Stocks mixed…Mortgage rates fall…SeaWorld says DOJ probe ends
NEW YORK (AP) – Stock indexes are mixed in morning trading on Wall Street as technology and health care companies rise. Safer, high-dividend stocks in real estate and utilities are also climbing. Banks are falling, and smaller companies continue to lag their larger rivals. The European Central Bank said it will end its bond-buying economic stimulus program at the end of the year, but trimmed its forecasts for economic growth across Europe. Government bond yields in Europe are falling.
WASHINGTON (AP) – Long-term mortgage rates have fallen to their lowest level in three months. Mortgage giant Freddie Mac says the average rate on the benchmark 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage dropped to 4.63 percent this week from to 4.75 percent last week. That’s still much higher than a year ago, when the rate stood at 3.93 percent. The rate on 15-year fixed-rate loans fell to 4.07 percent from 4.21 percent the previous week.
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) – SeaWorld Entertainment says it has been notified that the Justice Department is ending its probe into whether company officials misled investors about the negative impact the documentary “Blackfish” was having on its business. In September, SeaWorld and two former executives agreed to pay more than $5 million to settle federal fraud claims brought by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission alleging they had made misleading statements about the documentary’s impact.
PARIS (AP) – Renault (reh-NOH’) says an internal investigation has found no wrongdoing in the awarding of compensation to CEO Carlos Ghosn (gohn), who has been indicted in Japan on charges of falsifying financial reports. The French carmaker says that preliminary results of a review of Ghosn’s compensation for the years 2015-18 showed it was in compliance with French law. Ghosn, Nissan’s former chairman, was arrested last month in Japan. He and Nissan were charged Monday with violating financial laws by underreporting Ghosn’s pay by about $44 million in 2011-2015.
FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) – The Kentucky Supreme Court has struck down a pension law that prompted thousands of teachers to protest at the state Capitol. Republican Gov. Matt Bevin signed a law in April that made changes to the pension system that would mostly affect future hires. Thousands of teachers protested, and Democratic Attorney General Andy Beshear sued to block the law. The state Supreme Court ruled today that the law is unconstitutional because the legislature didn’t vote on it three times over three separate days as the state constitution requires.