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Latest Articles: Business

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Oil Set for Biggest Monthly Drop in Three Years
Post Date: 2012-05-31 12:29:33 by Brian S
Oil headed for the biggest monthly drop in more than three years in New York on speculation that slowing U.S. economic growth and Europe’s debt crisis will reduce fuel demand. Futures fell as much as much as 2.2 percent after more Americans applied for jobless benefits and the nation’s gross domestic product grew more slowly than estimated. Fitch Ratings downgraded eight Spanish regions’ credit, stoking concern the crisis will force lenders to bail out of Spain. A government report showed U.S. crude supplies rose to a 22-year high. “The markets are clearly being driven by economic fear,” said Chip Hodge, who oversees a $9 billion natural-resource bond portfolio ...

US Filings For Unemployment Aid At A 5-Week High
Post Date: 2012-05-31 12:12:00 by Brian S
(AP:WASHINGTON) The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits rose last week to a five-week high, evidence that the job market remains sluggish. The Labor Department said Thursday that weekly applications for unemployment aid rose 10,000 to a seasonally adjusted 383,000. The four-week average, a less volatile measure, increased for the first time in a month to 374,500. Economists were disappointed by the data, particularly when coupled with a separate report Thursday that showed only modest hiring by private businesses in May. On Friday, the government will report on May hiring by private and public employers. "The jobs data were not reassuring ahead of tomorrow's ... ...

Student-Loan Debt Rose to $904 Billion in First Quarter
Post Date: 2012-05-31 12:09:16 by Brian S
Debt from educational loans in the U.S. rose 3.4 percent to $904 billion in the first quarter, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Outstanding student debt increased from $874 billion three months earlier, the New York Fed said today in a report. The total includes loans that are backed by the U.S. government as well as private borrowing by students and their parents. Student-loan debt surpassed credit-card debt in the second quarter of 2010. In the year ended March 31, outstanding student debt rose by $64 billion from a year earlier, while all other forms of household debt fell a combined $383 billion, according to the report. “Student loan debt continues to grow ...

Leading Automakers Seen Delivering Strong May 2012 Sales: Watch Ford, GM And Toyota
Post Date: 2012-05-30 19:17:20 by Brian S
Summary: The leading automakers are scheduled to report monthly auto sales on Friday, June 1. The top sales data and analytics providers suggest that the major auto manufacturers are poised to deliver the best month in more than a year thanks to a broad economic recovery, ease of credit, pent-up demand for newer vehicles, and reduced incentives. Toyota Motor (TM) is expected to show the biggest y/y increase as more of its plants in Japan return to full capacity following the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.A report from Edmunds.com shows demand for light vehicles was robust in May, with approximately 1.391 mln cars sold during the month, up 17.5% from the previous month and a ...

Facebook Shares Fall Below $30 As US Authorities Begin Investigation Into IPO
Post Date: 2012-05-30 12:17:56 by Brian S
Facebook's shares dipped below $30 Tuesday as the company's shares hit new lows and continued to struggle in the wake of its massive initial public offering (IPO). Even as US stock markets bounced back from falls last week, Facebook's shares slumped 9.62% to end the day at $28.84 – almost $10 below the $38 price set at their IPO earlier this month. Stock markets in the US, which had been closed on Monday for Memorial Day, ended up for the day. The share slide means Facebook is now valued at $61.98bn, a sharp fall from the $104bn it was valued at when the company went public on 18 May. The IPO has proved a disaster for Facebook and its bankers. US authorities are ...

Oil Tumbles to Seven-Month Low on U.S. Supply Glut
Post Date: 2012-05-30 11:47:00 by Brian S
Oil tumbled to a seven-month low on speculation that U.S. crude stockpiles climbed to the highest level since 1990 and as the euro weakened on concern that the debt crisis will overwhelm Spain. New York futures fell as much as 3.6 percent and Brent oil traded in London dropped below $104 a barrel for the first time this year. An Energy Department report tomorrow is projected to show that U.S. supplies rose 1 million barrels to 383.5 million last week, according to analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. The euro fell versus the dollar as Spain’s default risk increased. “We’re looking at a build of another million barrels to a 22-year high,” said Addison Armstrong, director of ...

Americans' Economic Confidence Stable at Four-Year High
Post Date: 2012-05-29 12:05:14 by Brian S
PRINCETON, NJ -- The Gallup Economic Confidence Index held at -16 last week, the highest the index has reached in the four-plus years of Gallup Daily tracking in the United States. This is slightly improved over the -18 readings in the first half of May, and up significantly from -27 at the start of the year. Longer term, the index has fully recovered from the near-record-low -54 it fell to last summer as a political battle raged in the U.S. over raising the debt ceiling. The index is now marginally higher than its level at the start of 2011, which in turn was slightly improved over the high points reached in 2009 and 2010, and slightly better than where it stood at the beginning of ...

U.S. Home Prices Fall at Slower Pace in Stability Sign, Case-Shiller Says
Post Date: 2012-05-29 11:50:36 by Brian S
Home values in 20 U.S. cities fell in the 12 months ended March at the slowest pace in more than a year as lower borrowing costs and an improving job market gave sales a boost. The S&P/Case-Shiller index of property values fell 2.6 percent from a year earlier after a 3.5 percent drop in February, the group reported today in New York. The decline matched the median forecast of economists surveyed by Bloomberg News. The index rose from the prior month on a seasonally adjusted basis. A comeback in the housing market might be under way. Homebuilders are reporting their most-improved spring selling season in seven years, propelled by record-low mortgage rates, job gains and shrinking ...

Michigan Unemployment Rate Dips To 8 Percent In April
Post Date: 2012-05-25 10:30:53 by Brian S
Lansing— Michigan reports that the seasonally unadjusted unemployment rate dropped a full percentage point statewide and fell in all major labor markets.The April figures released Thursday show joblessness statewide at 8 percent, compared with 9 percent in March and 10.1 percent in April 2011.State labor analysts say April's drop was typical with seasonal hiring throughout most of the state. The reductions were highest in the northernmost labor markets as hiring began for the summer tourism season.Seasonally adjusted joblessness has been falling for months in Michigan. Eight of the state's metropolitan regions report unemployment rates at or below the national seasonally ...

Consumer Sentiment in U.S. Climbs to Highest Since 2007
Post Date: 2012-05-25 10:28:19 by Brian S
Consumer confidence rose in May to the highest level since October 2007 as prices at the gas pump became less of a drag on household budgets. The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan final index of consumer sentiment climbed to 79.3 from 76.4 the prior month. The gauge was projected to hold at the preliminary reading of 77.8, according to the median forecast of economists surveyed by Bloomberg News. Cheaper gasoline and an improving housing market may help sustain consumers’ spirits in the face of slower job growth and slumping stock prices. The gain in confidence may signal Americans are more inclined to step up their purchases, which increased in the first quarter at the fastest ...

U.S. New Orders for Durable Goods Rose 0.2% in April; Initial Claims Inched Downward in the Latest Week
Post Date: 2012-05-24 12:15:22 by Brian S
New orders for durable goods inched up 0.2% in April 2012 following a revised 3.7% decline (previously reported as -3.9%) in March. The gain in April matched market expectations.Transportation orders unexpectedly rose 2.1% as rising motor vehicle orders offset falling orders for defence aircraft. Excluding the transportation component, orders fell 0.6% following a 0.8% decline (previously was -1.3%) in March and well below market expectations for a 0.8% gain. Orders of non-defence capital equipment excluding aircraft, a commonly used proxy for future business investment, fell 1.9% following a revised 2.2% decline (previously was -3.9%) in March. The corresponding shipments measure, which ...

Oil Falls to Lowest Level Since November on U.S. Supplies
Post Date: 2012-05-23 11:37:07 by Brian S
Oil fell to the lowest level in almost seven months after an Energy Department report showed that U.S. crude supplies rose to a 22-year high and as European leaders gather to discuss the euro-region’s debt troubles. Futures fell as much as 1.8 percent as the department said stockpiles climbed 883,000 barrels to 382.5 million barrels last week, the most since August 1990. The European summit is the 18th since Greece was shaken by debt and the first since an anti-austerity campaign carried Francois Hollande to France’s presidency. The euro sank to the lowest level in almost two years. “I’m looking for prices to fall to the mid-$80 and eventually test last summer’s ...

U.S. New Home Sales Rise In April Along With Prices
Post Date: 2012-05-23 11:31:40 by Brian S
(RTTNews) - New home sales in the U.S. rose by more than expected in the month of April, according to a report released by the Commerce Department on Wednesday, with the report also showing a notable increase in prices for new homes. The report showed that new home sales rose 3.3 percent to an annual rate of 343,000 in April from the revised March rate of 332,000. Economists had expected new home sales to climb to 335,000 from the 328,000 originally reported for the previous month. The stronger than expected new home sales growth in April reflected notable increases in sales in the Midwest and the West, where new home sales jumped 28.2 percent and 27.5 percent, respectively. New home ...

Credit Rating Upgrade Has Ford Celebrating Return Of The Blue Oval
Post Date: 2012-05-22 17:07:55 by Brian S
DEARBORN, Mich. (WXYZ) - Ford is celebrating the return of the Blue Oval after the company's credit rating was upgraded by Moody's Investors Service. In raising Ford's credit rating, Moody's cited the "strength of the company's position in North America," its liquidity and Moody's "expectation that the company will continue to embrace sound operating and financial disciplines." Ford issued statements from Executive Chairman Bill Ford and President and Chief Executive Officer Alan Mulally in response to the upgrade. Ford said: The Ford Blue Oval is back where it belongs with the Ford family of 166,000 employees around the world. This is a great day ...

Trucker Shares Seen Ready to Rally in U.S. With Housing Starts Rebounding
Post Date: 2012-05-22 11:19:47 by Brian S
Trucking companies may need to put more vehicles on the road to support a recovery in U.S. residential construction, which might send their shares higher. Housing starts rose 2.6 percent to a 717,000 annual rate in April, beating the 685,000 median estimate of 80 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News. Construction has improved 50 percent from a low of 478,000 reached in April 2009, during the 18-month recession that ended two months later, based on data from the Commerce Department. “All of the freight required to build a new home has a very positive impact on trucking activity,” said Todd Fowler, an analyst in Cleveland at KeyBanc Capital Markets Inc., the investment banking ...

Existing Home Sales Rise to a Near 2-Year High
Post Date: 2012-05-22 11:16:40 by Brian S
U.S. home resales rose in April to their highest annual rate in nearly two years and a falloff in foreclosures pushed prices higher, hopeful signs about the pace of recovery in the still-struggling housing sector. The National Association of Realtors said on Tuesday that existing home sales increased 3.4 percent to an annual rate of 4.62 million units last month, the highest since May 2010. Nationwide, the median price for a home resale jumped to $177,400 in April, up 10.1 percent from a year earlier. That was the biggest year-over-year increase since January 2006. Distressed sales accounted for 28 percent of resales, down from 29 percent in March. NAR economist Lawrence Yun said a drop ...

Economists More Upbeat About Job Growth, Housing
Post Date: 2012-05-21 11:59:00 by Brian S
NEW YORK (AP) — A new survey shows economists are growing slightly more optimistic about recovery in the job and housing markets but expect other pillars of the economy to remain weak. The National Association for Business Economists says in a report issued Monday that its forecasters expect modest growth for the remainder of the year, with the pace picking up in 2013. Still, the 54 economists NABE surveyed expect consumer spending, business investment and gross domestic product to remain below historic norms. The quarterly survey compiles expectations for indicators such as hiring, home construction and spending from economists at industry groups, government agencies, banks and ...

Oil Prices Slide To Multi-Month Lows
Post Date: 2012-05-18 10:40:04 by Brian S
World oil prices slid to new multi-month lows on Friday as the market was rattled once again by concern about the outlook for demand linked to the eurozone debt crisis, analysts said. Brent North Sea crude for delivery in July struck $106.40 per barrel, which was the lowest point since December 21. The contract later stood at $106.97, down 52 cents compared with Thursday’s closing level. New York’s main contract, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude for delivery in June sank to $91.60 a barrel, hitting the lowest level since November 3. It later stood at $92.55, down one cent. “Amid the sea of red seen in European credit and equity markets this morning, crude oil is ...

Michigan Unemployment Rate Improves To 8.3% In April, As Workforce Grows By 3,000
Post Date: 2012-05-16 14:52:33 by Brian S
Michigan’s unemployment rate kept moving in the right direction in April, dropping two-tenths of a percentage point to 8.3%. Data released bwey the Michigan Department of Technology, Management & Budget showed that the state’s workforce rose slightly by a net increase of 3,000 workers. Meanwhile, a monthly survey of employers showed that the number of jobs at major employers rose slightly in April by 5,000 to just under 4 million. April job additions were led by an increase of 6,000 jobs in professional and business services. “The first four months of 2012 have been positive for Michigan’s labor market,” said Rick Waclawek, director of the Bureau of Labor ...

Warren Buffet Buys 10 Million Shares In General Motors
Post Date: 2012-05-16 12:11:28 by Brian S
Warren Buffet’s firm Berkshire Hathaway announced today that it has purchased 10 million shares of General Motors stock. The company disclose the investment today in a filing with the Securities Exchange Commission. The investment by Buffet’s company is just a small part of GM’s 1.57 billion outstanding shares – however, having Warren’s name behind the company should give some boost to the Detroit automaker’s image. The shares would be worth $224,000,000 at today’s closing price of $22.40. up 98 cents. Buffett has no plans to purchase stock in Facebook.

New U.S. Housing Construction in April Exceeds Forecasts
Post Date: 2012-05-16 10:42:25 by Brian S
Builders in the U.S. broke ground on more homes than anticipated in April, indicating the residential real estate industry is stabilizing. Starts rose 2.6 percent to a 717,000 annual rate from March’s revised 699,000 pace that was stronger than previously reported, Commerce Department figures showed today in Washington. The median estimate of 80 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News called for a rise to 685,000. Building permits, a proxy for future construction, fell from a more than three-year high. Employment gains, cheaper homes and record-low mortgage rates are combining to lift demand and encourage builders to take on projects. At the same time, distressed properties are ...

Industrial Output In April Rises Most In Over A Year
Post Date: 2012-05-16 10:36:00 by Brian S
(Reuters) - Industrial production posted its fastest growth in over a year in April, boosted by surging output at utilities and a rebound in manufacturing, the Federal Reserve said on Wednesday. Industrial output grew 1.1 percent last month, the most since December 2010 and nearly twice the pace expected by analysts polled by Reuters. The Fed also revised its estimates for prior months, saying production contracted 0.6 percent in March and expanded 0.4 percent in February. The Fed previously said production was flat in February and March. In April, manufacturing output rose 0.6 percent, bouncing back from a 0.5 percent decline in March. A big increase in vehicle production factored in ...

Mortgage Delinquencies in U.S. Fall to Lowest Since 2008
Post Date: 2012-05-16 10:34:06 by Brian S
The U.S. mortgage delinquency rate declined in the first quarter to the lowest level since 2008 as an improving job market and low interest rates helped more borrowers pay their bills. The share of home loans at least 30 days late dropped to 7.4 percent from 7.58 percent in the previous three months, according to a report today from the Mortgage Bankers Association. The rate peaked at 10.1 percent in the first quarter of 2010 and was last lower in the third quarter of 2008, when it was 6.99 percent. “Delinquencies are clearly continuing to improve,” Michael Fratantoni, the group’s vice president of research and economics, said in a statement. “Newer delinquencies, ...

Homebuilder Confidence in U.S. Climbs to Five-Year High
Post Date: 2012-05-15 11:51:16 by Brian S
Confidence among U.S. homebuilders jumped more than forecast in May, reaching a five-year high that signals an improving outlook for construction. The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo index of builder confidence rose to 29, the highest since May 2007, a report from the Washington-based group showed today. The gauge exceeded the highest projection in a Bloomberg News survey in which the median estimate was 26. Readings below 50 mean more respondents said conditions were poor. “We have resumed the gradual upward trend in confidence that started at the beginning of this year,” Barry Rutenberg, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders and a builder from ...

Verizon refused to help police locate unconscious man unless they paid his phone bill
Post Date: 2012-05-15 10:47:02 by lucysmom
A 62-year-old Carrollton area man was found unconscious and unresponsive Thursday morning during an intense search overnight by Carroll County sheriff deputies, an Ohio State Highway Patrol trooper and the patrol’s airplane. [Sheriff] Williams said he attempted to use the man’s cell phone signal to locate him, but the man was behind on his phone bill and the Verizon operator refused to connect the signal unless the sheriff’s department agreed to pay the overdue bill. After some disagreement, Williams agreed to pay $20 on the phone bill in order to find the man. Though this case is from a while ago—operators are now made available to assist emergency services—it got ...

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