Rates on 30-year mortgages dropped sharply this week, falling to the lowest level in five months, as the government’s dramatic takeover of mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac had the hoped-for impact of lowering mortgage rates.
Freddie Mac reported that its nationwide survey found that 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages dipped to 5.93 percent this week, down from 6.35 percent last week.
Rates on 15-year, fixed-rate mortgages, a popular choice for refinancing, fell to 5.54 percent, down from 5.90 percent last week.
Trade deficit hits 16-month high
The U.S. trade deficit soared in July to a 16-month high, the Commerce Department said, as oil imports hit an all-time high. Economists expect slowing economies in Europe and Asia will reduce export growth later this year.
Ford says it will cut 4,200 jobs
Ford Motor Co. has said that it wants to cut its blue-collar work force by another 4,200 employees, according to a person briefed on a presentation to union officials.
The automaker is offering buyout and early retirement packages at manufacturing operations in Ohio, Michigan, Kentucky and Indiana as it continues efforts to trim its factory ranks to match lower demand for its products.
Wholesale gas prices rising
Gasoline prices jumped to unprecedented levels in the wholesale markets Thursday as Hurricane Ike tore across the Gulf of Mexico, threatening to strike Texas and its refineries.
Crude oil on the futures market, however, sank below $101 a barrel to its lowest settlement price since late March – a sign that investors are still worried about waning global demand.