Aerospace: Boeing still working on a fix
Boeing was forced to delay the software update for its troubled 737 Max jetliners this week, said David Gelles in The New York Times. “The company deemed further work was needed” on a fix to the plane’s anti-stall system, which has been implicated in two fatal crashes of the Max jetliner in five months. It is not clear why the update wasn’t ready, but the decision came after a review in which various employees vetted the work. The Federal Aviation Authority grounded the planes in mid March, and the company has halted deliveries of new jets.
Housing: Homeowners rush to lower rates
A sizable one-week mortgage-rate drop “unleashed a run on refinances last week,” said Diana Olick in CNBC.com. Refinancing applications surged 39 percent in the past week after the average interest rate on a 30-year mortgage fell 9 percentage points to 4.36 percent. The weekly volume was up 58 percent from a year ago. The average refinanced loan was a record $438,900. However, mortgages to purchase a home are up just 10 percent from last year. “Smaller purchase loans exceeded those of higher loan sizes,” a sign that first-time buyers are taking advantage of lower rates.
Bankruptcy: Sears cuts off life insurance
An undisclosed number of retired Sears employees learned this week that the retailer had ended their life insurance benefits, said Kate Gibson in CBSNews.com. The troubled megastore, which filed for bankruptcy protection in October, had started paring back its employee benefits as far back as 1997. “But it still covered life insurance policies worth at least $5,000 for eligible retirees, with most policies ranging from $8,000 to $10,000.” The National Association of Retired Sears Employees is considering legal action, arguing that a 2002 settlement “stipulated the retiree life insurance could only be canceled” if Sears went out of business.
Amazon: Lower prices at Whole Foods
Amazon announced it was planning to slash prices on more than 500 products at Whole Foods stores this week, said Heather Haddon in The Wall Street Journal. Prices will be reduced by an average of 20 percent—the most significant price cut since Amazon bought Whole Foods in 2017. Amazon has been trying to bring its reputation for low costs and convenience to Whole Foods, in an effort to “counter a sense among some consumers that shopping there required a ‘Whole Paycheck.’”