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BUSINESS
September 15, 2013 | By Jim Puzzanghera and Don Lee
WASHINGTON -- Former Treasury Secretary Lawrence H. Summers has withdrawn his name from consideration to be the next chairman of the Federal Reserve chairman, President Obama said Sunday. Summers had been a leading contender to replace current Chairman Ben S. Bernanke, whose term expires in January, and in recent weeks had appeared to be the front-runner. His withdrawal opens the door for the other leading contender, Janet L. Yellen, the Fed's current vice chair. If nominated and confirmed, she who would be the first woman to head the central bank.
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BUSINESS
September 6, 2013 | Michael Hiltzik
Everybody wants to see the perpetrators of the financial crisis punished, but you have to feel a little sorry for Standard & Poor's, the credit rating firm being sued by the federal government for its role in the disaster. S&P clearly has its back to the wall in this case. We can conclude this from the desperate defense it raised in court last week: that federal prosecutors have their knives out for S&P in "retaliation" for its downgrade of the U.S. government's credit rating in August 2011.
BUSINESS
September 5, 2013 | By E. Scott Reckard
With mortgage rates rising to levels not seen for two years, it's hard work finding a great deal on a home loan - unless you're rich enough to need a jumbo mortgage. These loans on steroids certainly aren't for everyone: Jumbos are defined as mortgages over $625,500 in much of California and more than $417,000 even in places where homes are cheap. But if you can qualify, America's banks stand ready to reward you with a rate nearly as good as or even better than what you can get for a normal loan.
BUSINESS
August 23, 2013 | By Don Lee
As the Federal Reserve weighs an imminent cut in its extraordinary economic stimulus, many outside the United States are pleading with the Fed: "Would you consider the impact on us too?" That essentially was the message Friday from the head of the International Monetary Fund, Christine Lagarde. Speaking at the Fed's summer conference in Jackson Hole, Wyo., Lagarde turned the spotlight on what has emerged as the main global economic issue of the day - the bold actions of central banks and, as she put it, how these policies "in one corner of the world can reach all corners.
BUSINESS
August 23, 2013 | By Don Lee
WASHINGTON -- As the Federal Reserve weighs an imminent cut in its extraordinary economic stimulus, many outside the United States are pleading with the Fed, “Would you consider the impact on us too?” That essentially was the message Friday from the head of the International Monetary Fund, Christine Lagarde. Speaking at an opening luncheon of the Fed's summer conference in Jackson Hole, Wyo., Lagarde turned the spotlight on what has emerged as the main global economic issue of the day: the bold actions of central banks and, as she put it, how these policies “in one corner of the world can reach all corners.” While the IMF's managing director spoke generally about central banks, it was clear that she was focused on the Fed and the widespread expectation - some would say fears - that next month it will start scaling back a massive bond-buying program that has helped hold down long-term interest rates and, until recently, kept emerging markets flush with cheap money.
BUSINESS
August 21, 2013 | By Alejandro Lazo
Sales of previously owned U.S. homes rose in July, as more inventory hit the market and an increase in mortgage interest rates likely motivated buyers. Sales were up 6.5% from the prior month and 17.2% from the same month a year earlier. Homes sold at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.39 million units last month, the National Assn. of Realtors reported Wednesday. The chief economist of the group, Lawrence Yun, said in a news release that in the short-term, sales will jump as people fear getting priced out of the market.
BUSINESS
August 21, 2013 | By Jim Puzzanghera
WASHINGTON -- The Federal Reserve could start reducing its bond-buying program next month, but won't raise its near-zero short-term interest rate until at least 2016 -- a year later than current central bank projections suggest, Pimco Chief Executive Mohamed El-Erian said Wednesday. Speaking at a Washington panel on the economy, El-Erian predicted that policymakers would try to make more use of the Fed's forward guidance to try to offset the recent rise in long-term interest rates.  Those rates have risen because investors have been anticipating the central bank decision to start tapering its $85 billion in monthly bond purchases.
BUSINESS
August 12, 2013 | By Andrew Tangel
NEW YORK -- New York's top law enforcement official has accused an Orange County-based lender of scamming borrowers out of "millions of dollars" with high-interest loans. CashCall, which is based in Anaheim, is one of two companies targeted by New York Atty. Gen. Eric Schneiderman for allegedly hitting cash-strapped New Yorkers with interest rates of 89% to 355% on personal loans. Schneiderman's office announced the civil action Monday against CashCall, South Dakota-based Western Sky, an affiliated company and their owners.
BUSINESS
August 9, 2013 | By Ricardo Lopez
It took an entire summer of wrangling, but students heading to college this fall won't see dramatic student loan interest rate hikes once President Obama signs a deal on the matter, a move expected Friday. About 11 million college students are expected to benefit from the legislation, which brings interest rates near what they were before a temporary extension expired in June. Undergraduates will now be able to borrow at a 3.9% rate for subsidized and unsubsidized loans, according to legislation that was negotiated in July.
BUSINESS
August 7, 2013 | By Jim Puzzanghera
WASHINGTON -- The Bank of England on Wednesday said it would maintain its stimulus program until the unemployment rate falls to 7%, following the same strategy as the U.S. Federal Reserve in providing an explicit target for when it would raise interest rates. The unemployment rate in Britain is 7.8% and is not forecast to drop to 7% for at least two years. The unemployment rate would need to fall to 7% before the bank's Monetary Policy Committee would consider raising its short-term interest rate from 0.5% and halting its bond-buying program, said Mark Carney, who took over as head of the British central bank last month.
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