30-year fixed mortgage rates back below 5%

Mortgages rates have dipped below 5 percent again, four weeks before a government program that is helping keep rates low is scheduled to run out. The average rate on a 30-year fixed rate mortgage was 4.97 percent this week, down from 5.05 percent a week earlier, mortgage finance company Freddie Mac said. Rates dropped to a record low of 4.71 percent in December and have hovered around 5 percent since, kept down by a Federal Reserve campaign to spur homebuying by lowering how much it costs to get a home loan.

Urban Outfitters plans to launch bridal brand

Aiming to maintain the growth that led to record 2009 sales and profits, Urban Outfitters Inc. disclosed plans to start another retail brand next year, this one aimed at the $60 billion wedding industry. The Philadelphia specialty retailer, whose Urban Outfitters and Anthropologie stores target an upscale clientele, said it plans to launch the as-yet-unnamed bridal business by Valentine's Day 2011, first online and later with a store opening.

TiVo beats Dish in DVR patent dispute

TiVo Inc. prevailed yet again in a long-running dispute with Dish Network Corp. over patents for digital video recorders, as a federal appeals court cleared the way Thursday for TiVo to collect hundreds of millions of dollars. TiVo shares jumped more than 50 percent. Despite repeatedly losing, however, Dish said it will seek a review of the three-judge panel's decision by the full U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. TiVo said the decision, if it stands, would let it collect at least $300 million from Dish.

Pioneer Press parent's bankruptcy plan OK'd

A bankruptcy judge approved Affiliated Media Inc.'s reorganization plan and freed the publisher of the St. Paul Pioneer Press and 53 other daily newspapers from most of its debt as it tries to boost its sagging revenue. The confirmation of the reorganization plan in Delaware puts Affiliated Media, the holding company for MediaNews Group Inc., on track to emerge from bankruptcy protection by April 1 and possibly as early as March 18, company spokesman Seth Faison said. The quick approval produced a big payday for Affiliated's president, Joseph Lodovic IV. He qualified for a $250,000 bonus by getting the plan confirmed before April.

FROM NEWS SERVICES