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UNEMPLOYMENT

Fewer people applied for jobless benefits

The number of people applying for unemployment benefits fell last week, though the decline isn’t enough to signal improvement in the job market.

Weekly applications dropped by 9,000 to a seasonally adjusted 423,000, the Labor Department said Thursday.

The four-week average, a less volatile figure, rose slightly for the fifth straight week to 421,000.

Applications typically need to fall below 375,000 to signal sustainable job growth. They haven’t been that low since February.

CALIFORNIA

Hewlett-Packard names Meg Whitman as CEO

SAN FRANCISCO — Hewlett-Packard named Meg Whitman, the former eBay CEO and California candidate for governor, its new CEO on Thursday, forcing aside Leo Apotheker after just 11 months on the job.

Ms. Whitman is getting the nod because there are few available people with the ability to run complex technology businesses, a source familiar with the matter told the Associated Press.

Mr. Apotheker is being removed because the board lost confidence in his ability to lead the company long-term, not because of any particular strategy decision, added the person, who was not authorized to speak on behalf of HP and therefore spoke on the condition of anonymity.

The Wall Street Journal and the AllThingsD websites, citing anonymous sources, had earlier reported the change.

MORTGAGES

Rate on 30-year fixed remains at 4.09%

Fixed mortgage rates hovered at record lows for a third straight week. They are likely to fall even further now that the Federal Reserve said it would shuffle its holdings to drive down long-term interest rates.

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