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Business briefs

Today's top business stories.
Oklahoman Published: May 1, 2012

Business briefs


Spending slowly rises

Americans increased their spending more slowly in March, suggesting some are worried their paychecks aren't growing fast enough. The Commerce Department said Monday that consumer spending increased just 0.3 percent last month after a 0.9 percent gain in February. Income grew 0.4 percent following a 0.3 percent gain in February. But after-tax income when adjusted for inflation increased just 0.2 percent in March. The gain followed two months of declines.

Interest rates jump

Interest rates on short-term Treasury bills rose in Monday's auction, and rates on three-month bills climbed to their highest level since late February. The Treasury Department auctioned $30 billion in three-month bills at a discount rate of 0.095 percent, up from 0.08 percent last week. Another $28 billion in six-month bills sold at a discount rate of 0.145 percent, up from 0.13 percent last week. The three-month rate was the highest since these bills averaged 0.115 percent on Feb. 27. The six-month rate was the highest since these bills averaged 0.15 percent on April 9. The discount rates reflect that the bills sell for less than face value. For a $10,000 bill, the three-month price was $9,997.60 while a six-month bill sold for $9,992.67. That equals an annualized rate of 0.096 percent for the three-month bills and 0.147 percent for the six-month bills. Separately, the Federal Reserve said Monday that the average yield for one-year Treasury bills a popular index for making changes in adjustable rate mortgages, was unchanged at 0.18 percent last week and the week before.

Homeownership falls

The American dream of homeownership is at its lowest point in 15 years, the latest evidence of a housing market still far from recovering five years after the housing crash. New figures, released Monday by the Census Bureau, show the rate of U.S. homeownership fell in the first three months of this year to 65.4 percent. That's down from 66.4 percent in the first quarter last year. The last time the rate hit 65.4 percent was in the first quarter of 1997. The rate peaked in the fourth quarter of 2004, during the highflying days of the housing boom.

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