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Stocks open flat after economic reports

NEW YORK (AP) - Stocks are mixed in light trading after reports showed small improvements in consumer spending and the job market.

The Commerce Department said that consumers spent 0.4 more in November than the month before. That was slightly below analyst's expectations of a 0.5 percent gain.

The Labor Department said that the number of people applying for unemployment benefits for the first time fell by 3,000 last week to 420,000. That was in line with estimates.

And orders for long-lasting manufactured goods outside of the volatile transportation category rose by the largest amount in eight months in November. Factories saw demand increase for computers, appliances and heavy machinery.

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