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Business briefs

Mortgage rates creeping up

Homeowners who delayed locking in super-low mortgage rates - think close to 4 percent for a 30-year fixed - may have waited too long. Rates are creeping back up, in part because of the pending tax-cut deal in Washington. Now those in the market to buy or refinance have to decide whether to take what's available or wait - and run the risk that rates will keep rising. Freddie Mac, the government-backed company that buys and sells mortgages, said Thursday the average rate on the 30-year mortgage rose to 4.61 percent from 4.46 percent last week. It hit 4.17 percent a month ago, the lowest level in the 40 years that comparable records have been kept. The rate on a 15-year fixed loan, a popular refinancing option, rose to 3.96 percent from 3.57 percent last month, the lowest since 1991.

MSG in deal to buy L.A. Forum

Madison Square Garden is set to add a historic West Coast arena to its properties with a deal to buy the Forum. The New York-based company said in a statement Thursday it has reached an agreement for "the option to purchase the L.A. Forum, subject to due diligence and other conditions." MSG's properties include the NBA's Knicks, the NHL's Rangers, Radio City Music Hall and its namesake arena. Once known as the "Fabulous Forum," the arena in Inglewood, Calif., was home to the NBA's Lakers and the NHL's Kings until 1999, when they left for the new Staples Center. Taken over by Faithful Central Bible Church in 2000, the Forum still hosts concerts and other events.

Stocks mixed on pending tax cut

Stocks closed mixed Thursday as traders waited to see whether a tax compromise brokered by the White House and Republicans will pass the Democratic-controlled House. The Standard & Poor's 500 index inched higher. The index rose 4.72, or 0.4 percent, to 1,233. It was the second straight day that the S&P index reached a new high for the year. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 2.42 points, or less than 0.1 percent, to 11,370.06. The Nasdaq composite index rose 7.51, or 0.3 percent, to 2,616.67. Eight of the 10 company groups in the S&P 500 index rose. Financial companies led the way with a 1.3 percent gain. - AP


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