Market continues to deliver a solid rebound
Stocks closed higher on Wall Street Thursday, extending the market's solid rebound this week and delivering another round of record highs for the major indexes. The S&P 500 index, Dow Jones industrial average and Nasdaq each hit all-time highs as they extended their winning streak to a fourth day. The S&P 500 index rose 11.09 points, or 0.3%, to 3,345.78. The Dow gained 88.92 points, or 0.3%, to 29,379.77. The Nasdaq climbed 63.47 points, or 0.7%, to 9,572,15. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks fell 4.46 points, or 0.3%, to 1,677.46. Benchmark crude oil rose 20 cents to settle at $50.95 a barrel.
Long-term mortgage rates fall again
U.S. long-term mortgage rates fell this week for the third straight week, as the benchmark 30-year loan marked its lowest point in three years. Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday the average rate for the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage declined to 3.45% from 3.51% last week. The key rate stood at 4.41% a year ago. The average rate on a 15-year mortgage eased to 2.97% from 3% last week. The historically low rates have been a boon for potential home buyers. A positive outlook has come from signs of strength in the U.S. economy recently and expectations that the global economy could start to expand more quickly after being held back by trade conflicts.
New York Times' profits rise in Q4
The publisher of the New York Times posted a 20% gain in fourth-quarter profits as the paper continued to add digital subscribers, although ad revenue declined both online and in print. In 2019, the Times set a goal of 10 million subscribers by 2025, and hit the halfway mark in the latest quarter with 5.3 million print and digital subscribers. In the fourth quarter, it added 342,000 new digital subscriptions. It added more than 1 million in 2019.
107K Audi-brand vehicles are recalled
Volkswagen is recalling 107,000 older vehicles sold by its Audi luxury brand because Takata driver's air bag inflaters may not function properly or they could hurl shrapnel in a crash. The vehicles may have one of the 1.4 million air bag inflaters that Takata recalled in December. They have a new and distinct problem from previous Takata recalls, but still can explode with too much force and blow apart a metal canister. The new problem has led to at least one death. Many of the cars in the Audi recall are more than two decades old. They include certain 2000 and 2001 TT Roadsters, the 2000 TT Coupe, the 1999 A8, and the 1998 through 2000 A6 and A4. Unlike previous Takata recalls, this batch of inflaters does not contain volatile ammonium nitrate. But they can still malfunction due to a manufacturing error, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said in documents posted on its website Thursday.