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Business Digest: Austin medical company lands $2M in funding


VENTURE FUNDING

Austin medical company lands $2M in funding

Austin-based Consortia Health Holdings Inc. said Thursday it had closed a $2 million preferred round of financing.

The round was led by Ponil Ventures, a current investor, and included Golden Seeds and Belle Michigan as new investors.

Consortia Health Holdings is a health care company that helps U.S. physicians treat patients dealing with incontinence, pelvic pain, sexual dysfunction and other pelvic disorders.

The funding will help the company continue its growth, co-founder Gail Page said.

An estimated 200 million people suffer from incontinence worldwide, according to Consortia Health Holdings, with the economic impact of pelvic floor disorders to the U.S. health care system estimated to surpass $80 billion per year by 2020.

WALL STREET

U.S .stocks close lower for third straight day

Investors were in a selling mood at the end of a mostly subdued week of trading, sending U.S. stocks lower for the third day in a row Thursday.

Energy stocks led the broad decline, which gathered momentum in the final hour of trading ahead of the long Easter holiday weekend. The slide marked the lowest close for the stock market since Feb. 13 and came on a day when several major banks reported their latest quarterly results, kicking off the company earnings season.

Traders also weighed the potential for rising geopolitical tensions following news that the U.S. attacked an Islamic State tunnel complex in eastern Afghanistan with the largest non-nuclear weapon ever used in combat by the U.S. military.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 index slid 15.98 points, or 0.7 percent, to 2,328.95. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 138.61 points, or 0.7 percent, to 20,453.25. The Nasdaq composite index lost 31.01 points, or 0.5 percent, to 5,805.15.

Small-company stocks fell more than the rest of the market. The Russell 2000 index lost 13.96 points, or 1 percent, to 1,345.24. More stocks fell than rose on the New York Stock Exchange.

ECONOMY

U.S. jobless aid applications decline again

WASHINGTON (AP) — Fewer Americans sought unemployment benefits last week, ongoing evidence of a stable job market and greater security for workers.

Weekly applications for jobless aid dipped 1,000 to a seasonally adjusted 234,000, the Labor Department said Thursday. Requests for benefits in the prior week were revised up 1,000 to 235,000. The four-week average, a less volatile measure, fell to 247,250 from 250,250.

Over the past year, the number of people collecting unemployment benefits has fallen 6.9 percent to 2 million.

Applications are a proxy for layoffs. They have stayed below 300,000, a level linked with broader job growth, for 110 weeks. That’s the longest period at such a low level since 1970, when the U.S. population was much smaller.

By holding onto workers, employers are also more likely to expect the economy to grow and potentially hire.

The unemployment rate has fallen to a healthy 4.5 percent as the gradual recovery from the recession is approaching its eighth year.

MORTGAGE INDUSTRY

Average rate on 30-year loan rate falls to 4.08%

WASHINGTON — Long-term U.S. mortgage rates fell for a fourth straight week, with the benchmark 30-year rate marking a new low for the year.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday the rate on 30-year fixed-rate home loans declined to 4.08 percent this week from 4.10 percent last week. That brought the rate under its previous 2017 low of 4.09 percent reached on Jan. 19. The 30-year rate stood at 3.58 percent a year ago and averaged 3.65 percent in 2016, the lowest level in records dating to 1971.

The rate on 15-year mortgages eased to 3.34 percent from 3.36 percent last week.

To calculate average mortgage rates, Freddie Mac surveys lenders across the country between Monday and Wednesday each week. The average doesn’t include extra fees, known as points, which many borrowers must pay to get the lowest rates.



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