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Thursday Afternoon Business Brief

August 21, 2014, 1:20 PM

Thursday Afternoon Business Brief
  • Stocks are on pace for a fourth straight day of gains. The Standard & Poor's 500 index is on track to beat its record-high close set last month. Trading is light on Wall Street with many investors on vacation.
  • A trade group for the nation's big airlines predicts that air travel over the Labor Day weekend will rise 2 percent from the same holiday last year. Airlines for America expects 14 million people to fly within the U.S. in the seven days ending Sept. 2. Separately, the auto club AAA forecasts that 34.7 million Americans will travel at least 50 miles from home by car or plane over a 5-day period ending on Labor Day. That would be a 1.3 percent increase over 2013.
  • United Airlines is upgrading first-class food options and replacing snacks with full meals on some of its shortest flights. The changes come as American Airlines goes the other way, eliminating hot meals on most flights under 1,000 miles starting Sept. 1. United has been looking for ways to win back some of its frequent business travelers who defected to other carriers following a rocky merger with Continental Airlines.
  • Average long-term U.S. mortgage rates have declined this week and the rate for 30-year loans has hit its low for the year. Mortgage company Freddie Mac says the nationwide average for a 30-year mortgage fell to 4.10 percent from 4.12 percent last week. The average for a 15-year mortgage slipped to 3.23 percent from 3.24 percent.
  • Honda is recalling 12,000 Fit subcompacts to replace the steel front bumper beams so the cars are more crash-resistant. The tiny Fit was redesigned for the 2015 model year, and initially it flunked a key front-end crash test done by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Honda engineers strengthened the welds on the beams and got the Fit an "Acceptable" rating in a second test, and earned it a "Top Safety Pick" designation. Honda is voluntarily recalling all 2015 Fits now on the road in North America.

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