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Mortgage rates drop for fourth week in a row

WASHINGTON – Fixed mortgage rates have fallen to historic lows for a fourth straight week and are likely to fall further.

The average on a 30-year fixed mortgage fell to 4.01 percent from 4.09 percent this week, Freddie Mac said Thursday. That’s the lowest rate since the mortgage buyer began keeping records in 1971. The last time long-term rates were lower was in 1951, when most long-term home loans lasted just 20 or 25 years.

The average on a 15-year fixed mortgage, a popular refinancing option, ticked down to 3.28 percent. Economists say that’s the lowest rate ever for the loan.

Associated Press

Local moving company fined over permit

A Spokane company, AAA Movers, is among seven residential moving firms fined Thursday by the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission for operating without a permit.

AAA Movers, at 7807 N. Regal St., was fined $5,000 for five violations. It has filed for a valid permit, and the utilities commission agreed to dismiss $4,500 of that fine after one year if the company meets all requirements and obligations.

The other companies cited are Last Minute Movers, Innovative Moving Systems and Professional Relocation Services, all of Bremerton; Save-A-Lot Moving Co., of Everett; and BestGuys Moving & Labor and Empire Moving & Storage, both of Snohomish.

Tom Sowa

Snap Fitness opens two new locations

Two Snap Fitness locations will open in Spokane and Hayden Lake in the next month.

A north Spokane Snap Fitness franchise will open Saturday at 14017 N. Newport Highway.

Another franchise will open on Nov. 1 at 231 W. Hayden Ave. in Hayden Lake.

The two locations will be the eighth and ninth Snap Fitness locations in this area, according to a company news release. Both new franchises are owned by Jeff Spencer, who owns four other Snap Fitness centers here.

Snap Fitness, which has locations nationwide, offers monthly memberships to around-the-clock workout centers that include treadmills, cardio equipment and weight training.

Tom Sowa

Japanese auto parts firm to pay $200 million fine

WASHINGTON – A Tokyo-headquartered auto parts supplier has agreed to plead guilty and pay a $200 million fine in what the Justice Department said Thursday is an investigation of an international price-fixing and bid-rigging cartel .

As a result of the conspiracy involving Furukawa Electric Co. Ltd. and three of its executives, “automobile manufacturers paid noncompetitive and higher prices for parts in cars sold to U.S. consumers,” said Sharis Pozen, the acting assistant attorney general for the Justice Department’s antitrust division.

The three executives at Furukawa who have agreed to plead guilty will serve prison time in the U.S ranging from a year and a day to 18 months, the Justice Department announced.

Furukawa supplies automotive wire harnesses and other products.

Associated Press