U.S. stocks opened higher Wednesday as mortgage applications surged in the week ending June 5th. The interest rate jump to the highest level this year caused a sudden surge in mortgage applications. While that may seem counter-intuitive, there's a reason: fear that rates will move even higher. Total mortgage application volume jumped 8.4 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis last week from the previous week, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. The previous week included an adjustment for the Memorial Day holiday. Refinance volume increased 7 percent on the week, and applications to purchase a home jumped 10 percent, both seasonally adjusted. Purchase volume is now 15 percent higher than the same week one year ago, but refinance volume is off nearly 5 percent. Johnson Controls (JCI) is exploring strategic options for the separation of its automotive business to focus on high-margin heating and cooling businesses. Target (TGT) reiterated a 7.7 percent increase in its dividend to $0.56 in an official statement, after a similar announcement was posted on its website earlier by mistake. The retailer also reiterated a $5 billion boost to its stock buyback plan.
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