Stocks rise…Trade gap hits 9 1/2-year high…Mortgage rates fall
NEW YORK (AP) – Stocks are rising in early Wall Street trading as global markets continue a rally that began late yesterday. Traders are feeling more optimistic that a trade dispute between the U.S. and China, the two largest economies in the world, will be resolved without too much pain. Some of the biggest gains are going to technology companies, retailers and banks.
WASHINGTON (AP) – The U.S. trade deficit has risen for a sixth straight month, reaching the highest level since October 2008. The Commerce Department says the trade gap widened to $57.6 billion in February from $56.7 billion in January. Exports of goods and services hit a record $204.4 billion, while imports set a record of $262 billion. The politically sensitive trade deficit in goods with China narrowed to $29.3 billion from January’s $36 billion.
WASHINGTON (AP) – Long-term mortgage rates are lower this week. Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac says the average rate on 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages dipped to 4.40 percent from 4.44 percent last week. The benchmark stood at an average 4.10 percent a year ago. The average rate on 15-year, fixed-rate loans declined to 3.87 percent from 3.90 percent last week.
DETROIT (AP) – The U.S. government’s road safety agency says it has received allegations that defective Goodyear motor home tires caused crashes that killed or injured 95 people over a decade. The allegations were revealed in an information-seeking letter sent to Goodyear by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Last year, the agency began investigating whether Goodyear’s G159 tires are unsafe. The investigation covers about 40,000 tires made from 1996 to 2003.
UNDATED (AP) – A new report says large employers spent $2.6 billion to treat opioid addiction and overdoses in 2016, an eightfold increase since 2004. More than half went to treat employees’ children. The analysis released today by the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation finds such spending cost companies and workers about $26 per enrollee in 2016. Employers have been limiting insurance coverage of opioids because of concerns about addiction. The report finds spending on opioid prescriptions falling 27 percent from a peak in 2009.