Financial
Average U.S. rate on 30-year loan eases to 4.42 pct. PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by Associated Press   
Thursday, 12 December 2013 11:36

WASHINGTON (AP) — Average U.S. rates for fixed mortgages eased slightly this week, remaining near historically low levels.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac says the rate on the 30-year loan declined to 4.42 percent from 4.46 percent last week. The average on the 15-year fixed loan dipped to 3.43 percent from 3.47 percent.

Mortgage rates peaked at 4.6 percent in August and have stabilized since September, when the Federal Reserve surprised markets by taking no action. The Fed meets next week and could slow the bond purchases if the economy shows further improvement.

The bond purchases are designed to keep long-term rates low.

A government report issued Thursday signaled growing consumer confidence in the economy at the start of the holiday shopping season, as November retail sales marked the biggest gain in five months.


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Shares of Chinese "bad bank" Cinda soar in debut PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by KELVIN CHAN, AP Business Writer   
Thursday, 12 December 2013 06:49

HONG KONG (AP) — A Chinese bad-debt management company's shares soared in their Hong Kong debut Thursday, highlighting strong investor appetite for a business that will flourish if the world's No. 2 economy stumbles.

China Cinda Asset Management's shares rose 27 percent to close at 4.50 Hong Kong dollars ($0.58) after rising as much as 34 percent during the day.

The state-owned company is China's first ever distressed asset management company to go public.

It's a so-called "bad bank," one of four big entities originally tasked with moving nonperforming loans off the books of China's state-owned banks.

Cinda raised HK$18.5 billion ($2.4 billion) from its stock offering, making it the biggest initial public offering in Hong Kong this year.

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U.S. stockpiles jump in October by most in nine months PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by CHRISTOPHER S. RUGABER, AP Economics Writer   
Thursday, 12 December 2013 11:35

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. companies boosted their stockpiles at the fastest rate in nine months in October as their sales grew. The gain in restocking indicates businesses anticipated a healthy holiday shopping season.

Business inventories increased 0.7 percent in October, the Commerce Department said Thursday. That follows a 0.6 percent gain in September. Sales rose 0.5 percent, above a 0.3 percent gain the previous month.

The increase could signal better growth in the October-December quarter than some economists had anticipated. Greater restocking boosts growth because it requires more factory production.

Growth is still likely to slow from the July-September quarter's robust 3.6 percent annual rate, half of which came from a jump in restocking.

But consumers appear to be spending more, a trend that will help keep the economy growing at solid pace.

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Airlines forecast profits to jump to record high PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by Associated Press   
Thursday, 12 December 2013 06:46

GENEVA (AP) — The global airline industry forecast Thursday a jump in profits to $19.7 billion next year, helped by falling jet fuel prices, rising travel demand and cost-cutting.

The Geneva-based trade association for the world's airlines said the strong outlook — well above its expected net profit of $12.9 billion this year and $7.4 billion in 2012 — would be its biggest absolute profit ever.

But the International Air Transport Association, which represents 240 airlines, or 84 percent of total air traffic, noted that the margins would be low. Next year's profit would come from projected revenues of $743 billion, whereas 2010's $19.2 billion was made on revenues of just $579 billion.

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