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BUILDING STRENGTH: The July strength in the index was led by a big rise in applications for building permits and declines in the number of people seeking unemployment benefits. The July increase pushed the index to 95.8, matching the May level which had been the highest reading in four years. ENCOURAGING SIGNS: Economists believe the index is pointing to continued modest growth in the economy through the rest of this  [ Read More ]

DEADLY FORCE: Shares of platinum miner Lonmin PLC fell as much as 8 percent Friday after it was revealed that South African police officers killed more than 30 striking miners at a company mine. NOT SINCE APARTHEID: Police said 34 miners died and 78 others were wounded when police opened fire on strikers in one of the worst police shootings in South Africa since apartheid ended in 1994. PRECIOUS METAL: Platinum is mainly mined for the manufacture of catalytic converters, which are used to lower exhaust emissions in cars. It is also used in jewelry, spark plugs and electrodes. DEADLY FORCE: Shares of

Mortgage rates rose this week as some positive economic data in the United States eased investors’ worries. The benchmark 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rose to 3.86% from 3.81%, according to the Bankrate.com national survey of large lenders. The mortgages in this week’s survey had an average total of 0.42 discount and origination points. One year ago, the mortgage index stood at 4.45%; four weeks ago, it was 3.78%. The benchmark 15-year fixed-rate mortgage rose to 3.05% from 3%. The benchmark 5/1 adjustable-rate mortgage rose to 2.93 from 2.91%. Weekly National Mortgage Survey Results of Bankrate.com’s Aug. 15, 2012, weekly national survey [...]

RATES RISE: Average U.S. rates on fixed mortgages ticked up for the third straight week, staying slightly above record lows. THE NUMBERS: The rate on the 30-year loan rose to 3.62 percent, mortgage buyer Freddie Mac says. The rate on the 15-year mortgage increased to 2.88 percent. OUTLOOK: Three weeks ago, the rate on the 30-year loan fell to 3.49 percent, the lowest since long-term mortgages began in the 1950s. Cheap mortgages have helped drive a modest housing recovery this year. RATES RISE: Average U

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