Subaru recall grows to fix stall problems
Subaru is recalling nearly 400,000 vehicles in the U.S. to fix two problems that can cause them to stall.
The first recall covers about 229,000 Outback and Legacy vehicles from the 2018 model year. Government documents say a software problem can stop the low-fuel warning light from illuminating and make the miles-to-empty display inaccurate. The problem can cause drivers to run out of fuel and stall, increasing the risk of a crash.
The other recall covers the 2012 to 2014 Impreza, and the 2013 BRZ, XV Crosstrek and Toyota Scion FR-S.
The engine valve springs in about 166,000 of the vehicles can fracture, causing the engines to malfunction or stall.
Dealers will replace the springs. Toyota and Subaru jointly designed the FR-S sports car.
In both recalls, owners will be notified starting this month. In the fuel indicator recall, dealers will reprogram the software. If reprogramming tools aren't ready, owners will be notified by letter again when they are. In the valve springs recall, if parts aren't ready, owners will be notified a second time of when they should take vehicles in for repairs.
Government documents don't list any crashes or injuries caused by either problem. Messages were left Thursday seeking comment from Subaru.
Mortgage rates up to eight-year high
U.S. mortgage rates jumped this week to the highest level in almost eight years, a trend that is pulling down home sales and slowing home price growth.
Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday that the average rate on a 30-year, fixed rate mortgage rose to 4.94 percent, from 4.83 percent last week. That is the highest level since February 2011. A year ago the rate was 3.9 percent.
The average rate on a 15-year, fixed rate loan increased to 4.33 percent, from 4.23 percent last week.
Higher rates have kept many would-be purchasers on the sidelines. Sales of existing homes have fallen for six straight months, and sales of newly-built homes have declined for four months.
Freddie Mac says home price increases are slowing as a result, particularly in higher-priced coastal cities.
Mortgage rates have risen along with the yield on the 10-year note, which has jumped in the past year on expectations of additional short-term rate increases by the Federal Reserve, faster economic growth and potentially higher inflation.
The yield on the 10-year reached 3.23 percent Thursday, up nearly a full percentage point from 2.33 percent a year ago.
Fed leaves rates unchanged for now
The Federal Reserve has left its key policy rate unchanged but signaled that it plans to keep responding to the strong U.S. economy with more interest rate hikes. The next rate increase is expected in December.
The Fed kept its benchmark rate in a range of 2 percent to 2.25 percent. A statement it issued Thursday after its latest policy meeting portrayed the economy as robust, with healthy job growth, low unemployment, solid consumer spending and inflation near the Fed's 2 percent target.
Despite a U.S. trade war with key nations, weaker corporate investment and a sluggish housing market, the Fed is showing confidence in the economy's resilience. To help control inflation, it has projected three rate increases in 2019 after an expected fourth hike of the year next month.
Analysts saw the central bank's decision to highlight the economy's strength and to make few changes in its policy statement as a sign that it remains on track to raise rates next month.
"The Fed's economic assessment remains very upbeat, noting declining unemployment and continued strong growth," said Greg McBride, Bankrate.com's chief financial analyst. "All signs point to a rate hike at the December meeting."
German auto makers raise diesel fix offers
Germany's transport minister says automakers are prepared to offer up to 3,000 euros ($3,430) per car to help fix some older diesel vehicles with excessive emissions.
Andreas Scheuer said after meeting industry representatives Thursday that Volkswagen, Daimler and BMW are committed to ensuring their customers "remain mobile with their cars" but BMW, unlike the other two, won't support engine hardware retrofits.
The German government has been pressing automakers to fix older diesel cars as it tries to placate drivers angered by the prospect of an increasing number of diesel driving bans in many major cities.
News agency dpa reported that the 3,000-euro offer, up from a previous level of 2,400 euros, would apply to drivers in Germany's most-polluted cities who don't take incentives to trade up to cleaner new cars.