Stocks edged lower Wednesday as minutes from the most recent Federal Reserve meeting gave investors few new clues as to when U.S. interest rates may rise.
Applications for U.S. home mortgages fell last week as interest rates rose, the Mortgage Bankers Association reports.
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Average long-term mortgage rates arrested their five-week decline this week but the benchmark 30-year loan remained below 4 percent, Freddie Mac says.
The Fed plans to keep a key interest rate at a record low to support a job market that isn't yet healthy and help lift inflation from unusually low levels.
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Just a day after the market had its best day of 2014, it had its worst. The Dow plunged 334 points as fear about the global economy sent investors fleeing.
Wall Street had its best day of the year, Wednesday, erasing a steep loss from the day before. Investors were reacting to minutes from the Fed's latest policy meeting.
The Fed's debate on whether to change its interest rate guidance heated up last month, with officials saying the central bank risked misleading investors.
Home prices in the U.S. increased at the slowest pace in 20 months in July, reflecting sluggish sales and a greater supply of houses for sale.
Average rates for long-term mortgages declined slightly this week, after marking their largest one-week gain of the year the previous week.
The stock market rose Wednesday after the Federal Reserve told investors to expect low interest rates for a while yet, pushing the Dow to a record high.
Despite adjustments for the Labor Day holiday the previous week, mortgage applications surged last week, even amid rising rates.
Financial markets are awaiting the end of a Federal Reserve meeting Wednesday for any clearer signal about the timing of an interest rate increase.
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