How major stock indexes fared Friday

Major stock indexes closed at new highs on Wall Street on Friday, leaving the market with solid gains for the first week of the year.

Technology stocks and companies that rely on consumer spending helped lift the market, outweighing losses in financial, industrial and other sectors.

On Friday:

The S&P 500 rose 20.89 points, or 0.5%, to 3,824.68. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 56.84 points, or 0.2%, to 31,097.97. The Nasdaq composite climbed 134.50 points, or 1%, to 13,201.98. The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies dropped 5.23 points, or 0.3%, to 2,091.66.

For the week:

The S&P 500 rose 68.61 points, or 1.8%. The Dow gained 491.49 points, or 1.6%. The Nasdaq climbed 313.69 points, or 2.4%. The Russell 2000 picked up 116.80 points, or 5.9%.

Proposed electric rates for solar find few supporters

WICHITA, Kan. | Regulators are getting a flood of complaints as the state’s largest electric utility tries to come up with a new plan for recovering the cost of providing solar energy.

Evergy was sent back to the drawing board after the Kansas Supreme Court ruled last spring that utilities cannot charge customers who produce some of their own energy more than other customers.

From Oct. 15 to Dec. 21, the Kansas Corporation Commission received more than 1,000 calls, emails and letters, all but about 20 of them opposed to the alternative plans that are being considered, The Wichita Eagle reported.

Evergy’s preferred proposal is a grid access fee, which would really only apply to those who have a solar array. Evergy’s second rate proposal is a $35 minimum bill for all customers.

The third proposal was presented by the Citizen’s Utility Ratepayer Board, a state agency tasked with advocating for Kansas residents. CURB wants Evergy to charge all customers, solar and non-solar the same, at least temporarily until a new rate structure can be planned with input from the Legislature.

Some critics say the proposed rate changes would discourage the use of solar energy; others say solar energy is being subsidized by other customers.

Roku buys library of the short-lived streaming service

Roku is buying the content library of Quibi, the short-lived streaming service, to bulk up its own free ad-supported channel.

Quibi, short for quick bites, raised $1.75 billion from investors including major Hollywood players like Disney, NBCUniversal and Viacom. It produced shows that were released in 10- to 12-minute increments or less, believing that there was strong demand from people stuck doing anything from waiting in lines to commuting.

But it stepped into a market already saturated with short videos from YouTube, TikTok and other platforms, and that content is essentially generated free of cost.

Quibi also launched in April 2020, when a global pandemic scrambled the routines of millions, including commutes to work. It shut down last month.

U.S. long-term mortgage rates hit new lows

WASHINGTON | U.S. long-term mortgage rates declined this week to new record lows for the first week of 2021.

The year opens against the continuing backdrop of damage from the coronavirus pandemic on the U.S. and global economies, which suppressed home loan rates through most of 2020.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac reported Thursday that the average rate on the benchmark 30-year fixed-rate home loan slipped to 2.65% from 2.67% from last week. By contrast, the rate stood at 3.64% a year ago.

The average rate on 15-year fixed-rate loans, popular among homeowners seeking to refinance their mortgages, ticked down to 2.16% from 2.17%.

Mortgage rates are set to rise modestly this year as economic factors shift, according to Freddie Mac chief economist Sam Khater. The record-low lending rates have helped push buyers into the housing market, but a lack of available homes has left many would-be homebuyers empty-handed. The lack of supply has pushed prices up even before the pandemic struck last March.

A continued rise in home prices could intensify the squeeze on potential purchasers during the spring homebuying season, Khater says.

—From AP reports