Business briefs: Late-payment rate on mortgages declines
LOS ANGELES – Fewer U.S. homeowners are falling behind on their mortgage payments, aided by rising home values, low interest rates and stable job gains.
The trend brought down the national late-payment rate on home loans in the third quarter to a five-year low, credit reporting agency TransUnion said today.
The percentage of mortgage holders at least two months behind on their payments fell in the July-September quarter to 4.09 percent from a revised 5.33 percent a year earlier, according to the firm, whose data go back to 1992.
The latest rate also declined from 4.32 percent in the second quarter.
The last time the mortgage delinquency rate was lower was the third quarter of 2008.
Dow Jones average at high in light trading
NEW YORK – The Dow Jones industrial average rose to another all-time high Monday on Wall Street.
The market edged higher from Friday, when it got a lift from an unexpectedly strong U.S. jobs report for October. The surge in hiring made investors more optimistic that the U.S. economy is getting stronger.
Stock trading volume was among the lowest of the year, and bond markets were closed for Veterans Day. Traders on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange held a moment of silence in observance of the holiday.
The Dow has advanced for five straight weeks and is up 20 percent so far this year. The last time the Dow had a bigger gain for a whole year was 2003, when it rose 25 percent.
The Dow rose 21.32 points, or 0.1 percent, to 15,783.10. The index of 30 blue-chip stocks has closed at a record 35 times this year.
U.S., Europe resume talks on trade pact
BRUSSELS – The United States and the European Union sought Monday to get past a rough patch in diplomatic relations to resume talks on a free trade deal that would grow what is already the world’s biggest business relationship.
Negotiators for the Obama administration and the EU say an agreement would create jobs and boost growth in the two economies, which represent almost half of global output but are still not fully recovered from recession. The trade volume in goods and services between the two economies totaled $1.08 trillion last year.
The negotiations, however, are taking place against the backdrop of European pique over reported U.S. electronic espionage of EU citizens, including high-profile leaders like Germany’s Angela Merkel. The Greens in the European Parliament on Monday became the latest political group to call for the trade talks to be frozen in response.
Shire buys ViroPharma in $4.2 billion deal
LONDON – The drugmaker Shire PLC plans to strengthen its rare disease treatment portfolio by spending $4.2 billion in cash to buy the biopharmaceutical company ViroPharma Inc.
The Dublin-based drugmaker said Monday it will pay $50 for each share of ViroPharma, which is based in Exton, Pa. That represents a 27 percent premium on the U.S. company’s closing price Friday, the last trading day before the deal was announced.
ViroPharma focuses on serious diseases with few, if any, available therapies. Its products include Cinryze, which is used to prevent and treat attacks of hereditary angioedema, a rare genetic disorder that can cause dangerous swelling of the throat or larynx.