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Rates decline for week on 15-, 30-year mortgages

McLEAN, Va. (AP) -- Rates on 30-year-fixed mortgages fell this week, declining along with bonds yields amid easing concerns over inflation due to the still-slowing economy, Freddie Mac said Thursday.

The average rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage dropped to 5.04 percent this week from 5.16 percent last week. A year ago, the 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage averaged 6.04 percent.

The average rate this week on a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage was 4.68 percent, down from 4.81 percent last week, Freddie Mac said. The rate stood at 5.64 percent a year ago.

Average rates on five-year, adjustable-rate mortgages declined to 5.04 percent from 5.23 percent. Rates on one-year, adjustable-rate mortgages fell to 4.80 percent from 4.94 percent last week.

The rates do not include add-on fees known as points.

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Local Goodyear plant waits

It's too soon to say how Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co.'s plan to cut nearly 5,000 jobs will impact the company's Goodyear-Dunlop tire factory in the Town of Tonawanda, a company spokesman said today.

The company is not releasing any breakdown of its plans to reduce its employment by about 7 percent this year -- or the timing of the job cuts -- after a sharp drop in sales led to a loss of $330 million in the fourth quarter, said Keith Price, a Goodyear spokesman.

The new round of job cuts follow the elimination of about 4,000 jobs in the second half of last year, which included 140 positions at the Town of Tonawanda factory.

The company said the global economy depressed the number of tires sold in the recent quarter by 19 percent.

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Big loan for McDonald's

NEW YORK (AP) -- McDonald's Corp. said Thursday it secured a $431.2 million loan from three Japanese banks.

The nation's No. 1 hamburger chain said the 40 billion yen loan was issued by the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, Mizuho Corporate Bank and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp.

The duration of the loan -- which was initiated at the end of January -- is 5.2 years, the company added.

McDonald's spokeswoman Heidi Barker said the loan is for "general corporate purposes."

The loan comes at a time when both U.S. and European lenders have become far more cautious about extending financing.

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N.Y. Times ends dividend

NEW YORK (AP) -- The New York Times Co. said Thursday its board has decided to suspend the newspaper publisher's quarterly dividend in a move to preserve cash as advertising spending continues to decline amid the recession.

The suspension of the payout comes after New York Times slashed its dividend to 6 cents from 23 cents in November.

Last month, the Times company said its fourth-quarter earnings plunged 48 percent and online sales fell for the first time as the recession depressed spending by advertisers. The results still beat analyst estimates.

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