Stocks gain…Mortgage rates rise…GM contract calls for pay hikes as factory closings move forward
NEW YORK (AP) – Stocks are moving broadly higher in afternoon trading on Wall Street after several large companies delivered surprisingly good results. A breakthrough in negotiations over Britain’s exit from the European Union also injected confidence into markets and prompted investors to move money into riskier holdings. Health care and communication services stocks are driving most of the market’s gains, outweighing a slide in technology and energy companies.
WASHINGTON (AP) – Long-term mortgage rates are higher this week after signs of a trade truce between the U.S. and China last week pushed up the interest rate on 10-year Treasurys. Mortgage giant Freddie Mac says the average rate for a 30-year fixed mortgage rose to 3.69% from 3.57% last week. But that’s lower than the 3.9% at the same time last year. The average rate on a 15-year mortgage moved up to 3.15% from 3.05% a week ago.
DETROIT (AP) – A tentative four year contract with striking General Motors gives workers a mix of pay raises, lump sum payments and an $11,000 signing bonus. In return, the contract allows GM to proceed with factory closures in Lordstown, Ohio, Warren, Michigan, and near Baltimore. Details were posted today on the union website as factory level union officials met to decide if they’ll approve the deal. Workers went on strike Sept. 16, crippling the company’s U.S. production and costing it an estimated $2 billion.
TRENTON, N.J. (AP) – Johnson & Johnson has agreed to a $117 million multistate settlement over allegations it deceptively marketed its pelvic mesh products, which support women’s sagging pelvic organs. Ohio’s attorney general said an investigation found J&J, the world’s biggest health products maker, violated state consumer protection laws by not fully disclosing the devices’ risks. The settlement, which covers 41 states and the District of Columbia, requires the company to fully disclose risks and stop making inaccurate safety claims. It comes as J&J is swamped with thousands of lawsuits claiming patients were harmed by products including baby powder, opioid painkillers and prescription drugs.
WASHINGTON (AP) – Juul (jool) Labs will stop selling fruit and dessert flavors for its electronic cigarettes. The voluntary step announced today is the company’s latest concession as it tries to weather a political backlash blaming its flavored-nicotine products for hooking a generation of teenagers. The flavored pods affected by the announcement are mango, creme, fruit and cucumber. Juul will continue selling its most popular flavors: mint and menthol. Those products account for more than 60% of Juul’s retail sales, according to analysts. They are also the most popular flavors among teens.