THE JOBS HUNT: Weekly applications for unemployment benefits fell 16,000 to 339,000, the second-lowest in more than five years, according to the Labor Department. U.S. job creation plunged in March, however.

CENTERING IN: Some investors say the stock market's gains this week are being driven not by confidence in the economy but by the belief that the major central banks, including the Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank, will continue their easy-money policies.

MORE WITH LESS: So far most S&P 500 companies have beat analysts' estimates for first-quarter earnings, but many have also missed on revenue. That's a sign that companies are making do with less, not that customers are buying.


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