Dollars & Sense

30-year mortgage rates get bit lower

Rates on 30-year mortgages edged down slightly this week, staying below 6 percent, although rates on other types of mortgages rose. Freddie Mac, the mortgage company, reported Thursday that 30-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 5.85 percent this week. That was down slightly from

5.87 percent last week and marked the second week in a row that rates were below6 percent.

Wall Street falls on slowdown news

Wall Street sank in volatile trading Thursday after the government confirmed that the last quarter of 2007 did indeed see a sharp economic slowdown. For the second- straight session, the Dow Jones industrial average fell more than 100 points. The technology sector was particularly weak after business software maker Oracle Corp. posted worse-than-expected fiscal third-quarter sales and issued a cautious forecast. Meanwhile, data suggesting that Google Inc.'s revenue from Internet users' clicks could slow raised worries about tech stocks.

Comcast debuts new HD channels

Comcast customers in Modesto and Patterson will have several new high-definition channels on their digital service, beginning next week. High-definition versions of Food Network, Sci-Fi, Animal Planet, TLC, AMC and CNN will debut on Comcast's service Monday. Three more channels, high-definition versions of ABC Family, Disney and Discovery Science, will debut April 8. The new channels will occupy numbers 939 through 949 on digital cable systems. Customers in Modesto and Patterson will see The California Channel become a digital channel at 108.

Job Fair scheduled

The Modesto Bee CareerBuilder Job Fair will be April 22 from 8:30 a.m. to4 p.m. at the Stanislaus County Fairground in Turlock. Booth space for employers and trade schools is available; the deadline to apply is April 11. The event features dozens of employers such as Super Stores Industries, Alfred Matthews and Versacold. There also will be free seminars on landing your dream job and information from tech and trade schools. Admission and parking are free. For information about booths, call Denise Nordell at 578-2296.

Coming Saturday

Modesto-area ranchers gathered this week to talk about the prospects for grass-fed beef, an alternative to feedlots, and other niches for lamb, goats and eggs produced in natural ways.