Stocks wobble…Mortgage rates start the year higher
NEW YORK (AP) – Stocks are wobbling in afternoon trading on Wall Street as investors consider the outlook for rising interest rates and inflation. Bond yields continued to rise a day after the Federal Reserve indicated it was ready to raise interest rates to fight off inflation. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note, the benchmark for home mortgage rates, rose to 1.73% Banks made broad gains. Energy stocks rose along with crude oil prices. A mix of retailers and health care stocks fell.
WASHINGTON (AP) – Average long-term U.S. mortgage rates have risen to start the new year. They reached their highest level since May 2020, at the height of the coronavirus pandemic, yet remain historically low. Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac reports that the average rate on the benchmark 30-year home loan increased to 3.22% this week from 3.11% last week. The average rate on 15-year, fixed-rate mortgages rose to 2.43% from 2.33%. Many economists expect mortgage rates to rise this year after the Federal Reserve announced last month that it would begin dialing back its monthly bond purchases to tame accelerating inflation.
LOS ANGELES (AP) – Fierce competition, low mortgage rates and soaring prices helped raise the amount borrowers took on to buy homes last year to an all-time high, eclipsing the mid-2000s housing bubble. Banks issued an estimated $1.61 trillion in home purchase loans last year, up about 9% from 2020, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. That tops the previous high of $1.51 trillion in 2005. While lenders issued around 4% fewer home purchase loans last year, their dollar value increased as home prices surged. The MBA expects home purchase mortgages will climb to a new high of $1.74 trillion this year.
LONDON (AP) – French regulators have fined Google and Facebook a total of more than 200 million euros for not making it as easy for users to opt out of online tracking as it is for them to accept it. The CNIL data privacy watchdog said that while the U.S. online giants gave French users a single button to immediately accept cookies, there wasn’t an equally simple way for them to decline, which means they weren’t freely giving consent. Cookies are used to target internet users for digital ads. Google says it’s committed to further changes, while Facebook said it will work with authorities.
LAS VEGAS (AP) – Two former investment executives from Japan have pleaded guilty in Las Vegas in what prosecutors have called a $1.5 billion international Ponzi scheme with 10,000 victims in the U.S. and abroad. Junzo Suzuki and his son, Paul Suzuki, entered their pleas yesterday in U.S. District Court. Each faces five years in federal prison and three years of supervised release at sentencing in May. Prosecutors compared the case involving Las Vegas-based MRI International Inc. with the biggest-ever U.S. fraud cases. A co-defendant, Edwin Fujinaga, was found guilty in 2018 at trial in Las Vegas and is serving a 50-year prison sentence.