Business digest: Ruling helps clear flight path for airlines’ merger - Omaha.com
Published Thursday, November 28, 2013 at 1:00 am / Updated at 1:15 pm
Business digest: Ruling helps clear flight path for airlines’ merger

A federal bankruptcy judge has cleared the way for American Airlines and US Airways to close their merger and create the world’s largest airline.

U.S. District Court Judge Sean Lane in New York ruled Wednesday that this month’s settlement of an antitrust lawsuit filed by the federal government didn’t upset American’s bankruptcy-reorganization plan, which is built around the merger. He rejected a request by a group of consumers to block the deal temporarily.

American said after the ruling that it plans to complete the merger on Dec. 9.

The Justice Department had sued to block the deal in August, saying that it would hurt competition and lead to higher prices. But regulators settled their case in exchange for the airlines’ promise to surrender some coveted landing rights at Reagan National near Washington and LaGuardia in New York and a few gates at five other airports.

AMR filed for bankruptcy protection in November 2011. AMR and US Airways announced a merger deal in February 2013. The new company will be called American Airlines Group Inc. and be based in Fort Worth, Texas. — AP

Leading indicators up for fourth month in a row

The index of U.S. leading indicators rose for a fourth straight month in October, reflecting gains in factory orders and applications to begin new-home construction.

The Conference Board’s gauge of the economic outlook for the next three to six months increased 0.2 percent last month after a 0.9 percent jump in September that was more than previously reported, the New York-based group said Wednesday.

In other reports Wednesday:

>> The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits dropped 10,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 316,000, the Labor Department said, a sign that workers are in less danger of being laid off. The less volatile four-week average fell 7,500 to 331,750. Both the first-time weekly jobless claims and the average have returned to pre-recession levels.

>> Orders for durable goods dropped 2 percent in October from September, the Commerce Department said. That follows a 4.1 percent increase in September from August. Durable goods are meant to last at least three years. The decline suggests companies may have been reluctant to invest during the partial government shutdown. — Bloomberg News and AP

Mortgage rates rise slightly

WASHINGTON — Average U.S. mortgage rates rose modestly this week, a move that makes home-buying a bit less affordable. Still, rates remain near historically low levels.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac says the average rate on the 30-year loan increased to 4.29 percent from 4.22 percent last week. The average on the 15-year fixed ticked up to 3.3 percent from 3.27 percent.

Rates have risen nearly a full percentage point since May after the Federal Reserve signaled it might slow its bond purchases by the end of the year. Rates peaked at nearly 4.6 percent in August. But the Fed held off in September and most analysts expect it won’t move until next year. — AP

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