U.S. stocks make modest headway
NEW YORK, Jan. 10 (UPI) -- U.S. markets rose modestly Thursday morning following gains across Asia and Europe.
In mid-afternoon trading on Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average added 42.91 points, or 0.32 percent, to 13,433.42. The Nasdaq composite gained 1.11 points, or 0.04 percent, to 3,106.92. The Standard and Poor's 500 added 5.69 points, or 0.39 percent, to 1,466.71.
The 10-year treasury note fell 8/32 to yield 1.889 percent.
Against the dollar, the euro rose to $1.3261 from Wednesday's $1.3065. The dollar was higher at 88.14 yen from 87.88 yen.
In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 index added 0.7 percent or 74.04 points to 10,652.64.
In London, the FTSE 100 index added 0.05 percent, 2.86 points, to 6,101.51.
CFPB issues new mortgage rules
WASHINGTON, Jan. 10 (UPI) -- The U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Agency announced new mortgage rules Thursday meant to take the risk out of what is often a consumer's largest loan.
The agency that was born of the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial overhaul law said it was implementing the rule called the Ability-to-Repay Rule, as part of its mandate under that law.
CFPB Director Richard Cordray said the rule attempts to make lending safer for lending institutions, borrowers and the economy at large.
"Unaffordable loans helped cause the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression," Cordray said in a statement.
"People across the county were sold unsustainable mortgages. Some may have entered with their eyes open, seeking to ride the wave of housing prices, but many were led astray," he said.
Cordray noted a complaint heard "from a California man named Henry," who trusted his financial institution as he signed on to a loan valued at more than a half million dollars with a salary "of less than $50,000."
"Simply put, lenders should not set up consumers to fail," Cordray said.
The Ability-to-Repay rule forces lenders to do thorough financial checks on mortgage applicants and verify consumers' ability to afford the loan. It bans "teaser rates," designed to lure consumers into a financial transaction that becomes more expensive later.
The rule sets 43 percent as the top debt-to-income ratio.
"This requirement helps ensure consumers are only getting what they can likely afford," the agency said.
Slightly reduced standards will be allowed for what is called "Qualified Mortgages," loans for non-profit creditors that work with low and moderate-income consumers and, on a temporary basis, for loans that qualify for Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp. and the Federal National Mortgage Association protection.
ECB leaves lending rate unchanged
FRANKFURT, Germany, Jan. 10 (UPI) -- The European Central Bank announced it would keep its lending rate unchanged at 0.75 percent, as the economy in the eurozone remained in a slump.
At a press conference in Frankfurt, Germany, Thursday, ECB President Mario Draghi said "inflationary pressures remain contained ... the underlying pace of monetary expansion continues to be subdued."
Draghi said the eurozone's gross domestic product fell 0.2 percent from the first quarter to the second in 2012 and dropped 0.1 percent going into the third quarter.
"Available statistics and survey indicators continue to signal further weakness in activity, which is expected to extend into this year," he said.
The ECB expects a "gradual recovery" to start by the end of the year, he said.
First-time jobless claims rise by 4,000
WASHINGTON, Jan. 10 (UPI) -- The U.S. Labor Department said Thursday first-time jobless benefits claims rose by 4,000 in the week ending Saturday to 371,000 claims.
The four-week rolling average for the week was 365,750, an increase of 6,750 from the previous week's revised average of 359,000.
In the current week, the unadjusted advance number of first-time unemployment benefits claims under state programs totaled 552,043 for the week, an increase of 61,944 from the previous week, the Labor Department said.
For the comparable week of 2012, there were 646,219 initial claims.