June 17, 2010 in Business

Business update: U.S. cars top imports on quality

Associated Press

U.S. automakers have surpassed imported brands for the first time in a survey that measures the quality of new cars and trucks. J.D. Power and Associates said today that owners of domestic cars reported fewer problems on average during the first 90 days of ownership than foreign cars and trucks. It marks the first time that has happened in the 24 years the industry research group has conducted the annual quality study.

Jobless claims, manufacturing numbers hit stocks: Stocks fell today after a surprise increase in new claims for jobless benefits and a weaker regional manufacturing report raised concerns about the economy. The Dow Jones industrial average fell about 50 points in afternoon trading after rising four the last five days. Broader indexes also dropped. Treasury prices rose, pushing down interest rates, after traders became more cautious.

DOJ: Nearly 500 arrests in mortgage fraud probe: The Justice Department announced today that investigators have made nearly 500 arrests since March in a major crackdown on mortgage fraud. The nationwide initiative called Operation Stolen Dreams is the largest collective enforcement effort aimed at confronting the problem of mortgage fraud, Attorney General Eric Holder told a news conference. It involves 1,215 criminal defendants in cases that uncovered more than $2.3 billion in losses.

Current account deficit rises to $109 billion: The deficit in the broadest measure of U.S. trade rose in the first quarter to the highest point in more than a year as rising global oil prices and a rebounding economy pushed up imports sharply. The Commerce Department said today that the deficit in the current account increased to $109 billion in the January-March period, compared to a revised $100.9 billion in the fourth quarter of last year.

WaMu works to resolve issues with shareholders: A judge has delayed key hearings in Washington Mutual Inc.’s bankruptcy as the company tries to satisfy shareholders seeking information about its reorganization plan. The judge in Delaware had earlier postponed consideration of the disclosure statement describing WaMu’s reorganization plan until today. But attorneys asked her to postpone arguments until July 8. The shareholders want information about a proposed settlement of lawsuits pitting WaMu, JPMorgan Chase & Co. and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. against each another.

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