From Times Staff and Wire Reports

U.S. Lowers Savings Bond Rate: U.S. Savings Bonds will earn interest at a rate of 4.78% for the next six months, the lowest since the government began selling variable-rate bonds in 1982, the Treasury Department said. The new rate, in effect through Oct. 30, is down from 5.04% during the last six months. Rates are adjusted every May 1 and Nov. 1 to reflect changes in market-based rates. Newly purchased bonds held for five years or more are guaranteed to yield a minimum of 4% annually. The guaranteed minimum for bonds purchased before March 1 is 6%.

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