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Stocks rise...Retail sales climb...Mortgage rates jump

June 14, 2018

NEW YORK (AP) — Stock indexes are modestly higher in early Wall Street trading after Europe’s central bank became the latest to spell out how it will close the spigot on the emergency stimulus it’s flooded the market with in recent years. More evidence also arrived to show that the U.S. economy is improving after retail sales rose in May.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Retail sales have posted their biggest increase in six months, as consumers spent more at home and garden stores, gas stations and restaurants in May. The Commerce Department says retail sales rose 0.8 percent last month, the largest increase since November. Excluding the volatile gas and auto categories, sales also rose 0.8 percent.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Long-term mortgage rates have jumped this week after two straight weeks of declines, reaching their second-highest level this year. Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac says the average rate on 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages is 4.62 percent, up from 4.54 percent last week. The rate averaged 3.91 percent a year ago. The average rate on 15-year, fixed-rate loans increased to 4.07 percent from 4.01 percent last week.

BROOKLYN, N.Y. (AP) — Etsy’s stock is soaring after the online crafts company announced an increase in fees and boosted its revenue outlook for the year. The Brooklyn company says the transaction fee charged when a person or business makes a sale will rise from 3.5 percent on July 16 to 5 percent. The company now sees 2018 revenue growth of between 32 percent and 34 percent. Its prior forecast was for 22 percent to 24 percent growth.

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Greek lawmakers have approved the final batch of creditor-mandated economic reforms as the end of their country’s international bailout approaches. Parliament today approved a bill that includes a raft of reforms on issues ranging from pension cuts to health care and tax reforms. The bill was the last step Greece’s government was required to make ahead of a meeting next week of finance ministers of the 19-nation eurozone, where Greece and its creditors are to reach a final deal on its bailout exit.

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