UPDATED 12:51 PM EDT, May 23, 2013 | MARTIN CRUTSINGER, AP Economics Writer
WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. sales of new homes rose in April and nearly matched the fastest pace in five years, driving the median price to a record high. The gains suggest the housing recovery is strengthening.
New-home sales increased 2.3 percent in April from March to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 454,000, the Commerce Department said Thursday. That's only slightly below January's pace of 458,000, which was the fastest since July 2008.
BEIJING (AP) — Computer maker Lenovo Group said Thursday its latest quarterly profit rose 90 percent as sales of smartphones and mobile computing technology expanded.
Lenovo said it earned $127 million, or 1.22 cents per share, in the three months ending March 31. Revenue rose 4 percent over a year earlier to $7.8 billion.
Lenovo ranks a close second behind Hewlett-Packard Co. as the biggest maker of personal computer makers but growth in that market has slowed as consumers shift to mobile Web surfing on smartphones and tablets.
NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks fell in afternoon trading Wednesday on news that several Federal Reserve policymakers in a meeting earlier this month favored cutting back on stimulus programs as early as June if the economy continued to improve.
The release of minutes of the April 30-May 1 meeting reversed a surge earlier in the day on hopes that the Fed was a long way from stopping its stimulus efforts.
WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. builders broke ground on fewer homes in April, one month after topping the 1 million mark for the first time since 2008. But most of the decline was in apartment construction, which tends to vary sharply from month to month.
And applications for new construction reached a five-year peak, evidence that the housing revival will be sustained.
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama held assets last year that were worth between $1.8 million and nearly $7 million, according to federal financial disclosure forms the White House released Wednesday.
Required by law, the forms allow public officials to list their assets in broad ranges, such as between $1 million and $5 million, which makes it difficult to determine a precise net worth.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Fannie Mae said something Thursday that would have been unthinkable a few years ago: It earned a record $58.7 billion profit in the January-March quarter.
And it made clear it's on the cusp of repaying taxpayers for the most expensive bailout of a single company in the financial crisis.
For Fannie, the future hasn't looked this bright since 2006.
More Americans are buying homes. Prices are rising at a pace not seen since the housing bubble burst. Banks are lending only the most qualified buyers. And many fewer homes are falling into foreclosure.
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Fewer U.S. homes entered the foreclosure process or were repossessed by lenders last month, the latest indication that the nation's foreclosure woes are waning.
Nationally, home repossessions fell 20 percent in April from the previous month and were down 32 percent from a year earlier, foreclosure listing firm RealtyTrac Inc. said Thursday.
Foreclosure starts, the initial step in the process that can eventually lead to a home being foreclosed upon, dipped 4 percent last month from March and tumble 28 percent from April last year, the firm said.
MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexico's government proposed a sweeping overhaul of the banking sector Wednesday to make credit cheaper and more available, a move desperately needed in a country where bank loans represent less than 20 percent of GDP — one-tenth the level seen in the United States.
The plan would encourage banks to compete and lend more, create incentives for mid-size companies to list shares on the stock market, and modify bankruptcy laws to make it easier for lenders to seize debtors' assets.