THE FED GIVETH, THE FED TAKETH AWAY: Stocks climbed Wednesday when investors thought the Federal Reserve would step in soon to help the economy. But they fell Thursday when the message was more ambiguous. The Chicago Fed president said he did support further action; the St. Louis Fed president said he wasn't sure it was necessary.

DISCOURAGING SIGN: The Labor Department reported that unemployment claims rose for the second straight week, another reminder that the recovery in the job market is slow and halting.

EUROPE SIMMERS: Leaders of Greece and Germany prepared for a Friday meeting about Greece's bailout. Germany has paid much of the bill and wants Greece to hurry with spending reforms.