Mortgage rates rise again after a big jump last week

Average long-term U.S. mortgage rates inched up still higher this week following last week's mammoth jump, the biggest in 35 years.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac reported Thursday that the 30-year rate ticked up to 5.81% this week, from last week's 5.78%. Last week's average — which jumped more than a half-point from the previous week — was the highest since November of 2008 during the housing crisis. One year ago, the average 30-year rate was 3.02%.

The average rate on 15-year, fixed-rate mortgages, popular among those refinancing their homes, rose to 4.92% from 4.81% last week. A year ago, the rate was 2.34%.

Last week, the Federal Reserve raised its benchmark rate by three-quarters of a point, the biggest single hike since 1994.


Bridge PR co-founder joins GE communications

Micah (Johnson) Stockett is joining GE as senior director of external communications where she will lead proactive media relations efforts.

She joins GE from Bridge Public Affairs, a Chattanooga public relations firm she co-founded in 2019. As chief operating officer and senior vice president of Bridge, Stockett helped lead one of the top-performing lobbying firms in the U.S.

Prior to Bridge, she was communications director for U.S. Senator Bob Corker, the Chattanooga Republican who retired from the U.S. Senate in 2019.


Wall Street headed higher for the week

Stocks shook off a midday slump and ended higher Thursday, keeping the market on track for its first weekly gain after three weeks of punishing losses.

Trading was wobbly throughout the day as investors remained focused on another day of testimony before Congress by Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell. The S&P 500 rose 1%, the Dow Jones Industrial Average added 0.6% and the Nasdaq rose 1.6%.

Powell reaffirmed the central bank's goal of "keeping inflation expectations well and truly anchored" as the Fed tries to rein in surging prices. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note, which helps set mortgage rates, fell to 3.09%.


Oil industry "positive" after Granholm event

Groups representing the oil industry and refiners say a meeting with Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm was productive and should send a signal to markets that the United States is committed to long-term investments in the oil and refining industry.

The meeting Thursday with Granholm and other top officials came as President Joe Biden called on Congress to suspend federal taxes on gasoline and diesel fuel as a way to relieve high gas prices that have frustrated drivers and spurred inflation.

The Democratic president also called on states to suspend their own gas taxes or provide similar relief, and he delivered a public critique of the energy industry for prioritizing profits over production.

— Compiled by Dave Flessner