Mortgage rates

From our wire services

The average U.S. rate on the 30-year fixed mortgage rose this week to 4.51 percent, a two-year high. Rates have been rising on expectations that the Federal Reserve will slow its bond purchases this year that have kept rates at record lows.

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Retail sales up

Revenue at stores opened at least a year rose 4.1 percent in June compared with the same month a year ago, a preliminary tally of 13 retailers by the International Council of Shopping Centers shows. The data is a positive sign for the back-to-school season, which is the second-biggest shopping period behind the winter holidays.

Nev. win increases

Nevada casinos won $897.3 million in May, about a 1 percent increase from the same month a year ago. The Las Vegas Strip posted a 6 percent monthly gain over May a year ago. Casino winnings in Reno jumped 10 percent.

Jobless claims rise

The number of people applying for U.S. unemployment benefits rose 16,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 360,000. The Labor Department said Thursday that the less volatile four-week average increased 6,000 to 351,750.

Foreclosures decline

Lenders initiated the foreclosure process on 57,286 homes last month, the lowest level for any month in 7 years, foreclosure listing firm RealtyTrac Inc. said. Scheduled home auctions doubled last month in New Jersey and Florida, which also posted the highest foreclosure rate of any state - nearly three times the national average - in the first six months of the year.

Flight delays

The U.S. Department of Transportation says only 79 percent of domestic flights arrived on time in May, down from 83 percent in the same month last year. Five planes were stuck on airport tarmacs for more than three hours, which is longer than allowed by federal regulations. Cancellations ticked up slightly from a year ago.

Caesars spin-off

Caesars Entertainment is taking steps to spin off its online gambling venture into a separate company. The new company would also include the Planet Hollywood casino hotel and a Baltimore casino under development. Once the world's largest gambling operator, Caesars has struggled with debt recently.

Mass. slots bids

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission voted to qualify Mass Gaming & Entertainment, a subsidiary of Rush Street Gaming, and PPE Casino Resorts, affiliated with Cordish Cos., to continue their bids for the one slots parlor license allowed under the casino gambling law.

Sprint plans

Sprint is introducing a new wireless plan that guarantees new and existing subscribers unlimited voice, text and data plans, in a move to differentiate its service from rivals AT&T and Verizon. The offers unlimited data for $30 a month on smartphones and $10 per month on traditional phones. Voice and text cost $50 for the first line and less for additional phone lines.

Phone as camera

Nokia showed a new phone, the Lumia 1020, with a powerful camera that promises sharper images, even in low light. It will run Microsoft's Windows Phone system.

Vehicles restricted

China plans to increase the number of cities that restrict vehicle purchases in a bid to fight pollution and traffic congestion. With more than 13 million cars sold in China last year, motor vehicles and their emissions have emerged as the chief culprit for the air pollution in large cities.

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