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Fri., May 20, 2011

Previously-occupied home sales drop

Fewer people purchased previously occupied homes in April, with sales dropping 0.8 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.05 million units, according to the National Association of Realtors. That’s well below the 6 million homes a year that economists say represents a healthy market.

Purchases made by first-time homebuyers, who are critical to a housing market recovery, did increase but not nearly enough to help the weak sector.

Foreclosures continued to force prices down, representing a third of all sales last month. And more are expected in the months ahead.

Mortgage insurer Freddie Mac said fixed mortgage rates fell for the fifth straight week this week and hit their lowest levels of the year. The average rate on the 30-year loan fell to 4.61 percent from 4.63.

Associated Press

Lufthansa, LAN to buy Boeing 777s

CHICAGO – Boeing Co. says Lufthansa Cargo will buy five of its 777s, and LAN Airlines of Chile is buying five more 767s.

Both planes are among Boeing’s larger aircraft. The freighter version of the 777 has a list price of $269 million, making the order from Lufthansa Cargo of Germany worth roughly $1.3 billion. The 767s ordered by LAN would be worth almost $822 million. Discounts from Boeing’s list prices are common.

LAN ordered three 767s in February.

Orders for the passenger version of the 767 have been winding down, but it will be the basis for the new tanker that Boeing is making for the U.S. Air Force.

Associated Press

Countrywide class action revived

LOS ANGELES – An appeals court has overturned the dismissal of a class-action lawsuit brought by investors against mortgage giant Countrywide Financial Corp.

The move by a panel of the California 2nd District Court of Appeal reverses the decision by a Superior Court judge in Los Angeles last year. That court threw out the complaint on grounds that a state court had no jurisdiction to hear the case, citing the U.S. Securities Act.

In the ruling issued Wednesday, the appeals court disagreed, concluding such a complaint could be heard in state court.

The decision allows the case to proceed.

The investors claim Countrywide had false or misleading statements in documentation for the mortgage-backed securities that they bought from the lender between 2005 and 2007.

Bank of America acquired Countrywide in July 2008.

Associated Press

Honda recalls 1,000 Civics for fuel leaks

TORRANCE, Calif. – Honda Motor Co. says it’s recalling more than 1,000 new Honda Civics in the U.S. because they could leak fuel.

The 2012 Civic went on sale earlier this spring. The recall affects 1,156 cars, many of which haven’t even been sold yet. Honda said they’ll be repaired while they’re still on dealer lots.

Honda said the Civic’s fuel line could leak because of a manufacturing error. No injuries or fires have been reported related to the defect.

Honda will repair the fuel line for free. It will begin notifying customers of the recall on May 27. Owners can determine if their cars need the repair on Honda’s Web site.

Associated Press

Amazon e-book sales top paper books

NEW YORK – Inc. on Thursday said that, after less than four years of selling electronic books, it’s now selling more of them than printed books.

The online retailer said that since April 1, it has sold 105 e-books for every 100 printed books, including printed books for which there is no electronic edition. The comparison excludes free e-books, which would tip the scales further if they were included.

Printed books include both hardcover and paperback books. Amazon said in July that e-book sales had outstripped hardcover sales. It’s now selling three times as many e-books as it did a year ago.

Analysts estimate that Amazon accounts for about two-thirds of U.S. e-book sales.

Amazon also said the latest and cheapest version of its Kindle e-book reading device is the best-seller of the line, five weeks after it was introduced. The Kindle with Special Offers costs $114, and shows ads in standby mode.

Associated Press


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