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Business briefs, April 21

Business briefs, April 21
Modified: April 19, 2013 at 11:37 pm •  Published: April 21, 2013

In brief

Auto loans get longer

As car prices keep rising, some auto loans have lengthened to 96 months, or eight years.

It's an attempt to make payments more affordable, but financial experts say such loans can be a bad idea.

In March, nearly one-third of auto loans were for 72 months or longer, a record high, according to J.D. Power and Associates.

Because vehicles last longer today, consumers might justify taking a longer loan. The average age of a vehicle today is 11 years.

The trend toward longer loan terms might be aiding U.S. auto sales. New-car sales in March were the highest since August 2007, according to

Blackhawk trades high

Blackhawk Network, the gift and prepaid card unit of supermarket chain Safeway, rose in its trading debut after its IPO raised $230 million.

Blackhawk Network Holdings Inc. priced 10 million shares at $23 each, above the expected range of $20 to $22. That suggested solid investor demand. Blackhawk Network sells gift cards from brands such as, iTunes, and Macy's, as well as American Express, MasterCard and Visa. It also distributes prepaid, reloadable cards.

Shares now trade on the Nasdaq under “HAWK.” The stock gained $3.01, or 13 percent, to close at $26.01.

From wire reports


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