Current conditions in Dubuque, IA
LOS ANGELES — Sales of previously occupied U.S. homes fell for the fourth month in a row in September, held back by surging mortgage rates and a thin supply of properties on the market. Existing home sales fell 2% last month from August to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 3.96 million, the National Association of Realtors said Thursday. That’s just above the 3.9 million unit pace that economists were expecting, according to FactSet. Sales sank 15.4% compared with the same month last year. The national median sales price rose 2.8% from September last year to $394,300. It slipped 3.1% from August.
The average rate on the benchmark 30-year home loan rose to 7.63% from 7.57% last week, mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday. A year ago, the rate averaged 6.94%. As mortgage rates rise, they can add hundreds of dollars a month in costs for borrowers, limiting how much they can afford in a market already out of reach for many Americans.
Applications for U.S. unemployment benefits fell to their lowest level in eight months last week as businesses continue to retain workers despite elevated interest rates meant to cool the economy and labor market.
Jobless claim applications fell by 13,000 to 198,000 for the week ending Oct. 14, the Labor Department reported Thursday. That’s the fewest since January and about 14,000 fewer than analysts expected.
Jobless claim applications are considered a proxy for layoffs.
Despite the low level of weekly first-time jobless benefit applications, the number of Americans remaining on the unemployment rolls — known as “continuing claims” — jumped to its highest level in three months.
Overall, 1.73 million people were collecting unemployment benefits the week that ended Oct. 7, about 29,000 more than the previous week and the most since early July.
LONDON — The European Union has demanded Meta and TikTok detail their efforts to curb illegal content and disinformation during the Israel-Hamas war.
The 27-nation bloc’s executive branch on Thursday formally requested that the social media companies provide information on how they’re complying with pioneering new digital rules aimed at cleaning up online platforms. Meta and TikTok were asked to explain what they’ve done to reduce the risk of spreading and amplifying terrorist and violent content, hate speech and disinformation.
WASHINGTON — The Justice Department has secured a $9 million settlement with Ameris Bank over allegations it avoided underwriting mortgages in predominately Black and Latino communities in Jacksonville, Fla., and discouraged people there from getting home loans. It’s the government’s latest settlement over a practice known as redlining.
The department says Ameris focused on mostly White neighborhoods and has never operated a branch in a Black and Hispanic neighborhood. The bank denies violating fair lending laws and says it wanted to avoid litigation by agreeing to the deal, which a judge must approve and doesn’t include civil monetary penalties. Federal officials say the bank has nearly $25 billion in assets and operates in nine states across the Southeast and mid-Atlantic.
DALLAS — American Airlines is reporting a $545 million loss for the third quarter due to higher labor costs. And it is cutting its forecast of full-year profit. The airline said Thursday that its results were dragged down by nearly $1 billion in special charges related to a new contract with pilots.
American’s loss stands in contrast with profits of more than $1 billion turned in by its two closest rivals, United and Delta, which also have expensive new contracts with their pilots. American’s revenue is about flat with last year, while United and Delta saw increases of more than 10% each.
OMAHA, Neb. — Union Pacific’s third-quarter profit fell 19% as the railroad hauled about 3% fewer shipments and costs remained high, but the average speed of its trains improved 5% as new CEO Jim Vena began to tweak the operations.
Union Pacific said Thursday it earned $1.53 billion, or $2.51 per share. Those results topped Wall Street expectations. Vena said he’s focused on improving safety and service at the railroad. More cuts are possible but major changes aren’t expected because Union Pacific already overhauled its operation several years ago. The railroad’s revenue slipped 10% to $5.9 billion in the quarter because of the lower volumes and the lag between when fuel prices increase and when the railroad’s fuel surcharge kicks in.
DETROIT — Owners of Toyota and Lexus electric vehicles in North America will be able to charge on Tesla’s network starting in 2025, and the Japanese automaker also will start using Tesla’s EV connector. In a statement Thursday, Toyota says it will adopt Tesla’s North American Charging Standard plug.
Existing Toyota EVs with the Combined Charging System plug will be able to use an adapter to charge at Tesla stations, also starting in 2025. Toyota’s agreement with Tesla gives EV owners access to more than 12,000 Tesla plugs in North America, the statement said. Tesla’s Supercharger network is coveted by other automakers because it has more direct current fast-charging plugs in the U.S. than any other network, and its stations are in prime locations along freeway travel corridors.
The Associated Press
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