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Stocks finish mixed...Amazon pulls out of NYC...Mortgage rates down

February 14, 2019

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks finished mixed Thursday. The S&P 500 index dropped 7 points to close at 2,745. The Dow fell 103 points to 25,439. While the Nasdaq composite edged up just over 6 points to 7,426. Crude oil futures ended higher with the near-month contract for the benchmark grade closing at $54.41 a barrel.

UNDATED (AP) — The Education Department’s independent watchdog says the agency hasn’t done enough to stop student loan servicers from breaking federal rules. An audit released Thursday by the department’s inspector general finds that officials who oversee student loans haven’t properly tracked problems and rarely penalize servicers. The report says the department required servicers to return money for noncompliance just four times in five years.

UNDATED (AP) — U.S. long-term mortgage rates fell this week to a 12-month low, an enticement for prospective homebuyers in the upcoming season. The 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage rate declined to 4.37 percent compared to 4.38 percent a year ago.

UNDATED (AP) — U.S. and Chinese negotiators opened talks Thursday on a sprawling trade dispute as Beijing reported its January exports rebounded despite President Donald Trump’s tariff hikes. While both sides have expressed optimism, Trump has said that the talks will help him decide if he will escalate the fight over China’s technology ambitions by going ahead with more penalty March 2 on $200 billion of Chinese goods.

NEW YORK (AP) — Amazon left New York City jilted on Valentine’s Day — scrapping plans to build a massive headquarters campus in Queens amid fierce opposition from local politicians angry about nearly $3 billion in tax breaks and the company’s anti-union stance. Along with thousands of jobs, the Seattle company had planned to spend $2.5 billion building its new offices in the Big Apple.