Freddie Mac surveys lenders across the country between Monday and Wednesday each week to compile its mortgage rate figures.

Norwegian Air ends some flights to U.S., Thailand

COPENHAGEN, Denmark — Low-cost carrier Norwegian Air Shuttle said Wednesday it is ending some of its long-haul routes to the United States and Thailand from Scandinavia, citing technical issues with the Rolls Royce engines on Boeing 787s and low demand.

Norwegian Air said it would not resume flying to New York, Los Angeles, Bangkok and Krabi, Thailand, from Copenhagen and Stockholm after the winter break.

It will continue to fly to the U.S. from Oslo and routes to Europe are not affected.

Senior Vice President Matthew Wood said Scandinavia “is not large enough to maintain intercontinental flights from Oslo, Stockholm and Copenhagen.”

He added that Norwegian has “had challenges with the Rolls Royce engines,” meaning “more aircraft on the ground. This affects the route program.”

Like other airlines trying to provide budget flights on long-distance routes, the Oslo-based company has struggled to make profits.

This month it said it had raised 2.5 billion kroner ($273 million) in gross proceeds through a private placement and a convertible bond issue of $150 million which allows the company to be “fully funded through 2020 and beyond.”

In March, Norwegian grounded its 18 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft after two deadly crashes which had affected demand, operating expenses and production negatively. It also said it was postponing the delivery of Airbus aircraft — both A320neos and A321LRs — to reduce its capital expenditure by approximately $570 million in 2019 and 2020.

Jacob Schram was chosen as to become CEO from Jan. 1, succeeding Bjoern Kjos, who turned the small domestic carrier into a global airline over 17 years as chief executive.

U.S. durable goods orders rebound in October, rising 0.6%

WASHINGTON — Orders to U.S. factories for big-ticket manufactured goods rebounded last month on a surge in demand for military aircraft.

The Commerce Department said today that orders for durable goods — which are meant to last at least three years — rose 0.6% in October after dropping in September. Orders for military aircraft increased 18.1%. Excluding defense, durable goods orders blipped up just 0.1%.

The numbers reflected a strike at General Motors, settled in late October. Orders for cars and auto parts fell 1.9% in October and 2.9% in September.

American manufacturing has been hurt by a trade war with China and a slowing global economy. So far this year, durable goods orders are down 0.8%. Orders for civilian aircraft have plunged 38.5% this year after Boeing suspended production of the 737 Max while regulators investigate two deadly crashes.

Overall the increase in durable goods orders from September to October orders was better than economists had expected. But the September figure was downgraded to a 1.4% drop, worse than the 1.1% decrease Commerce originally announced.

A closely watched category that tracks business investment rose 1.2% last month, the biggest jump since January, reversing a 0.5% drop in September.

Amazon to double holiday hiring to 200,000

NEW YORK — Amazon plans to hire 200,000 people for the busy holiday shopping season, double the number of workers it hired a year ago.

The hiring spree is a sign of how quickly the online shopping giant is growing. To keep up with online orders, Amazon has been opening more warehouses, package sortation hubs and delivery stations. It’s also working to speed up delivery for its Prime members to one day from two.

Other retailers plan to hire in smaller numbers. Target said it would hire 130,000 this year, up 4% from a year. And Kohl’s planned to hire 90,000, about the same from 2018.

U.S. mortgage rates edge up slightly

WASHINGTON — U.S. mortgage rates crept slightly higher this week but remain at low levels that could encourage more home-buying.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Wednesday that the average rate on a fixed 30-year mortgage ticked up to 3.68% from 3.66% the previous week. The average 15-year mortgage was unchanged at 3.15%.

Borrowing costs have fallen sharply in the past year, helping lift home sales and construction. The 30-year rate was 4.8% at the same time last year, while the 15-year rate was 4.25%. Sales of existing homes increased 4.6% in October compared with a year ago, while new home sales have soared by more than 30%.

In the last year, Amazon said it has promoted about 19,000 workers who packed and shipped orders to manager or supervisor roles.The Associated Press

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