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TALKING POINTS

Mortgage rates keep climbing

A for sale sign is posted in front of a home in Sacramento, Calif., Thursday, March 3, 2022.Rich Pedroncelli/Associated Press

MORTGAGES

Rates keep climbing

Average long-term US mortgage rates rose this week for the sixth straight week, marking new highs not seen in 15 years, before a crash in the housing market triggered the Great Recession. Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac reported Thursday that the average on the key 30-year rate climbed to 6.70 percent from 6.29 percent last week. By contrast, the rate stood at 3.01 percent a year ago. The average rate on 15-year, fixed-rate mortgages, popular among those looking to refinance their homes, jumped to 5.96 percent from 5.44 percent last week. — ASSOCIATED PRESS

RETAIL

Bed Bath & Beyond continues to struggle

The current crisis at Bed Bath & Beyond, which on Thursday reported its lowest second-quarter revenue since 2006, is the culmination of years of management missteps and a dysfunctional corporate culture, according to people who have worked at the company. The company said sales in the three months that ended Aug. 27 fell 28 percent from a year earlier, the fifth consecutive quarter in which the retailer reported a double-digit fall in revenue. Bed Bath & Beyond said the job cuts and store closings it announced earlier this month are helping to cut costs. — BLOOMBERG NEWS

INTERNATIONAL

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India delays rule on airbags

India, home to the world’s deadliest roads, has pushed back by a year a rule that would have made it compulsory to install at least six airbags in cars as the auto industry continues to grapple with supply disruptions. The delay is a setback for India’s road safety that was highlighted following tycoon Cyrus Mistry’s death in an accident after the car he was in hit a divider on a bridge. India, with the second-biggest road network globally, has only 1 percent of the world’s vehicles but accounts for 11 percent of all crash-related deaths. Indian drivers are known for flouting road rules, jumping traffic lights, and driving on the wrong side resulting in frequent accidents. India’s roads are narrow, congested, and poorly maintained. — BLOOMBERG NEWS

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Signage for Porsche AG inside the Frankfurt Stock Exchange, operated by Deutsche Boerse AG, following the automaker's initial public offering (IPO) in Frankfurt, Germany, on Thursday, Sept. 29, 2022.Alex Kraus/Bloomberg

AUTOMOTIVE

Porsche shares a hot seller in market debut

Amid fears of recession, tumbling stock prices and heightened market turmoil, the biggest market debut of the year is that of a carmaker whose vehicles can cost six digits. Porsche, the 91-year-old German company behind iconic models like the 911, became the breakout star of the markets when it began trading on Thursday, in one of Europe’s largest initial public offerings ever. Shares in Porsche rose 2 percent in their debut on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange, to 84 euros each, valuing the company at 77 billion euros, or $75 billion. That defied the broader decline in European market indexes on Thursday, including in Germany’s DAX. — NEW YORK TIMES

SOCIAL MEDIA

Meta freezes hiring, restructures

Meta Platforms Inc., the owner of Facebook and Instagram, said it will freeze hiring and restructure some teams in an effort to cut costs and shift priorities. Chief executive Mark Zuckerberg announced the social networking company’s freeze during a weekly Q & A session with employees, according to a person in attendance. He added that the company would reduce budgets across most teams, even teams that are growing, and that individual teams will sort out how to handle headcount changes — whether that means not filling roles that employees depart, shifting people to other teams, or working to “manage out people who aren’t succeeding,” according to remarks reviewed by Bloomberg. Meta’s further cost cuts and hiring freeze are its starkest admission that advertising revenue growth is slowing, amid mounting competition for users’ attention. — BLOOMBERG NEWS

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INTERNATIONAL

Unemployment among Saudi women at an all-time low

Unemployment among Saudi women fell to the lowest level on record during the second quarter even as they face more competition as the labor force expands. Joblessness among Saudi females was at 19.3 percent, the lowest level since Bloomberg first started tracking quarterly data in 2012. Overall unemployment among citizens fell to 9.7 percent during the second quarter, also a new low, according to data published Thursday by the kingdom’s General Authority for Statistics. Increasing the participation of women in the kingdom’s labor force is a priority for Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s ‘Vision 2030′ economic transformation plan. — BLOOMBERG NEWS

TOYS

Lego to hold the line on prices

Lego signaled it will not push up the prices of its colorful building-block sets ahead of Christmas despite soaring inflation in many of its key markets. The world’s largest toymaker said strong sales and a supportive family owner mean it can often absorb higher prices without passing them onto customers. The decision by the Danish toymaker will pile further pressure on rivals Hasbro and Mattel ahead of the holidays, as they all face higher prices for energy, plastic materials, and freight amid globally accelerating inflation. — BLOOMBERG NEWS

Virgin Atlantic Airways is giving all crew members the option of wearing either of its Vivienne Westwood-designed uniforms no matter their gender identity. Anthony Devlin/Bloomberg

AIRLINES

Virgin Atlantic to let crew members choose uniforms to match gender identity

Virgin Atlantic Airways is giving all crew members the option of wearing either of its Vivienne Westwood-designed uniforms — the burgundy trousers and blazer or the scarlet pencil skirt and jacket — no matter their gender identity. The UK-based airline, owned by billionaire Richard Branson, said crew, pilots, and ground staff would be able to choose the uniform that “best represents them.” It will also offer passengers the option of collecting a pronoun badge of their choice when they check in, and is updating ticketing systems to allow fliers to select U or X gender codes on their booking and use the gender-neutral title Mx. — BLOOMBERG NEWS

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PHILANTHROPY

MacKenzie Scott divorcing second husband

MacKenzie Scott, a billionaire philanthropist who has donated vast sums of her wealth in recent years, has filed for divorce from her second husband, a science teacher whom she married in 2021. The petition was filed in King County, Wash., on Monday, 18 months after Scott and Dan Jewett announced their marriage. The filing requests that the couple’s property be divided according to a separation contract, the details of which were not included in the petition. Jewett and his lawyer also signed the filing, which was first reported by the New York Times. In 2019, Scott and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos ended their 25-year marriage, with Scott being awarded about 4 percent of Amazon, a cut worth roughly $36 billion at the time. Since then, Scott has been donating her fortune at an astonishing rate — an estimated $12 billion to more than 1,200 groups in three years, the Times reported in March. — WASHINGTON POST

AUTOMOTIVE

Toyota making more cars

Toyota’s global output rose for the first time in five months in August, led by gains in overseas markets — in particular Southeast Asia, where a COVID surge disrupted supply chains a year ago. The world’s biggest automaker made 766,683 vehicles in August, up 44 percent from a year earlier, according to a statement Thursday. Global sales rose 3.8 percent to 777,047 units, the first increase in 12 months, the Japanese automaker said. — BLOOMBERG NEWS

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