Originally created 02/12/99

Additional business news



Interest on mortgages increases

WASHINGTON -- The average interest rate on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages rose to 6.77 percent this week, up from 6.75 percent last week, Freddie Mac, the mortgage company, reported Thursday.

Fifteen-year mortgages, a popular option for refinancing, averaged 6.4 percent this week, up from 6.38 percent.

Volvo profits up 168 percent

STOCKHOLM, Sweden -- Swedish vehicle maker Volvo AB reported a 168 percent surge in profits for the fourth quarter last year as higher sales across the board overcame weakness in the company's Asian operations.

Volvo, which agreed last month to sell its automobile division to Ford Motor Co., earned 3.08 billion kronor ($397 million) in the three months ending Dec. 31, up sharply from $143 million in the same period a year ago.

MCI sells computer division

NEW YORK -- MCI WorldCom is selling its computer services business to Electronic Data Systems Corp. for $1.67 billion as part of a broader deal in which 13,000 employees will switch companies.

Greenspan backs consolidation

WASHINGTON -- Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan waded into this year's debate on overhauling the nation's financial services laws, brushing aside concerns that encouraging the creation of one-stop shopping would bring a dangerous concentration of economic power.

The Fed chief testified as Congress began the latest round of debate on legislation to remove the Depression-era barriers between those industries.