Stocks climb…Productivity growth slows…Construction spending flat…Mortgage rates ease a bit
NEW YORK (AP) – Stocks are climbing again in morning trading on Wall Street, with the major indexes extending a rebound into a third day. Health care companies are rising after insurer Cigna topped Wall Street’s expectations in the third quarter and raised its estimates for the rest of the year. A big gain in AIG is helping send financial stocks higher. Strong third-quarter results helped stocks rally over the past two days.
WASHINGTON (AP) – U.S. productivity grew at an annual rate of 2.2 percent in the third quarter. That’s a slowdown from the previous quarter but it’s better than the weak gains seen for most of this nine-year expansion. The Labor Department says the rise in productivity in the July-September period follows a 3 percent rate of gain in the second quarter, which had been the strongest increase in three years. Productivity, the amount of output per hour of work, has been weak throughout the current recovery.
WASHINGTON (AP) – Spending on U.S. construction projects was essentially unchanged in September as an increase in home construction was offset by a slide in spending on government projects. The Commerce Department says that the flat reading for September followed a 0.8 percent rise in August.
WASHINGTON (AP) – Long-term mortgage rates have declined this week, though home borrowing rates remain at their highest levels in more than seven years. Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac says the rate on 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages eased to an average 4.83 percent this week from 4.86 percent last week. A year ago, it stood at 3.94 percent. The average rate on 15-year, fixed-rate loans slipped to 4.23 percent this week from 4.29 percent last week.
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – Google engineers and other company workers around the world have walked off the job to protest the internet company’s lenient treatment of executives accused of sexual misconduct. The protest is unfolding a week after a New York Times story detailed allegations of sexual misconduct about the creator of Google’s Android software, Andy Rubin. The report said Rubin received a $90 million severance package in 2014 even though Google had concluded that the misconduct allegations against him were credible.