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Thursday Afternoon Business Brief

October 4, 2012, 1:31 PM

Thursday Afternoon Business Brief

Stock prices are rising, helped by a report on new jobless claims that found the job market largely unchanged in the last week. That comes ahead of tomorrow's monthly unemployment report.

  • Retailers reporting their September sales numbers told of mixed results. Overall, a trade group says sales were up 3.9 percent, less robust than the rise seen in August.
  • Freddie Mac says rates on fixed mortgages fell to fresh record lows for the second straight week. The declines have led more homeowners to refinance, a trend that could help jumpstart the economy. The rate on the 30-year loan dropped to 3.36 percent.
  • The worst drought in decades shows no sign of let up in several key Midwest farming states. That's worrying farmers harvesting the summer's withered corn crop that their winter crops might also be at risk.
  • American Airlines says it has finished inspecting 48 planes and fixing loose seats on some of them. A spokeswoman says engineers were still determining how many planes need repairs. The carrier says all of the planes are back in service.

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