Dow regains half of Wednesday’s losses

NEW YORK — Stocks ended mostly higher Thursday as the Dow Jones industrial average regained half of what it lost the day before.

The Dow rose 55.76 points, or 0.4 percent, to 14,606.11. The S&P 500 gained 6.29 points, or 0.4 percent, to 1,559.98. The Nasdaq composite gained 6.38 points, or 0.2 percent, to 3,224.98.

The Dow fell 111 points on Wednesday on weak economic reports.

U.S.-listed shares of Japanese companies rose after Japan’s central bank announced aggressive stimulus measures to revive the economy from a two-decade slump.

Best Buy soared 16 percent after announcing a plan to put kiosks for Korean electronics giant Samsung in its stores

U.S. rate on 30-year mortgage slips to 3.54%

WASHINGTON — Average U.S. rates on fixed mortgages crept closer to their historic lows this week, a trend that could help the housing recovery strengthen.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday that the average rate for the 30-year fixed loan edged down to 3.54 percent from 3.57 percent last week. That’s near the 3.31 percent reached in November, which was the lowest on records dating to 1971.

The average rate on the 15-year fixed mortgage declined to 2.74 percent from 2.76 percent last week. The record low of 2.63 percent also was reached in November.

Association of Zoos and Aquarium coming to town

The mid-year meeting of the National Association of Zoos and Aquariums starts Saturday at Charleston Area Convention Center in North Charleston and continues through April 12. About 600 participants are expected, according to S.C. Aquarium spokeswoman Kate Dittloff.

Keynote speaker for the general session at 8 a.m. Tuesday is Dr. Claudia Benitez-Nelson, director of the marine science program and professor in the Department of Earth and Ocean Sciences at the University of South Carolina. Her presentation will focus on global climate change and its impact on the ocean and wildlife.

The week-long event will include a reception at Lowndes Grove Plantation 6:30-9:30 p.m. Monday and an Aquarium Day at the S.C. Aquarium Tuesday afternoon. The Aquarium will close at 12:30 p.m. Tuesday. The last ticket will be sold at 11:30 a.m.

Instant meal producer to create 150 jobs in Upstate

Sunny Z Foods Inc., a producer of pre-packaged instant meals, will generate 150 jobs in a new Saluda County plant.

The plant will take over a former Milliken textile mill at 782 Columbia Highway and start production by the end of the year to markets along the East Coast and throughout the Southeast. The company will announce hiring plans at a later date.

Tool distributor to expand, create 200 jobs in Dillon

Harbor Freight Tools USA Inc., a rapidly expanding discount tool retailer with over 430 stores nationwide, will invest $75 million and generate 200 new jobs as it expands its existing distribution center in rural Dillon County. The expansion also will triple the company’s volume through the Port of Charleston.

The company plans to add about 1 million square feet to its existing facility in the Tri-County Gateway Industrial Park in Dillon. The company built its original Dillon distribution center in 2001 and expects to complete the expansion by early 2014.

The company plans to begin hiring for new positions in October. For job opportunities, www.harborfreight.com/employment-opportunities.

SCE&G completes repairs to V.C. Summer nuclear unit

A nuclear unit at V.C. Summer Nuclear Station north of Columbia is back online after an 11-day outage to repair a pump back-up seal during a planned shutdown.

South Carolina Electric & Gas Co. said the unit at the Fairfield County site returned to service Tuesday after being offline since March 22.

Staff and wire reports