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Thursday Afternoon Business Brief

January 30, 2014, 1:34 PM

Thursday Afternoon Business Brief

Stocks are higher on Wall Street this afternoon. Investors are cheering the government's report that the U.S. economy grew at a robust 3.2 percent in the fourth quarter. The Dow is off its high for the day, but remains up more than 80 points. The S&P 500 is up more than 1 percent, while the Nasdaq has added close to 2 percent.

  • Facebook's stock has rocketed to new highs today after the social networking company reported stronger-than-expected results for the fourth quarter. Strong mobile advertising revenue fueled the gains. Facebook says more than half of its advertising revenue now comes from mobile. The company only started showing mobile ads in 2012. Facebook shares were about 14 percent in afternoon trading, after reaching an all-time high of $62.44 earlier in the day.
  • Federal prosecutors are asking a judge to order Bank of America to pay $2.1 billion in penalties for knowingly selling bad home loans to mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. In documents filed today, the government says it wants Bank of America to make a payment based on its total revenue from the fraud instead of the profit it made. Bank of America says that would be too much.
  • Average rates for fixed mortgages have edged lower this week. Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac says the average for the 30-year loan fell to 4.32 percent from 4.39 percent last week. The average for the 15-year loan eased to 3.40 percent. Mortgage rates hit record lows roughly a year ago and have since risen about a full percentage point.
  • Bitter cold and big snowstorms in the eastern half of the country have hurt the restaurant business, with some merchants saying their sales have been cut in half this month. Diners and coffee shops have closing early, and waitresses are seeing their tips dwindle. However, one deli owner in Cincinnati says his takeout and delivery orders have never been so good, though his business is down overall.

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