrial average rose 34.66 points to close at 12,943.36. The Standard & Poor's 500 index gained 3.73 points to 1,376.51. The Nasdaq composite index rose 23.30 points to 2,965.90. Crude rose $2.79, about 3 percent, to $92.66 per barrel Thursday, its highest level since mid-May. Brent crude, which is used to benchmark the oil bought by most U.S. refineries, rose $2.64 to $107.80. Natural gas rose 23 cents to close at $3 per thousand cubic feet. Heating oil rose 7 cents to close at $2.95 per gallon and wholesale gasoline rose 6 cents to close at $2.94 per gallon.