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Stocks slip...Mortgage rates tick up...IMF chief sees threats facing global economy

April 11, 2019

NEW YORK (AP) — Stock indexes are slipping in afternoon trading on Wall Street, pulled down by a broad decline in health care companies. UnitedHealth Group, Humana, Anthem and Cigna are leading the health sector decline, which is outweighing gains in industrial stocks and banks.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Long-term mortgage rates have risen moderately this week. Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac says the average rate on the 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage increased to 4.12% from 4.08% last week. Two weeks ago, the benchmark loan rate marked its steepest weekly drop in a decade, from 4.28%. The average rate on the 30-year loan stood at 4.42% a year ago. The average rate this week for 15-year, fixed-rate home loans rose to 3.60% from 3.56%.

WASHINGTON (AP) — The head of the International Monetary Fund says the world is facing a time of high uncertainty with 70 percent of the global economy caught in a growth slowdown. IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde says that while her agency is predicting a rebound in growth next year, that forecast is “precarious and subject to downside risks” with rising trade tensions a top threat. She spoke at the opening of three days of global finance meetings in Washington.

NEW YORK (AP) — Amazon is challenging its retail rivals to raise their wages and improve benefits, saying the competition will help everyone. CEO and founder Jeff Bezos says in a letter to shareholders today that as Amazon grows, so does the size of its “failed experiments.” He says Amazon is willing to continue to take risks and learn from its failures, while simultaneously supporting successful areas of its business like its third-party sellers and retail locations. Bezos named the Fire phone as a failure, but Echo and Alexa as successes.

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Federal prosecutors in California say attorney Michael Avenatti has been charged in an indictment alleging that he stole millions of dollars from clients, didn’t pay his taxes, committed bank fraud and lied in bankruptcy proceedings. The 36-count indictment says the lawyer who represented porn actress Stormy Daniels embezzled from a paraplegic man and four other clients, and also pocketed payroll taxes from employees of the Tully’s coffee chain that he owned.