Consumer spending pace slows in December The main driver of the increase was dividend payments, which companies accelerated to beat the January rise in income tax rates. HOUSINGMortgage rates creep upwardThe average U.S. rate on the 30-year fixed mortgage rose this week to its highest level in four months but remains low by historical standards. TABLETSApple leads, but share shrinksA research group says Apple continues to dominate in tablet computers, although its market share is shrinking because of growing competition. AsusTek Computer, maker of the Transformer line and Google's Nexus 7, also saw shipments and market share increase. INVESTINGPeregrine CEO gets 50 yearsA judge sentenced Peregrine Financial Group founder Russ Wasendorf Sr. to 50 years in prison on Thursday for stealing $215 million from investors over 20 years in what a prosecutor called the biggest fraud in Iowa history. U.S. District Judge Linda Reade told Wasendorf, 64, that the stiff sentence was warranted because of the "staggering losses" his greed caused to more than 13,000 investors, employees and creditors over 20 years. Last summer's collapse of the company, nicknamed PFGBest, rippled across the financial industry, affecting regulatory agencies and the nation as a whole.