Chick-fil-A looking into possible hack
Chick-fil-A is looking into the possibility of a breach of credit cards used at some of its locations, according to an online site that broke the story about Home Depot's hack. Brian Krebs, who runs the website KrebsonSecurity.com, said financial institutions have traced credit card fraud to accounts used at Chick-fil-A stores around the nation. This is a response Krebs said he received from Chick-fil-A: "Chick-fil-A recently received reports of potential unusual activity involving payment cards used at a few of our restaurants. We take our obligation to protect customer information seriously, and we are working with leading IT security firms, law enforcement and our payment industry contacts to determine all of the facts."
U.S. pending home sales rose in November
The number of Americans signing contracts to buy homes rose modestly in November as a strengthening economy helped nudge some would-be home buyers. The National Association of Realtors said that its seasonally adjusted pending home sales index climbed 0.8 percent the past month to 104.8 from a revised 104 in October. The index remains slightly below its 2013 average but is 4.1 percent higher than last November. Pending sales are a barometer of future purchases. A one- to two-month lag usually exists between a contract and a completed sale. The number of contract signings increased in the Northeast, South and West in November, while declining in the Midwest.
Initial jobless claims rise but remain low
More Americans sought unemployment benefits last week, but the number of applications continues to be at historically low levels that suggest solid economic growth will continue. The Labor Department said that applications for unemployment benefits climbed 17,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 298,000. The four-week average, a less volatile measure, rose 250 to 290,750. That average has plummeted 17.5 percent in the past 12 months. Applications are a proxy for layoffs. For almost four months, applications for jobless aid have hovered at relatively low sub-300,000 levels.
Mortgage rates still hovering near lows
Average U.S. mortgage rates rose slightly this week, but the benchmark 30-year rate stayed near a 19-month low. Mortgage giant Freddie Mac said the nationwide average for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage increased to 3.87 percent this week, up from 3.83 percent last week. The rate hit 3.80 percent earlier in December, lowest since May 2013. The average for a 15-year mortgage also rose — to 3.15 percent this week from 3.10 a week earlier.