Mortgage rates fall for the first time in seven weeks

06/20/2013 4:18 PM

06/20/2013 4:18 PM

Mortgage rates

Mortgage rates fell for the first time in seven weeks, a move that could be temporary as the Federal Reserve considers scaling back its bond purchases amid signs of an improving economy.

The average rate for a 30-year fixed mortgage fell to 3.93 percent from 3.98 percent last week, mortgage lender Freddie Mac said.

The average 15-year rate fell to 3.04 percent from 3.10 percent.

Facebook video

Facebook is adding video to its Instagram photo sharing service, challenging more established offerings by Twitter and Google’s YouTube.

The new feature lets users capture, upload and share clips as long as 15 seconds, Facebook said. The service includes features brought over from Instagram such as filters.

Fashion recycling

Swedish retailer H said it has a solution to tight cotton supplies and the piles of old garments choking landfills worldwide: Convince consumers to recycle castoffs by offering discounts on yet more clothing.

H, which won notoriety three years ago when some of its unsold inventory was shredded and left for trash on a New York City street, said the initiative will limit waste in the fast fashion industry the company helped spawn.

Insurance rebates

Health insurance rebates that some consumers received last year will total much less for 2013, but the Obama administration said that’s a good thing.

The Health and Human Services Department said employers and individual policyholders will receive $500 million in rebates this summer, half the $1.1 billion returned last year. But the department said the lower rebates mean insurance companies have learned to be more efficient and consumers are saving up front.

Flying penguin

Southwest Airlines has added another creature to its fleet — Penguin One.

The Boeing 737-700 painted with images of penguins will help mark Southwest’s 25 years of partnership with SeaWorld Parks Entertainment.

Penguin One joins a dozen other Southwest jets with unique paint schemes, including Shamu One and Shamu Two, featuring images of SeaWorld whales.

Maryland ban

The first statewide ban on the sale of crib bumper pads is taking effect in Maryland beginning Friday.

Health officials say crib bumper pads offer no meaningful benefit and pose potentially serious risks to infants, including suffocation.

The department will issue a warning to someone who ships or sells crib bumper pads to a purchaser in Maryland. Further violations can bring a fine of up to $500 for each crib bumper shipped or sold.

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