In brief: HP set to eliminate up to 30,000 jobs

FRIDAY, MAY 18, 2012

SAN FRANCISCO – Hewlett-Packard is poised to eliminate as many as 30,000 jobs to compensate for dwindling demand for personal computers as more people connect to the Internet on smartphones and tablets, according to reports published Thursday.

The looming cuts cited by Bloomberg News and the technology blog All Things D would trim as much as 9 percent of HP’s workforce, based on the 349,600 people employed by the Palo Alto, Calif., company as of last October.

Company spokesman Michael Thacker declined to comment on the reports.

30-year mortgage rate at lowest ever

WASHINGTON – Average U.S. rates for 30-year and 15-year fixed mortgages fell to record lows for the third straight week. The steady decline has made home-buying and refinancing more affordable than ever for those who can qualify.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac says the rate on the 30-year loan dipped to 3.79 percent. That’s down from 3.83 percent last week and the lowest since long-term mortgages began in the 1950s.

The 15-year mortgage, a popular option for refinancing, declined to 3.04 percent. That’s down from last week’s previous record of 3.05 percent.

Rates on the 30-year loan have been below 4 percent since early December. But so far, those cheap rates haven’t been enough to ignite home sales.

While sales of previously occupied homes picked up in January and February, they fell again in March and remain well below healthy levels. Low mortgage rates have helped boost builder confidence, which rose in May to a five-year high.

Verizon backpedals on ending data plans

LOS ANGELES – Verizon has backtracked on a statement made by one of its officials saying it would cut off grandfathered unlimited data plans.

The communications company said it has been “evaluating its data pricing structure for some time,” in an official statement posted on its website Thursday.

Verizon CFO Fran Shammo said users with unlimited data would have to sacrifice their plans before upgrading to the company’s 4G network, which upset many customers on the Web on Wednesday.

In its statement, Verizon did not reiterate Shammo’s statements, but it also did not definitely say that existing unlimited-data plans could go away.

“We will share specific details of the plans and any related policy changes well in advance of their introduction, so customers will have time to evaluate their choices and make the best decisions for their wireless service,” the statement read.


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