Machinists plan Boeing tanker rally on Friday

Machinists, along with Washington politicians, will hold a rally Friday in support of the tanker Boeing is proposing to the Air Force. Bids for the $35 billion aerial refueling tanker contest are due Friday. Boeing’s main rival for the contract, EADS, will host its own rally on Monday in Mobile, Ala., where the European company would assemble its tanker, based on an Airbus A330 commercial jet. EADS is the parent company of Airbus. Boeing will offer the Air Force a 767-based tanker. The company assembles its commercial 767 jet in Everett. The Machinists rally begins at 10:30 a.m., Friday, at the union hall, 8729 Airport Road, Everett.

Sam’s Club to offer small-business loans

Wal-Mart’s warehouse chain Sam’s Club says it is offering small-business loans of up to $25,000 to its business members. The division of Wal-Mart Stores Inc., which is based in Bentonville, Ark., is testing a program with Superior Financial Group, one of 13 federally licensed nonbank lenders, and will offer $5,000 to $25,000 loans to members who qualify. Sam’s Club says 15 percent of its business members reported they were denied a loan in a November survey. The program will focus on minority-, women- and veteran-owned businesses. Sam’s Club members who apply for a small-business loan during the pilot will receive $100 off the application fee, a 20 percent discount and a rate discount.

Low mortgage rates boost refinancing

Applications for home loans rose last week as consumers raced to refinance at the lowest rates in decades. The Mortgage Bankers Associations said Wednesday that overall applications increased nearly 7 percent from a week earlier. While they have been increasing in recent weeks, they remain below early 2009 levels. Applications to refinance home loans were up 9 percent to the highest level since May 2009. But new mortgages taken out to purchase homes fell 2 percent. Those applications have fallen in eight out of the past nine weeks, after government tax credits that spurred home sales ended April 30. Applications were 35 percent below last year’s levels. The average rate for a 30-year fixed loan sank to 4.58 percent last week, according to Freddie Mac. That was the lowest since the mortgage company began keeping records in 1971.

Nissan to offer new Infiniti hybrid system

Nissan is readying a new hybrid system for its Infiniti luxury model, set to go on sale later this year, while revamping technology for regular gas engines to send a green message. Nissan Motor Co. is a leader among global automakers in zero-emission electric cars, with its Leaf being rolled out in a few months’ time. But its engineers said Tuesday that green offerings for conventional cars are in the works because vehicles with gasoline engines still make up the bulk of Nissan’s models. Among them are idling stop, which turns off the engine at traffic lights.

From Herald news services