Stocks slide…Mortgage rates ease…New visa rules target ‘birth tourism’
NEW YORK (AP) – Stocks are falling on Wall Street as investors worry that a deadly virus outbreak in China could continue spreading and hurt the global economy. The weak opening for U.S. indexes follows a sell-off for global markets as authorities worldwide take measures to monitor and contain the virus. Banks and other financial companies are leading the losses. The yield on the 10-year Treasury fell significantly to 1.72% from 1.77% late yesterday. Health care stocks are also broadly lower, and a slump in crude oil prices is weighing on energy stocks.
WASHINGTON (AP) – Long-term mortgage rates have fallen this week to their lowest level in three months. Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac says the average rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage declined to 3.60% from 3.65% last week. The benchmark rate stood at 4.45% a year ago. The average rate on a 15-year mortgage eased to 3.04% from 3.09% last week.
WASHINGTON (AP) – The Trump administration has published new visa rules aimed at restricting a practice known as “birth tourism.” That refers to cases when women travel to the United States to give birth so their children can have U.S. citizenship. The new rules in the Federal Register say applicants will be denied tourist visas if they are determined by consular officers to be coming to the U.S. primarily to give birth. Visitors will have to prove they are traveling to the U.S. because they have a medical need and not just because they want to give birth in the country.
DALLAS (AP) – American Airlines’ fourth-quarter profit rose 27% to $414 million on strong travel demand that resulted in record occupancy levels on its planes. However, American continues to be weighed down by the grounding of Boeing 737 Max jets. American says it canceled about 10,000 flights in the fourth quarter because of the grounding.
DETROIT (AP) – General Motors is planning to open a new technical center for performance and auto racing near the Charlotte Motor Speedway in North Carolina. The company says the 75,000-square-foot center will open by mid-2020 off Interstate 85 in Concord. GM says it’s still finalizing plans for the number of people who would work there, but it would be a mix of employees moving from the Detroit area and new hires in North Carolina. The company says the center will be near many Chevrolet and Cadillac racing team partners and parts suppliers.