Mortgage interest rates tick downward this week

Average long-term U.S. mortgage rates declined this week, approaching their lows for the year. The average rate on a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage was back at its 2014 low of 4.12 percent, down from 4.14 percent last week and 4.40 percent in the same week a year ago, according to Freddie Mac’s weekly survey.

On a 15-year, fixed-rate mortgage, the average rate this week of 3.24 percent compared with 3.27 percent last week and 3.44 percent a year ago.

Eurozone recovery grinds to a halt amid Ukraine fears

After four quarters of meager growth, the fragile economic recovery in the 18-country eurozone creaked to a halt in the second quarter.

Growth was zero. It was only 0.2 percent in the first quarter.

The European Central Bank may decide further stimulus is needed, especially if the Ukraine crisis mushrooms with a Russian invasion that would scare off business investment even more – and extend one bad quarter into an outright recession.

The most expensive U.S. stock reaches milestone: $200,000

Naysayers have been calling shares of Warren Buffett’s company overpriced for decades.

But Berkshire Hathaway Class A stock, which first topped $1,000 in 1983, on Thursday surpassed $200,000.

Berkshire has long had the most expensive U.S. stock. Buffett never split Berkshire’s A shares, although he did create more affordable Class B shares in 1996 that now sell for just over $135 each.

Sluggish sales, higher costs prompt Wal-Mart to reassess

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. cut its annual profit outlook on Thursday amid sluggish sales, higher-than-expected health care costs and the need to invest more in its e-commerce operations.

A key revenue measure was flat in its U.S. discount stores, though it reversed five straight quarters of declines. Meanwhile, the number of customers has now fallen seven quarters in a row.

– From news service reports