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Stocks gain..Mortgage rates rise...SpaceX launches Spanish satellite

February 22, 2018

NEW YORK (AP) — Technology companies and banks are helping to drive U.S. stocks broadly higher in early Wall Street trading. Bonds yields declined after spiking yesterday amid rekindled fears of higher interest rates. Investors are sizing up the latest company earnings news. Crude oil prices headed higher.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Long-term U.S. mortgage rates have crept higher this week. Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac says the average rate on 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages rose to 4.40 percent, up slightly from 4.38 percent last week. It’s the seventh straight weekly increase and the highest rate since April 2014. The rate on 15-year, fixed-rate loans rose to 3.85 percent from 3.84 percent last week.

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. (AP) — A SpaceX rocket carrying a Spanish satellite has blasted off from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. Spain’s PAZ satellite carries an instrument to make radar images of the Earth for government and commercial purposes. A secondary payload consists of two small test satellites for a system that would provide internet access to remote areas.

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — South Carolina’s state-owned utility says it will pay millions per year to preserve equipment and parts at an abandoned nuclear reactor site. News reports say Santee Cooper’s acting board chairman told Gov. Henry McMaster that it expects to pay about $16 million annually to ensure the unfinished reactors at the V.C. Summer Nuclear Station aren’t ruined, and about $3 million per year for storage warehouses. Santee Cooper and South Carolina Electric & Gas Co. abandoned the project last summer following the bankruptcy of lead contractor Westinghouse.

NEW YORK (AP) — Subway is shaking up its loyalty program, giving customers the ability to earn $2 discounts instead of free Footlongs. The changes, taking place next month, are part of Subway’s attempts to revamp its image, lure people back to its restaurants and fight falling sales. With the new loyalty program, customers who spend $50 will get a $2 discount they can use on any menu item.

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