Twitter sets IPO price range, says it could raise $1.6 billion

Twitter set a price range of $17 to $20 per share for its much-anticipated initial public offering and says it could raise as much as $1.6 billion in the process.

The company said in a regulatory filing Thursday that it is putting forth 70 million shares in the offering. If all the shares are sold, the underwriters can buy another 10.5 million shares.

Twitter’s valuation is relatively conservative – some analysts had expected the figure to be as high as $20 billion.

Strong corporate earnings give stock market a boost

Another dose of strong corporate earnings, this time from Ford, Southwest Airlines and others, helped push the stock market higher on Thursday.

It’s one of the busiest weeks on Wall Street for companies posting their quarterly results. Roughly a third of the Standard & Poor’s 500 index will report earnings, including some of the world’s best-known companies.

Fed proposes big banks hold downturn-proof assets

The Federal Reserve on Thursday proposed that big banks keep enough cash, government bonds and other high-quality assets on hand to survive a downturn on par with the 2008 financial crisis.

The proposal subjects U.S. banks for the first time to so-called “liquidity” requirements, referring to the ability to access cash quickly. Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke said it would foster a more resilient financial system, along with other reforms.

Weekly U.S. jobless claims drop by 12,000, to 350,000

The number of people seeking U.S. unemployment benefits dropped 12,000 to a seasonally adjusted 350,000 last week, though the total was elevated for the third straight week by technical problems in California.

The Labor Department said Thursday that the less volatile four-week average jumped by nearly 11,000 to 348,250.

Weekly applications have been inflated for the past three weeks, largely because California has been processing a huge number of applications that were delayed because of a computer upgrade.

Fixed mortgage rates sink, signaling housing recovery

Average U.S. rates on fixed mortgages dropped this week to their lowest levels in four months, a positive sign for the housing recovery.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac says the average rate on the 30-year loan fell to 4.13 percent. That’s down from 4.28 percent. The average on the 15-year fixed loan declined to 3.24 percent from 3.33 percent. Both averages are the lowest since June 20.