NEW YORK (AP) – Stocks are wobbling in afternoon trading on Wall Street as investors review the latest earnings reports from retailers and an update on the employment market. The S&P 500 rose 0.2%, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.3% and the Nasdaq composite rose 0.3%. Financial companies had some of the broadest losses. Bond yields edged lower. Solid earnings reports helped lift chipmaker Nvidia and several retailers, including Macy’s and Kohl’s. The Labor Department reported that the number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits fell for the seventh straight week to a pandemic low of 268,000.
SILVER SPRING, Md. (AP) – The average long-term U.S. mortgage rate rose this week, with the main 30-year rate inching back up over 3%. Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac says the average rate on the 30-year benchmark home loan jumped to a still-low 3.1% from 2.98% last week. A year ago at this time the rate was 2.72%. The rate for a 15-year loan, popular with homeowners refinancing their mortgages, rose to 2.39% from 2.27% last week. It stood at 2.28% a year ago.
WASHINGTON (AP) – President Joe Biden’s choice to run one of the agencies charged with overseeing the banking industry faced sharp questioning today from Republican senators, who tried to label Saule Omarova as someone who would nationalize the U.S. banking system. Omarova was nominated in September to be the nation’s next comptroller of the currency. If confirmed, she would be the first woman and person of color to run the 158-year-old agency. Many Republicans and the banking industry have taken issue with several papers published during her career where she’s proposed wholesale changes to the banking system.
DETROIT (AP) – Ford Motor Co. is in talks with a computer chip maker GlobalFoundaries Inc. to shore up its semiconductor supplies as it tries to avoid factory shutdowns in the future. Few details of the nonbinding agreement were released, but the deal aims to boost supplies with joint development of automotive-grade chips. The companies say it could result in joint manufacturing to support the auto industry. Ford has been hit particularly hard by a global shortage of computer chips that has affected nearly all automakers. Like other companies, Ford at times has had to temporarily close factories and even build models without some computers and install them later.
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) – Disney Cruise Line will require all guests ages 5 and up to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 before setting sail starting early next year. The company posted a statement on its website announcing the new rules will begin Jan. 13, 2022. The vaccine was recently approved for children ages 5 to 12. The cruise line currently requires anyone 12 and older who is vaccine-eligible to be vaccinated. Passengers not vaccine-eligible must provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test result taken between 3 days and 24 hours before the ship sails. The vaccine requirement runs against a Florida law banning vaccine mandates.