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Mortgage Rates End Year Near Record Lows

WASHINGTON, Dec. 29 (UPI) — The average fixed mortgage held close to historic lows in the week ending Thursday, the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp. said. The 30-year fixed rate rose slightly off an all-time low of 3.91 percent in the previous week to 3.95 with 0.7 points, Freddie Mac said. The 15-year fixed rate […]

Insurer To Pay $2 Million For Dropping Clients

LOS ANGELES, Dec. 29 (UPI) — Blue Shield in California has agreed to pay $2 million to settle a lawsuit over medical insurance coverage it dropped when clients became sick. In the industry, it is called rescission. The Los Angeles Times reported Thursday that Blue Shield’s case involved an investigation of more than 1,000 rescission […]

Tourism On Pace For Record Year

WASHINGTON, Dec. 27 (UPI) — Foreign visitors spent $13.1 billion to see the sights while visiting the United States in October, the U.S. Office of Travel and Tourism Industries said. Expenditures on transportation and tourism jumped 13 percent over October 2010, putting tourism in a rare category of an industry doing better than it did […]

Retailers Report Strong Finish For 2011

WASHINGTON, Dec. 28 (UPI) — U.S. retail sales rose 0.9 percent in the week ending on Christmas Eve and jumped up from the same week of 2010, a trade group said. The International Council of Shopping Centers deemed the 0.9 percent week-to-week rise a “solid” gain for retailers. The final week of the retail marathon […]

Online: Bring Your Own Bottle And Shop

NEW YORK, Dec. 28 (UPI) — U.S. retailers acknowledge they are making sales to tipsy consumers who are shopping with a mouse in one hand and a cocktail in the other. “Post-bar, inhibitions can be impacted, and that can cause shopping, and hopefully healthy impulse buying,” said Andy Page, the president of online retail business […]

Panda Express Headed For The Cleaners

LOS ANGELES, Dec. 28 (UPI) — U.S. fast-food chain Panda Express said it is turning its Chinese food franchise expertise to a new venture — dry cleaning. “There isn’t any consolidation in this particular industry. There is no McDonald’s of dry cleaners. We see this as an opportunity,” said Andrew Cherng, co-chief executive officer of […]

By Consensus, Google+ Is Growing Fast

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif., Dec. 28 (UPI) — U.S. Internet giant Google’s social networking Web service Google+ is adding 4,375,000 users every week, an unofficial monitor of the service said. The estimate, made by Ancestry.com founder Paul Allen, is unofficial. ComScore reported last week the number of unique visitors checking out Google+ in November was 67 […]

Sears To Close 3 Percent Of Its Stores

HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill., Dec. 27 (UPI) — Sears Holdings Corp. said Tuesday it would close up to 120 Kmart and Sears U.S. stores due to slow sales, especially in electronics and home appliances. The company, which currently operates 4,000 stores, did not say which stores would close, but said a list would be published online […]

Consumer Confidence Up Two Months Running

NEW YORK, Dec. 27 (UPI) — Consumer confidence in the United States rose for the second consecutive month in December, the Conference Board said Tuesday. After hitting a two-year low in August and posting a slight gain in September, confidence slipped again in October. The index then jumped sharply from 40.9 to 55.2 in November. […]

Home Prices Remain In Slump

NEW YORK, Dec. 27 (UPI) — U.S. home prices declined in both 10-city and 20-city composite indexes in October, the closely watched S&P/Case-Shiller home index report said. The 10-city index dropped from 153.03 in September to 152.24 in October, a low unseen since July 2003. The 20-city index dropped from 139.42 to 138.56, a low […]

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