Average US Mortgage Rates Climb; 30-Year at 4.60 Percent
Long-term U.S. mortgage rates this week jumped to their highest level since the start of August, raising costs for would-be homebuyers. Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday that the average rate on 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages climbed to 4.60 percent from 4.54 percent last week. The average rate has surged from 3.78 percent a year ago, posting the largest annual gain since May 2014.
Debate on New Tax Cuts Undercut by GOP Election Pressure
House lawmakers are debating a Republican proposal to expand the new tax law by making permanent the individual tax cuts now set to expire in 2026. But the move is undercut by election pressures faced by GOP lawmakers from high-tax states where residents are hurt by the law’s limits on state and local tax deductions. The tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee took up the legislation Thursday.
Beyond fake news? Facebook to fact check photos, videos
Facebook says it is expanding its fact-checking program to include photos and videos. That’s because bad actors are also using images and videos to spread misinformation. The company says it will send its 27 third-party fact-checkers disputed photos and videos to verify, or the fact-checkers can find them on their own. If they are untrue or misleading, Facebook will label them as such.
VW to Stop Making Iconic Beetle Next Summer
Volkswagen says it will stop making its iconic Beetle in July of next year. Volkswagen of America on Thursday announced the end of production of the third-generation Beetle by introducing two final special editions. The Beetle was developed in Germany in 1938 and came to the U.S. 11 years later. It sold for about 30 years before U.S. sales ceased. The company revived it in 1998 and revamped it for the 2012 model year in an effort to help it attract more male buyers.
A CBS Network Shaped by Moonves Is Challenged Without Him
For more than two decades, CBS was a successful network shaped in the image of chief executive Leslie Moonves. Now he’s gone on sexual misconduct charges, and CBS faces the challenge of what to do without the person who defined it. One expert says it would be risky to change the programming formula Moonves created.
China says Washington asks to resume talks on tariff fight
China’s government says Washington has asked to resume negotiations on their worsening tariff dispute. A foreign ministry spokesman said the two sides are working out the details. The announcement followed reports by foreign chambers of commerce in China that companies have been hurt by tariffs imposed by both sides on $50 billion of each other’s goods. The Trump administration is due to decide whether to impose new duties on an additional $200 billion of Chinese products.
Global Oil Production Hits a New Record, Led by US and OPEC
The world’s supply of oil hit a record 100 million barrels a day, another sign of oil’s dominance in the energy market. The International Energy Agency says OPEC and the U.S. are boosting output, helping offset declines in Iran, which faces new U.S. sanctions that are already hurting its exports, as well as in strife-torn Venezuela.
The Apple Watch Is Inching Toward Becoming a Medical Device
Apple Watch is slowly morphing into a medical device, as Apple tries to turn its smartwatch from a niche gadget into a lifeline to better health. Since the watch came out in 2015, most people haven’t figured out why they need to buy something that largely does the same things are their phones. But that may change now that the Apple Watch is adding ever-more practical features like the ability to detect falls and take high-quality heart readings that usually require a visit to the doctor.
Technology Stocks, Led by Apple, Push Wall Street Higher
U.S. stocks rise as Apple, Microsoft and Qualcomm lead a round of gains in technology companies and health care companies also move higher. Insurance companies also climbed. Turkish stocks rose and the lira got stronger after Turkey’s central bank raised interest rates.
The S&P 500 index gained 15.26 points, or 0.5 percent, to 2,904.18. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 147.07 points, or 0.6 percent, to 26,145.99. The Nasdaq composite jumped 59.48 points, or 0.7 percent, to 8,013.71. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks dipped 1.38 points, or 0.1 percent, to 1,714.32.
Benchmark U.S. crude slid 2.5 percent to $68.59 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, shed 2 percent to $78.18 a barrel in London. Wholesale gasoline fell 2.1 percent to $1.99 a gallon. Heating oil lost 1.5 percent to $2.22 a gallon. Natural gas slipped 0.4 percent to $2.82 per 1,000 cubic feet.
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