US mortgage rates climb to a nearly 4-year peak

Long-term U.S. mortgage rates jumped this week to their highest level in nearly four years. It’s a sign that the prospect of higher inflation is steadily increasing the cost of borrowing to buy a home.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said the average rate on 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages rose to 4.38 percent this week, up from 4.32 percent last week. The average is the highest since April 2014.

Trump administration must implement energy limits

A federal judge in San Francisco has ordered the Trump administration to implement energy-use limits for portable air conditioners and other products that were adopted during the last days of the Obama presidency.

U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria said Thursday that the Department of Energy was required to publish the limits after a 45-day period to identify any errors and does not have the authority to continue to assess them after that date.

Demand and economy up; so are interest rates

U.S. builders are maintaining an optimistic view on sales as the economy improves and demand for homes remains strong.

The National Association of Homebuilders/Wells Fargo builder sentiment index released Thursday remained at 72 as expected. That’s still just two points shy of an 18-year high in December. At the same time, long-term U.S. mortgage rates jumped this week to their highest level in nearly four years.

US stocks keep gaining as industrial companies rise

Technology companies led indexes higher Thursday as US stocks rose for the fifth day in a row. Apple and Cisco were among the big winners in tech, while industrial companies including Boeing also rose.

Energy companies continued to struggle. The gains helped erase part of the steep losses the market suffered in early February.

US factory output flat for 2nd straight month

U.S. factory output was unchanged in January for the second straight month after three months of healthy gains. The Federal Reserve said production fell in wood products, aircraft and a category including concrete and glass. The past two months’ readings suggest that factory production has slowed in the new year.

US Bank pays $613M over money laundering charges

U.S. Bancorp said Thursday it will pay $613 million in fines and penalties to settle allegations that the bank had poor anti-money laundering controls, which put the bank repeatedly at risk of being used as a conduit for criminals.

Regulators said the Minneapolis-based bank “willfully” violated the Bank Secrecy Act, failing to report suspicious activity.

Sears: 4th quarter sales drop but it expects a profit

Sears Holdings Corp. said sales dropped during the critical fourth quarter, but the ailing retailer expects a profit, helped by the windfall from the new U.S. tax reform. Sears, which operates its namesake stores and Kmart, said sales in stores open at least a year fell 15.6 percent.

CEO aims to pare losses and get ‘the love back’

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi is focused on cutting the company’s massive losses and “getting the love back” after a year of damaging revelations about the ride-hailing service’s sometimes heartless treatment of its employees, drivers, regulators and rivals.