Stocks flat...Jobless claims tick up...Mortgage rates dip
NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stock indexes are about flat in early trading on Wall Street after the price of oil stabilized, at least for now. This week has been dominated oil’s tumbling price, which dropped yesterday to its lowest level since last summer. Banks and phone companies are down more than the rest of the market. American Airlines rose on news that state-owned Qatar Airways is attempting to buy a 10 percent stake in the company.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Slightly more people sought unemployment benefits last week, but the number of applications remained at a historically low level that suggests the job market is healthy. The Labor Department says weekly applications rose by 3,000 to a seasonally adjusted 241,000. The less-volatile four-week average ticked up 1,500 to 244,750.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Long-term mortgage rates have dropped slightly this week. Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac says the benchmark 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.90 percent, down from 3.91 percent last week. The rate stood at 3.56 percent a year ago and averaged a record low 3.65 percent in 2016. The 15-year, fixed-rate home loan also dipped slightly, to 3.17 percent from 3.18 percent. A year ago, the 15-year rate was 2.83 percent.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Congressional aides and lobbyists say the Senate Republicans’ bill to scuttle “Obamacare” would cut Medicaid, end penalties for people not buying insurance and erase a raft of tax increases. Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell plans to release the bill today, after weeks of closed-door meetings. In a departure from the version the House approved last month, the Senate plan would drop the House’s waivers allowing states to let insurers boost premiums on some people with pre-existing conditions. It would largely retain subsidies to help millions buy insurance.
NEW YORK (AP) — Qatar (KUH’-tur) Airways is attempting to buy a 10 percent stake in American Airlines, triggering U.S. antitrust oversight over deals of such size. American said in a regulatory filing today that the bid was unsolicited, but that there have been conversations between the CEOs of both airlines. Qatar submitted a filing under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Act, which is subject to review by the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division.