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Business Highlights

The average rate on the 15-year fixed mortgage increased last week to 2.76 percent from 2.72 percent last week. The record low of 2.63 percent was also reached in November.

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Boeing CEO says 787 is 'very close' to flying

WASHINGTON (AP) â¿¿ Boeing CEO Jim McNerney said his company is "very close" to getting its troubled 787 Dreamliner jet flying again.

Two incidents involving batteries on 787s led the Federal Aviation Administration and regulators in other countries to ground the planes in January. Boeing is testing a redesign of the battery system.

The Chicago-based company conducted a test flight with the redesigned battery Monday. McNerney expects the tests to conclude in a few days and said the data should be conclusive enough to convince regulators to let the plane fly again.

He called the grounding a "frustrating experience" but said regulators are putting safety first.

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NY top court OKs tax on online sellers like Amazon

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) â¿¿ New York's highest court ruled Thursday that the state can collect sales tax from out-of-state retailers, rejecting claims by Amazon.com and Overstock.com that the tax law violates the U.S. Constitution's Commerce Clause.

The Court of Appeals said in a 4-1 ruling that the 2008 amendment meets the U.S. Supreme Court test that the sellers have "a substantial nexus" with the taxing state. Taxes apply when the online retailers generate at least $10,000 in annual sales to New Yorkers from in-state websites that earn commissions by bringing in potential customers through links to the big retailers.

Amazon.com, with corporate offices in Washington state, has an "Associates Program" through which its links appear on other websites. Overstock.com, based in Utah, suspended a similar "Affiliates" program in New York after the state statute was enacted.

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By The Associated Press(equals)

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 52.38 points, or 0.4 percent, to close at 14,578.54. The S&P 500 rose 6.34 points, or 0.4 percent, to 1,569.19. The Nasdaq composite index rose 11 points, or 0.3 percent, to 3,267.52.

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