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June 06, 2013 01:25 PM

Thursday Afternoon Business Brief

Stock prices continue to bounce around today. After dropping 217 points yesterday, the Dow was down as much as 100 points in afternoon trading before recovering somewhat. The S&P and Nasdaq were also down.

  • The average American household has only recovered about 45 percent of the wealth it lost to the Great Recession, but America as a whole has regained it all. The Federal Reserve says U.S. household wealth jumped $3 trillion to $70.3 trillion in the first quarter, passing its pre-recession peak of $68 trillion. Affluent households have benefited most because most of the gain has come from higher stock prices.
  • Mortgage rates remain low by historical standards, but they are creeping higher. Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac says the rate on the 30-year loan jumped to 3.91 percent from 3.81 percent last week. The rate on the 15-year loan rose to 3.03 percent from 2.98 percent. Concerns that the Fed may scale back bond purchases are pushing rates higher.
  • Reynolds American Inc. has revamped its electronic cigarette. The company is launching its Vuse e-cigarette in Colorado and is planning to expand nationally. The battery-powered cigarettes heat a liquid nicotine solution, creating vapor that users inhale. Reynolds says while many smokers are trying e-cigarettes, few switch entirely.
  • The border village of Belcoo is looking good these days as Northern Ireland prepares for the upcoming G-8 summit. But critics say that's a problem. Belcoo has been hit hard by the collapse of Ireland's Celtic Tiger economy and some shops now stand empty. Summit organizers have put window-sized posters depicting fully stocked shelves and crowds of customers on two derelict buildings to make them appear like thriving businesses. One former shop owner says it amounts to a lie and covers up the reality of hard times.
  • Business
  • Economy/Stocks
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