Rate on 15-year loans for homes rises above 3%
WASHINGTON — The average U.S. rate on a 15-year fixed mortgage rose above 3 percent this week for the first time in a year, while the rate on the 30-year fixed loan approached 4 percent.
Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday the rate on the 30-year loan rose to 3.91 percent from 3.81 percent last week. The 15-year loan rose to 3.03 percent from 2.98 percent.
U.S. regains wealth, but it is not spread equally
WASHINGTON — America as a whole has regained all the household wealth it lost to the Great Recession, and then some, thanks to higher stock and home prices.
The average household still has a long way to go.
U.S. household wealth jumped $3 trillion to $70 trillion in the January-March quarter this year, the Federal Reserve said Thursday. That topped the previous peak of $68 trillion in the third quarter of 2007, just before the recession began.
Retailers have modest sales gains for May
NEW YORK — In the latest sign that Americans are feeling better about the overall economy, stores across the country had a pickup in May sales.
An improving jobs picture, better housing market and stock market rallies all have led to consumer confidence reaching five-year highs. That has left Americans a bit more likely to reach into their pockets and spend, as monthly revenue reports released by national retailers Thursday show.
Revenue at stores open at least a year, an industry measure of a store’s health, rose 3.4 percent in May compared with the same month a year ago, according to a preliminary tally of 13 retailers by the International Council of Shopping Centers.
Chrysler’s recall affects about 630,000 vehicles
DETROIT — Just two days after refusing a government request to recall 2.7 million older-model Jeeps, Chrysler has decided to do two other recalls totaling 630,000 vehicles worldwide.
It will recall more than 409,000 Jeep Patriot and Compass small SUVs across the globe from the 2010 and 2012 model years to fix air-bag and seat-belt problems. It also is recalling 221,000 Jeep Wranglers worldwide from 2012 and 2013 to fix transmission fluid leaks, according to documents on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration website.
In the Patriots and Compasses, a software error could cause late deployment of the side air bags and seat-belt tightening mechanisms. Dealers will repair the software for free starting in July.
Tobacco giant launches revamped e-cigarette
RICHMOND, VA. — Reynolds American is launching a revamped version of its Vuse-brand electronic cigarette, which promises to give users the “perfect puff,” in Colorado, with its sights set on expanding nationally.
The move announced Thursday by the owner of the nation’s second-biggest tobacco company is the latest in an industry-wide push to diversify beyond the traditional cigarette business, which has become tougher in the face of tax hikes, smoking bans, health concerns and social stigma.
McDonald’s woos night owls who want breakfast
NEW YORK — McDonald’s is taking a small step toward offering breakfast items outside of its usual breakfast hours — at least if you’re a night owl.
Starting this month, the fast-food chain said participating 24-hour restaurants in select locations will offer an “After Midnight” menu that includes its Egg McMuffin, Big Mac and Chicken McNuggets.
Customers will be able to create “Midnight Value Meals,” with either fries or hash browns as their side items, McDonald’s said.