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Business Briefs

Reported by Star-Bulletin staff & wire

Thursday, August 24, 2000

Mortgage rates up but still below 8%

WASHINGTON -- Mortgage rates inched up this week but still hovered below the 8 percent mark. The average interest rate on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages climbed to 7.99 percent, up from an eight-month low of 7.96 percent reached last week, according to a survey released today by mortgage broker Freddie Mac.

A year ago, the 30-year mortgage rate was 7.80 percent. In mid-May, 30-year rates hit a five-year high of 8.64 percent.

Fifteen-year mortgages crept up to an average 7.72 percent this week from 7.70 percent last week. One-year adjustable-rate mortgages averaged an initial rate of 7.37 percent, up from last week's rate of 7.21 percent.

Treasury buys back $750 million in debt

WASHINGTON -- The Treasury Department bought back $750.2 million of the national debt today, the latest in a series of debt reductions. Because the outstanding 30-year Treasury bonds carry higher yields than the current market yield on comparable securities, the department paid sellers $318 million in premiums to cash in early.

Treasury bought back 3 issues of 30-year bonds maturing between February 2010 and November 2014. The bonds carried yields ranging from 12 percent to 13.25 percent. In March, Treasury initiated the first buyback of debt in 70 years, snapping up a total of $19.75 billion in bonds through 12 operations. Treasury has said it would like to buy back up to $30 billion of debt this year.

Treasury bought back the debt using a "reverse auction" in which the government selects offers on a competitive basis based on the lowest prices. Offers must be submitted in increments of $100,000.

24/7 Media grabs Internet marketer

NEW YORK -- 24/7 Media Inc., an Internet advertising company, said today it has purchased closely held Website Results, an Internet marketing company with customers such as eBay Inc., for $95 million in stock. Website Results helps direct consumer and business traffic to customer Web sites from queries performed on search engines. It has more than 200 clients.

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