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Fast start for stocks...Factory output rising...Spring thaw for home building

NEW YORK (AP) -- Stocks are off to another fast start on Wall Street. Buyers are being encouraged by solid earnings reports from a number of U.S. companies, including Yahoo and PNC Financial, and news that China's economy slowed less in the first quarter than many had feared. The Dow has been up as much as 125 points in the first hour of trading, while the broader indexes are also making gains.

WASHINGTON (AP) -- U.S. factory output rose again last month. The Federal Reserve says factory production rose 0.5 percent in March after a revised 1.4 percent surge the month before. Harsh winter weather had caused production to tumble in January.

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Home builders are picking up the pace after a frigid winter slowed work. The Commerce Department says builders broke ground on 946,000 homes at a seasonally adjusted annual rate in March. That's a 2.8 percent increase from February and the highest level in three months. At the same time, however, applications for building permits slid, clouding the outlook for future construction.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) -- Bank of America says it lost money in the first quarter, hurt by $6 billion in legal expenses. The Charlotte, N.C., bank reports a loss applicable to common shareholders of $514 million. That's compares with earnings of $1.11 billion a year earlier. Bank of America's stock has fallen more than 3 percent in early trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

TOKYO (AP) -- The Mt. Gox bitcoin exchange in Tokyo is headed for liquidation after a court rejected its bankruptcy protection application. Mt. Gox says the Tokyo District Court has decided the company would not be able to resurrect itself under a business rehabilitation process filed for in February. That's when the virtual currency exchange revealed that it had lost an estimated 650,000 bitcoins worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

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