The Dow Jones industrial average, driven by futures-related buying programs, rose 10.24 points to 3,521.89.
MORTGAGE RATES FALL. Interest rates on 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages fell to 7.38 percent this week, matching a 21-year low reached eight weeks ago, the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp. said Thursday. The latest average was down from 7.48 percent a week earlier. On one-year adjustable rate mortgages, lenders were asking an average initial rate of 4.64 percent, down from 4.67 percent last week. The rates do not include add-on fees known as points.
NO TORONTO LISTINGS. Because of computer problems, no listings from the Toronto Stock Exchange appear today.
Thrift profits soar to record in quarter
Profits at the nation's savings institutions soared to a record $1.76-billion in the first quarter, but a troubling core of about 75 money-losing institutions remains, the government said Thursday.
Earnings by 1,802 private-sector S&Ls _ those that have not failed and been seized _ were up 14 percent from the same period a year ago, the Office of Thrift Supervision said.
It was the ninth consecutive profitable quarter and the best three-month showing since 1984 when the government began collecting profit and loss data quarterly.
TRADE DEFICIT GROWS. America's merchandise trade deficit hit $10.49-billion in April, the worst in more than four years, as imports remained near an all-time high and U.S. exports continued to suffer from weak overseas demand, the Commerce Department reported Thursday.
STUDY PREDICTS SLOW GROWTH. Growth will be slow, but Florida can expect to do better than most states between now and 2005, economists at the University of Florida said Thursday. Fewer people will be retiring and moving to Florida during those years because the low birth rate during the 1930s is now translating into fewer people reaching retirement age. In addition, cutbacks in defense spending will hurt the state. However, economists at the university's Bureau of Economic and Business Research say they still expect job growth averaging 2.3 percent a year in Florida, compared with 1.3 percent nationally. Most growth is expected to be in service industries, particularly business services and health care. Real income is projected to grow 2.9 percent a year in Florida and 1.9 percent nationally. Housing starts are expected to decline, but the construction boom in South Florida is continuing as people repair or replace homes and businesses after Hurricane Andrew.
FREDDY'S PULLS OUT. Freddy's Deep Discount Drug Stores is pulling out of the Tampa Bay market after closing its two remaining stores in Tampa and Seminole on Wednesday. Creditors forced Freddy's Rochester, N.Y.-based parent into an involuntary Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing in March. Investors bought the 37-store chain from the Melville Corp. in 1991. At its peak Freddy's had three stores in Tampa Bay.
JACK ECKERD CORP. The Clearwater-based drugstore chain has reported that earnings rose to $16.8-million in the first quarter that ended May 1, up sharply from $6.1-million in the period in 1992. Revenues rose 8.3 percent to $1.0-billion, up from $927.3-million. The company credited a widespread cost-cutting program and increased contract work.
AMR DOWNGRADES FORECAST. American Airline's parent said Thursday it isn't making as much money as expected this quarter, the second carrier in as many days to warn of weak results brought on partly by disappointing numbers of fliers. Thursday's news led to another sell-off in airline stocks. AMR Corp.'s stock fell nearly 10 percent in two days.
DOW DOLLAR YIELD
30 industrials vs. Japanese yen 30-year U.S. bond
3521.89 107.30 6.81
+10.24 +0.85 UNCH.