Walmart Stores cut its annual outlook for the second time in three months as low-income shoppers continue to feel squeezed. The world’s largest retailer on Thursday reported a 2.8 percent increase in its third-quarter profit but saw a revenue shortfall. Walmart said it earned $3.74 billion, or $1.14 per share, in the three months ended Oct. 31. Net sales rose 1.6 percent to $114.88 billion.
The number of people applying for unemployment benefits slipped 2,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 339,000, the fifth straight decline. The Labor Department said Thursday that the less volatile four-week average fell 5,750 to 344,000. The average has dropped 11 percent in the past year.
Google Inc. and Hewlett-Packard Co. are halting sales of the Chromebook 11 laptop after some users reported overheating. The companies cautioned customers to replace the charger. No fires have been reported.
Average rates on fixed mortgages rose for the second straight week amid some signs of economic strength. Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said the average rate on the 30-year loan increased to 4.35 percent from 4.16 percent last week. The average on the 15-year fixed mortgage rose to 3.35 percent from 3.27 percent.