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Tech stocks lead market higher...Fed noted concern about trade policies...Mortgage rates fall

July 5, 2018

NEW YORK (AP) — Technology companies are leading U.S. stocks broadly higher in afternoon trading, turning major indexes higher for the week. Health care stocks and consumer-focused companies also posted solid gains as traders returned from the Independence Day holiday. The market was rallying even as global trade tensions appeared set to ratchet up tomorrow, when U.S. tariffs on billions in Chinese imports are set to kick in.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Investors have had some encouraging U.S. economic data today. The Institute for Supply Management issued data indicating that U.S. service firms expanded at a surprisingly strong pace in June. Separately, Payroll processor ADP said private U.S. employers added 177,000 in June. The Labor Department is due to release its June job and wage data tomorrow.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal Reserve officials last month discussed the impact of further hikes in interest rates, saying that by next year they could be at levels that might begin to slow economic growth. That’s according to the newly-released minutes from the Fed’s June meeting. The central bank boosted its key rate for a second time this year. The Fed officials also noted heightened concerns from businesses about President Donald Trump’s get-tough trade policies and that some executives had already scaled back future spending plans because of the uncertainty.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Long-term U.S. mortgage rates fell this week, offering a slight degree of relief to would-be homebuyers. Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac says the average rate on 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages dropped to 4.52 percent from 4.55 percent a week ago. Rates have declined in five of the past six weeks. Still, the average rate has increased from a year ago when it stood at 3.96 percent.

NEW YORK (AP) — Starbucks says an employee in Philadelphia has been fired after reportedly mocking a customer with a stutter. The coffee chain says the behavior did not reflect the experience customers should have and the employee is no longer with Starbucks. A customer posted on Facebook that his friend stuttered when giving his name. He said the barista then made light of it verbally and then spelled the name with extra letters. In May, Starbucks held anti-racial bias training for thousands of U.S. employees after a worker at another Philadelphia store called police on two black men waiting for a friend.

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