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Stocks started the first trading week of 2022 lower with growth stocks sharply lower after interest rates rose when the Federal Reserve signaled they could dial back their easy monetary policy more aggressively than some expected. Minutes from the Fed’s December meeting showed the central bank is planning to shrink their balance sheet in addition to hiking rates.

Mortgage rates rose markedly in the first week of 2022 — potentially setting the tone for a year in which economist expect interest rates to move steadily higher.  The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.22%.  This is the highest level for the benchmark mortgage rate since May 2020.  The 15-year fixed-rate mortgage, meanwhile, rose 10 basis points to an average of 2.43%. 

According to the Federal Reserve U.S. consumer credit soared by $40 billion in December, more than double expectations.  That translated into an 11% annual gain — the largest move in a single month in 20 years.  Revolving credit, such as credit cards, rose at a 23.4% rate.  That’s the highest rate since April 1998.  The jump may reflect households using credit more freely. During the pandemic, many households curtailed their credit card debt or used stimulus funds to pay down balances.

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