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Thursday Afternoon Business Brief

May 10, 2012, 1:21 PM

Thursday Afternoon Business Brief

Wall Street is on track to break a six-day losing streak. Stocks are moving higher today after a government report showed weekly jobless claims continue to fall, suggesting employers may accelerate hiring this month.

  • The ailing U.S. Postal Service is reporting quarterly losses of $3.2 billion. Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe says the mail agency is incurring significant losses because Congress has failed to pass legislation allowing it to eliminate Saturday mail delivery and reduce health and other labor costs.
  • Gasoline prices have dropped 5 percent since peaking last month. The national average fell to $3.739 per gallon today, down nearly 20 cents since hitting a high of $3.936 on April 6. And compared with a year ago, regular unleaded is 21 cents cheaper.
  • The government's consumer-finance watchdog is weighing an overhaul of the fees consumers pay to obtain mortgages. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau says it might ban origination fees that vary with the size of the loan, known as "origination points." Lenders would charge the same flat fee for all loans.
  • U.S. consumers have had their fill of expensive, contract-based phone plans. Figures from T-Mobile USA, along with earlier reports from other companies, indicate that the U.S. wireless industry lost subscribers from contract-based plans for the first time during the first quarter. Contract-based plans are the most lucrative for phone companies.

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