July 12, 2013 |
Wells Fargo & Co. booked a record $5.5 billion in profit during the second quarter despite a dramatic rise in mortgage rates and signs of a slowdown in its refinancing business. The 19% year-over-year jump in earnings for the nation's largest home lender reflected the breakneck pace with which the U.S. housing industry has evolved. Although refinancing activity slowed as interest rates jumped, Wells Fargo still was able to grow its mortgage origination business by increasing the number of loans it made to home shoppers.
July 5, 2013 |
Wall Street has preferred to call the recent rebound in long-term interest rates a "wake-up call. " But to some bond investors it's apparently more like a five-alarm fire. As rising interest rates have pushed down the value of older bonds in the last two months, the share prices of popular bond mutual funds have slumped. Case in point: Shares of the Pimco Total Return Bond fund have dropped 6.4% since May 2. The losses aren't on the scale of what happened to stocks in 2008-09, when that market plunged nearly 50% in six months.
June 29, 2013 |
TEHRAN - Bolstering his centrist image, Iranian President-elect Hassan Rowhani vowed “moderation” in foreign and domestic affairs Saturday in his first nationally televised address since his surprising election victory earlier this month. In an almost hourlong speech from the state broadcaster's headquarters, Rowhani used some variant of the word “moderate” at least 10 times, signaling his intention to repair Iran's fractured relations with the international community--while not compromising the Islamic Republic's independence.
June 27, 2013 |
WASHINGTON -- The government reported more positive signs for the economic recovery Thursday as initial jobless claims dropped last week and consumers' personal income and spending rose in May. The number of people filing for unemployment benefits for the first time fell to 346,000 in the week ending Saturday, down from a revised 355,000 the previous week, the Labor Department said. The drop was in line with analyst projections and brings the figure below the 350,000 level that economists say is consistent with moderate labor market growth.
June 25, 2013 |
In the wake of the Great Recession, rich and poor households are separated by stark geographical divides. Most of the country's rich live in cities, while households below the poverty line are concentrated in the countryside and in some inner-city enclaves, according to an analysis by the Institute for Spatial Economic Analysis at the University of Redlands. The middle class creates buffer zones between the two. A map of income distrubution shows a sea of pink in rural America and the South, representing the bottom 25% of earners, while bright orange, representing the 10% of the highest earners, dots the Eastern Seaboard and coast of California.
June 25, 2013 |
The student debt crisis is one of those issues that concentrates the minds of both parties in Congress. That's why there are at least half a dozen legislative proposals circulating in Washington to forestall a doubling of interest rates on many federal student loans scheduled to take effect July 1. But it doesn't explain why almost all those proposals ignore the one remedy to graduates' loan burdens that would make their squabbling over an interest-rate...
June 21, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - You can call it Big Brother. You can call it high-tech snooping. But be aware: If you are applying for a mortgage in the coming weeks, you can be sure that your credit will be checked and rechecked - possibly monitored daily - to make certain no hints of new debts pop up before you close on the loan. Just as the federal monitoring of phone traffic that's been in the headlines lately was a direct outgrowth of 9/11, pre-closing credit monitoring is a byproduct of the housing crash.
June 20, 2013 |
"The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat," Rep. Stephen Fincher (R-Tenn.) said in quoting the Bible last month of the 48 million hungry Americans, mostly working families and senior citizens, who require federal help to put food on the table. That misguided principle stands at the center of a House farm bill that threatens $20.5 billion in cuts over a decade to food stamps, officially known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. Pursuing the sacred cause of deficit reduction, Congress would sooner shrink aid to struggling families than substantially reform farm subsidies, of which Fincher, who owns a family cotton farm, is one of the largest recipients in Tennessee history.
June 20, 2013 |
Imagine a society with two tax systems. One taxes the wealth people have accumulated. The other taxes the labor people perform. This society seems to be getting along well enough, raising enough tax revenue to finance the public goods and services that voters have told lawmakers they want to see supported. Now imagine that lawmakers have decided to cut the tax rates on wealth and raise them on labor. At the same time, the amount of wealth subject to the lower tax rates is rising as income from labor is shrinking.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
June 19, 2013 |
California community college students have a new website to help them choose fields of study - and provide a preview of their potential earning power. The Salary Surfer provides information on median annual incomes for 179 popular programs of study spanning health, business, social sciences, architecture, engineering and other disciplines. The goal is to help students make more-informed decisions about their education, said Community Colleges Chancellor Brice Harris, who introduced the website at a news conference Wednesday at Grossmont College in El Cajon.