You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to myStatesman.com

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.

GREAT REASONS TO SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

  • IN-DEPTH REPORTING
  • INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING
  • NEW TOPICS & COVERAGE
  • ePAPER
X

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and bonus content- exclusively for subscribers. Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks

X

Welcome to myStatesman.com

This subscriber-only site gives you exclusive access to breaking news, in-depth coverage, exclusive interactives and bonus content.

You can read free articles of your choice a month that are only available on myStatesman.com.

Business Digest: Hyundai recalls 978,000 cars for seat belt issue


AUTOMAKERS

Hyundai recalls 978,000 cars for seat belt issue

DETROIT — Hyundai is recalling 978,000 cars in the U.S. because the front seat belts could detach in a crash and fail to hold people. The recall covers Sonata midsize sedans from the 2011 through 2014 model years, and the Sonata hybrid from 2011 through 2015.

Hyundai says in government documents that a fastener for a seat belt anchor may not have been fully latched during assembly. If that happens the belts can detach. The company says it knows of one minor injury caused by the problem.

The trouble was discovered in September when an owner reported that the front passenger belt in a 2013 Sonata came loose in a collision.

Owners will be notified starting April 7. Dealers will inspect the seat belt anchor system and repair it if needed.

MORTGAGE INDUSTRY

Average rate on 30-year loan rises to 4.30%

WASHINGTON — Long-term U.S. mortgage rates rose this week for a second straight week, posting new highs for the year. The markets were anticipating an increase in a key interest rate by the Federal Reserve, which the Fed announced Wednesday.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday the rate on 30-year, fixed-rate loans climbed to 4.30 percent from 4.21 percent last week. The benchmark rate stood at 3.73 percent a year ago and averaged 3.65 percent through 2016, the lowest level in records dating to 1971.

The rate on 15-year mortgages increased to 3.50 percent from 3.42 percent last week.

The Fed’s move marked the second time in three months that the central bank has raised its benchmark interest rate. The Fed also forecast two additional hikes this year. The Fed action reflects a consistently solid U.S. economy and will likely mean higher rates on some consumer and business loans.

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 most borrowers must pay to get the lowest rates.

INTERNET

Google adding ‘offensive’ flag option for content

Google is trying to improve the quality of its search results by directing review teams to flag content that might come across as upsetting or offensive.

With the change, content with racial slurs could now get flagged under a new category called “upsetting-offensive.” So could content that promotes hate or violence against a specific group of people based on gender, race or other criteria.

While flagging something doesn’t directly affect the search results themselves, it’s used to tweak the company’s software so that better content ranks higher. This approach might, for instance, push down content that is inaccurate or has other questionable attributes, thereby giving prominence to trustworthy sources.

The review teams — comprised of contractors known as “quality raters” — already comb through websites and other content to flag questionable items such as pornography. Google added “upsetting-offensive” in its latest guidelines for quality raters. Google declined to comment on the changes, which were reported in the blog Search Engine Land and elsewhere.

ECONOMY

Japan’s central bank holds steady on rate, stimulus

TOKYO — Japan’s central bank opted Thursday to retain its ultra-lax monetary stimulus, citing U.S. policy changes as one of the risks for the global economic outlook.

The Bank of Japan gave no indication it was leaning toward cutting back on the massive purchases of government bonds it is using to support the world’s No. 3 economy by injecting hundreds of billions of dollars into the economy every year.

The Bank of Japan said that Japan’s economy was on a “moderate recovery trend.” But it lacks the dynamism seen in the U.S. economy that led the Federal Reserve to raise the federal funds rate Wednesday by 0.25 percentage points to a range of 0.75 to 1 percent. The bank kept its benchmark policy rate at minus 0.1 percent.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Business

Business Digest: Citigroup to pay $97.4 M in money laundering case

FINANCE Citigroup to pay $97.4 M to settle money laundering case For years, Citigroup employees feared that millions of dollars the bank was moving to Mexico might be suspicious. Yet in many cases, the bank did not alert regulators or step up its monitoring for money laundering, federal prosecutors said Monday. Even as the Citigroup unit Banamex USA...
2 more Blue Bell flavors return to stores this week
2 more Blue Bell flavors return to stores this week

Blue Bell’s slow return to normalcy continues following a nationwide recall prompted by listeria fears nearly two years ago, with the Brenham-based creamery rolling out two more flavors this week. Lime sherbet and orange sherbet are both once again available beginning Monday, the company said. Blue Bell has been gradually adding back...
Up the Ladder

Financial services Citizens Inc. has named Jeff Conklin chief accounting officer company. Health care St. David’s Medical Center has named Esther Chung chief operating officer and Lynn O’Neill chief nursing officer. Medical Elligo Health Research has named Rebecca Kush scientific innovation officer. Retail Whole Foods Market has named the...
Top Local Business Stories of the Week
Top Local Business Stories of the Week

HOME SALES Area home sales, home prices surge in April: Central Texas home sales rose just over 3 percent in April and the median price of those sales hit $305,000 — the second-highest level ever, according to new data from the Austin Board of Realtors. The median also set a record for an April. To date, the all-time high for the median home-sales...
America’s fiscal sword of Damocles

“Every man, woman and child lives under a nuclear sword of Damocles, hanging by the slenderest of threads, capable of being cut at any moment by accident or miscalculation or by madness.” President John F. Kennedy delivered those frightening words in front of the United Nations back in 1961. Not much has changed over the decades &mdash...
More Stories