IMPORTANT: It's a Serious Matter of Life

Stocks rise...Mortgage rates inch up...Jobless claims drop

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks are rising in morning trading on Wall Street, adding to gains for the week as investors remain focused on inflation and rising interest rates. The S&P 500 rose 0.5%, The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.3% and the Nasdaq rose 0.7%. Technology and health care stocks had some of the strongest gains. Energy stocks fell amid slipping oil prices. Fed Chair Jerome Powell is set to testify to congress for a second day. On Wednesday Powell said a recession was “certainly a possibility” as the U.S. central bank tries to rein in inflation. Treasury yields fell.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Average long-term U.S. mortgage rates inched up this week following last week’s mammoth jump, the biggest in 35 years. Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac reports that the 30-year rate ticked up to 5.81% this week, from last week’s 5.78%. Last week’s average was the highest since November of 2008 during the housing crisis. In its ongoing bid to tamp down inflation, the Federal Reserve last week raised its benchmark rate by three-quarters of a point, the biggest single hike since 1994. The Fed’s unusually large rate hike came after government data showed U.S. inflation rose in May to a four-decade high of 8.6%.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Fewer Americans applied for jobless benefits last week as the U.S. job market remains robust despite myriad economic pressures, including four-decade high inflation. The Labor Department says applications for jobless aid for the week ending June 18 fell to 229,000, a decline of 2,000 from the previous week. First-time applications generally mirror the number of layoffs. The four-week average for claims rose by 4,500 from the previous week, to 223,500. The total number of Americans collecting jobless benefits for the week ending June 11 was 1,315,000. That figure has hovered near 50-year lows for months.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Health officials have ordered vaping company Juul to pull its electronic cigarettes from the U.S. market. It’s the biggest blow yet to the embattled company that is widely blamed for sparking a surge in teen vaping. Today’s announcement by the Food and Drug Administration is part of a sweeping regulatory review of e-cigarettes, which faced little regulation until recently. Since last fall, the FDA has greenlighted a few e-cigarettes that account for a tiny share of the vaping market. To stay on the market, manufacturers must show their products help reduce the harm of smoking for adults, without appealing to kids.

WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House is launching a partnership with 11 East Coast governors to boost the growing offshore wind industry, a key element of President Joe Biden’s climate change plan. Biden administration officials will meet with governors and labor leaders today to announce commitments to expand important parts of the offshore industry. Those parts include manufacturing facilities, ports and workforce training and development. The Democratic president has a goal of deploying enough offshore wind power by 2030 to provide electricity to 10 million homes and support 77,000 jobs. The governors are from Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island.

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