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Business update: Stocks drop on news of home sales

Stocks fell today after another disappointing report on the housing market renewed worries about the economy. The Dow Jones industrial average lost about 98 points in afternoon trading after news that sales of previously occupied homes fell last month to their lowest level in 15 years. The Dow briefly dipped below 10,000 for the first time in seven weeks and was down as much as 183 points earlier in the day before paring its losses.

Boehner sees ‘ongoing economic uncertainty’: House Republican leader John Boehner today urged President Barack Obama to support an extension of tax cuts and to fire key economic advisers, arguing that more than a year of “government as community organizer” has failed to revive the economy. Boehner said Obama needs to act immediately on several fronts to break what the Republican describes as “ongoing economic uncertainty.”

Interest rates fall after July home sales plummet: Interest rates fell again in the Treasury market, sending the yield on the two-year note to another record low, after a sharp drop in sales of existing homes added to worries about the economy. The yield on the 10-year note continued to hover near levels not seen since March 2009. The yield on the two-year note fell as low as 0.46 percent early today before climbing back to 0.48 percent.

Re-defaults on modified mortgage loans falling: Borrowers who had their mortgages modified recently are faring better than those who had them altered earlier in the housing crisis. That’s according to a report today by a group of state banking and law enforcement officials. They say the findings suggest that earlier predictions of a coming wave of defaults may not pan out.

State AGs: Craigslist should drop adult services: State attorneys general nationwide are demanding that Craigslist remove its adult services section because they say the website cannot adequately block potentially illegal ads. Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal announced Tuesday that he and colleagues in 16 states, including Idaho, have sent a letter calling on the classified advertising site to get rid of its adult services category. The attorneys general say Craigslist is not completely screening out ads that promote prostitution and child trafficking.

WSU Tri-Cities receives $450,000 grant: A Hanford contractor is donating $450,000 to Washington State University Tri-Cities so the Richland campus can expand its engineering department during a time of state budget cuts. The donation from Washington River Protection Solutions will be given over three years. The contractor also pledged $250,000 late last year for student scholarships, internships, tutoring and lab equipment upgrades.