Saturday, March 29, 2003

Business digest

Compiled from wire reports

Trucking union approves contract

Union workers at Roadway Corp., Yellow Corp. and two other trucking companies approved a five-year contract covering 65,000 workers, avoiding a dispute that could have led customers to switch to non-union rivals.

Some 84 percent of drivers, dockworkers and clerks at the two biggest U.S. truckers, and at Arkansas Best Corp. and a US Freightways Corp. unit ratified the agreement, said Rob Black, a spokesman for the Teamsters union. Hourly wages will rise 2.2 percent a year to $22.11 after five years, and the companies agreed to pay $3.10 an hour to preserve benefits such as employer-paid health insurance premiums.

Mortgage rates climb for second week

Mortgage rates rose sharply for the second week in a row, with benchmark 30-year mortgage rates at their highest level since late January.

The average interest rate on a fixed-rate 30-year mortgage was 5.91 percent for the week ending March 28, the mortgage company Freddie Mac reported Thursday in its weekly nationwide survey.

Last week, rates on 30-year mortgages were 5.79 percent, after dipping to a record low rate of 5.61 percent the week before. That rate was the lowest since Freddie Mac began tracking 30-year mortgages in 1971. Records that reach back earlier than Freddie Mac's indicate that the rate is the lowest since the early 1960s.

The recent rise in rates reflected a hope in financial markets that the war in Iraq would be swift, economists said. That caused investors to shift money into stocks from bonds. As a result, bond prices declined and interest rates on bonds rose.

Scooter sales accelerating
Scooter or motorcycle? States vary
Stock market showing resilience
Analysts differ on whether 5/3 is cleared to acquire
United assault on work rules could multiply
Convention center meeting for contractors
Tenn. new site of Toyota plant
Cautious consumers tighten hold on wallets
Business digest
Tristate summary
What's the Buzz?

HIGGINS: Personal Finance
Stock Market Game
Rate Report