Mortgage Rates, Social Security: Hot Trends

Mortgage Rates, Social Security, Credit Fraud, Time Warner Cable and Auto Repair are the trending topics on Google and Yahoo.
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(Hot Trends article updated with information on the record low mortgage rates.)

NEW YORK (

TheStreet

) -- "Mortgage rates" is a popular search topic on the Internet today after the weekly survey conducted by

Freddie Mac

(FMCC)

reported the average 30-year-fixed mortgage rate dropped to 4.49% from 4.54% last week and the 15-year-fixed mortgage rate came in at 3.95%, down from 4% a week ago.

For the sixth time in seven weeks, the rates have hit

historic lows

, giving homeowners a great opportunity to refinance or potential owners to purchase a house.

"More recently, housing investment picked up in the second quarter of this year as the homebuyer tax credit spurred new and existing sales and low mortgage rates encouraged remodeling," said Frank Nothaft, vice president and chief economist at Freddie Mac.

As jobs are created and the economy ultimately recovers, analysts believe that home sales will return to a sustainable healthy level.

Social Security is a popular search topic on the Internet today after an annual report released on Thursday showed that the government will pay out more benefits than it receives in payroll taxes in 2010 and 2011 for the first time in almost 30 years.

While some changes in the recent health insurance system law have helped improve the financial outlook for Medicare and Social Security, its not all good news.

With the unemployment rate as high as 9.5%, the number of Americans paying taxes is low. Almost half of adults are taking some of their Social Security benefits at age 62, instead of the full retirement age of 66.

Social Security is set to run a $41 billion deficit.

"Credit fraud" is a hot topic today following news that a California woman and Florida man have been charged with conspiracy to defraud the U.S. government. Karen Washam-Hawkins of Carson, Calif. and Gerald William Bartlett of Tampa, Fla. are being charged for helping at least three people build false credit histories to help them get millions of dollars in mortgage loans.

"Credit history fraud poses a significant threat to our financial institutions and undermines our economy," U.S. Attorney Beth Phillips said at a news conference. "Using a false Social Security card or in any way misrepresenting your financial history is a crime. It is a significant crime with significant penalties."

This is the first time the Department of Justice has charged people with supplying others with false credit histories.

Time Warner Cable

(TWC)

is a trending topic on the Internet today following the company's release of results for the second quarter, which showed that

increased revenue helped boost earnings

.

The company saw earnings rise 7.3% to $562 million, or 49 cents per diluted share, compared with earnings of $524 million, or 43 cents per diluted share, in the same period a year ago. Earnings from continuing operations were 50 cents a share, well ahead of analyst estimates of 45 cents a share.

>>Time Warner Looking Good

Total revenue was up 7.7% while theatrical film content revenue was up 22%, driven by the successful releases of films like

Clash of the Titans

and

Sex and the City 2

during the quarter. Network content revenue was up 10% primarily due to higher sales of HBO's shows, including

The Pacific

and

True Blood

.

Time Warner shares were up 0.3% at market close on Wednesday to $32.47.

"Auto repair" is a hot topic on

Yahoo!

(YHOO)

thanks to one of the hottest summers on record. According to reports out of Arkansas, auto shops are reporting booming business as drivers brings their cars in to have the air conditioning fixed.

People are also stopping by their local auto shops to get their cars checked out before departing on summer vacation road trips.

While local auto repair shops are doing well,

Autozone

(AZO) - Get Report

shares were down 0.5% to $205.76 at close yesterday after

Citigroup

(C) - Get Report

downgraded it from a buy to a "hold" on Tuesday.

The chatter on Main Street (a.k.a. Google) is always of interest to investors on Wall Street. Thus, each day, TheStreet compiles the stories that are trending on Google, and highlights the news that could make stocks move.

-- Reported by Theresa McCabe in Boston.

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Disclosure: TheStreet's editorial policy prohibits staff editors and reporters from holding positions in any individual stocks. Copyright 2010 TheStreet.com Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. AP contributed to this report.