BY Associated Press
Friday, February 15, 2013
2/15/13 at 2:51 AM
Stock market wavers as Germany struggles
Renewed worries about Europe held back the major stock market indexes Thursday.
Germany's economy shrank more than expected late last year, new reports show. That's a troubling sign for the U.S. because sales to Europe have been a boon for American companies.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 9.52 points to close at 13,973.39.
The Standard & Poor's 500 index edged up 1.05 to 1,521.38. The Nasdaq composite index rose 1.78 to 3,198.66.
The S&P 500 index has climbed 1.6 percent this month and has already gained 6.7 percent for the year.
MetLife no longer bank holding company
MetLife Inc., which sold its bank deposits in January, says it is no longer a bank holding company.
The insurer said Thursday that it received approval for the status change from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and the board of governors of the Federal Reserve.
It had been a bank holding company since 2001, and as a result it faced tougher regulation after the financial crisis and was subject to the Federal Reserve's "stress tests," which assessed how banks would weather another serious downturn.
MetLife failed those tests, and as a result the Fed has not allowed MetLife to increase its dividend or buy back shares.
MetLife said in 2011 that it did not want to be a bank holding company anymore and wanted to focus on its insurance business. After that it sold off some non-core business: it recently sold its $70 billion mortgage servicing unit to JPMorgan Chase & Co. and sold $6.4 billion in bank deposits to General Electric Co. in January.
Mortgage rate stays at 3.53 percent
The nation's benchmark mortgage rate is unchanged for a second week, remaining near historic lows.
Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday that the average 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage stayed at 3.53 percent. That's near the 3.31 percent reached in November, which was the lowest on record going back to 1971.