Stock market starts year with a dip as oil price drops

It was a sour start to 2014 for the stock market. After hitting record after record in 2013, U.S. stocks slumped on the first day of trading of the New Year on Thursday. A sharp drop in the price of oil helped drag energy stocks lower.

Technology stocks lost ground after analysts published gloomy notes on companies in the sector. Apple fell 1.4 percent after Wells Fargo cut its outlook on the stock.

The Dow Jones industrial average lost 135 points, or 0.8 percent, to close at 16,441.

Fox found in donkey meat sold at Walmart in China

Walmart says it’s considering taking legal action against “responsible parties” after DNA testing showed traces of fox meat in the donkey meat it sold in China.

The retailer recalled the donkey meat – which it said was considered a popular delicacy in parts of China – after DNA testing by a government agency. The company said Thursday it withdrew all products from the supplier, Dezhou Fujude Food Company, and that affected customers were offered compensation. It also says it plans to add DNA testing to its meat products in China.

Walmart has 404 stores in China.

Netflix tests new prices for sharing an account

Netflix, the largest subscription streaming service, is testing new prices based on the number of people who can use an account, a move that could force customers to pay more for additional family members.

It is offering some new customers plans that provide access on as many as four screens, letting household members watch different shows at the same time. The monthly prices range from $6.99 to $11.99, according to the Los Gatos, Calif.-based company’s website.

The test suggests Netflix, with more than 40 million subscribers, is trying to curb account sharing.

The standard Netflix streaming service costs $7.99 a month, and the DVD by mail subscription also starts at $7.99.

Mortgage rates increase for third week in a row

Average U.S. rates for fixed mortgages edged higher this week for the third straight week but remained low by historical standards.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac says the average for a 30-year loan rose to 4.53 percent from 4.48 percent last week. The average for the 15-year loan increased to 3.55 percent from 3.52 percent.

Mortgage rates are sharply higher than a year ago, when the 30-year fixed rate was 3.35 percent and the 15-year was 2.65 percent.

– From news service reports