Nation roundup for November 7


Measure of U.S. home prices rises

WASHINGTON (AP) — A measure of U.S. home prices jumped 5 percent in September compared with a year ago, the largest year-over-year increase since July 2006. The gain reported by CoreLogic offered more evidence of a sustainable housing recovery.

The real estate data provider also said Tuesday that prices declined 0.3 percent in September from August, the first drop after six straight increases. The monthly figures are not seasonally adjusted. CoreLogic says the monthly decline reflects the end of the summer home-buying season and not a softening in the housing recovery.

Steady price increases should give the housing market more momentum when home sales pick up in the spring. Rising prices encourage more homeowners to sell their homes and entice would-be buyers to purchase homes before prices rise further.

Other measures have also shown healthy gains in home prices over the past year. The Standard & Poor’s/Case Shiller 20-city index rose 2 percent in August compared with a year ago, a faster pace than the previous month.

The price gains in the past year reported by CoreLogic were widespread. Prices have risen in all but seven states. And they declined in only 18 out of 100 large cities that are tracked by the index.

Some of the biggest increases were in states that suffered the worst from the housing bust. Home prices in Arizona jumped 18.7 percent in the past year, the most of any state. Home prices in Idaho rose 13.1 percent, the second largest. Nevada’s home values rose 11 percent.

Home prices jumped 22.1 percent in Phoenix, the metro area with the biggest gain. Prices in Houston rose 6.6 percent, the second-highest increase.

The states with the biggest drops were Rhode Island (3.5 percent) and Illinois (2.3 percent).

CoreLogic’s price index is based on repeat sales of the same homes and tracks their price changes over time.

Several reports last month showed that the housing market is improving, though from depressed levels.

Home builders started construction on new homes and apartments at the fastest pace in more than four years in September. They also requested the most building permits in four years, a sign that many are confident that home sales gains will continue.

ABC raises nearly $17M for relief

NEW YORK (AP) — ABC says its national “Day of Giving” raised nearly $17 million for Superstorm Sandy relief.

Throughout its programming Monday, the network urged viewers to contribute to the American Red Cross to help victims of the storm, which affected several Northeastern states, but hit New Jersey and the New York metropolitan area particularly hard.

Appeals were aired all day on ABC programming, on Disney’s syndicated shows and across other Disney-owned networks.

Major contributors include ABC personalities Barbara Walters, George Stephanopoulos and Mark Cuban, the Dallas Mavericks owner and star of ABC’s “Shark Tank.” The Samsung Corp. also made a major gift.

In addition, the Walt Disney Co. made a $1 million contribution to local charities.

NBC held a telethon Friday for storm victims that raised nearly $23 million.

Police: Man kills two at workplace

FRESNO, Calif. (AP) — Police say a parolee who killed two people and wounded two others at a chicken processing plant in California moved methodically between three of the victims, putting a handgun against their head or neck and opening fire.

Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer said the victims did not hear the suspect, 42-year-old Lawrence Jones, on Tuesday because the processing plant was loud and at least some of them had noise protectors.

The fourth victim, a woman, was shot as she tried to flee the plant.

Dyer says Jones tried to shoot a fifth person, but he was out of bullets. Police believe he died a short time later of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Stocks climb as winner is awaited

NEW YORK (AP) — Major stock-market indexes climbed Tuesday as investors waited for the finish of a closely fought U.S. presidential election.

“We’re on pins and needles,” said Phil Orlando, chief equity strategist at Federated Investors, a money management firm. Orlando, who backs Republican Mitt Romney, said he thought the stock-market’s gains reflected optimism that Romney could win.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 133.24 points to close at 13,245.68.

Companies that investors believe would benefit under a potential Romney administration surged ahead. They included United Technologies and Boeing, which do substantial business with the Defense Department.

Four financial companies — Travelers, American Express, JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America — ranked among the 10 biggest gainers in the 30-stock Dow average.

Other investors say that they simply want the election behind them. That will allow Wall Street and Congress to shift their attention to the so-called fiscal cliff, a package of tax increases and government spending cuts scheduled to take effect Jan. 1.

In other trading Tuesday, the Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose 11.13 points to 1,428.39, while the Nasdaq composite index gained 12.27 points to 3,011.93.

The price of crude oil jumped $3 to $88.71 in New York as reports suggested that Superstorm Sandy caused a drop in gasoline supplies. That also helped lift stocks in petroleum refiners. Tesoro Corp and Phillips 66 each rose 5 percent.

In the market for government bonds, the yield on the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury note rose to 1.75 percent. That’s up from 1.68 percent late Monday.

Even with the surge Tuesday, it remained a quieter Election Day for the stock market than last time.

During the financial meltdown four years ago, big swings in the market became commonplace. On Nov. 4, 2008, the Dow shot up 305 points, easily the biggest Election Day rally of all time. Investors expected a victory for Barack Obama.

On Election Day 2004, the prospect of a close election led to a late sell-off, and the Dow finished down 18 points, snapping a five-day winning streak. John Kerry didn’t concede to George W. Bush until the following day.

Among other stocks making big moves Tuesday:

— Weight-loss company Medifast rose $2.29 to $29.11 after reporting that its quarterly earnings increased more than 40 percent as expenses fell.

— Express Scripts sank $7.73 to $55.15. The pharmacy benefits manager warned that persistently high unemployment and economic uncertainty would hurt its business next year.

— NYSE Euronext fell $1.34 to $24.27. The parent company of the New York Stock Exchange reported Tuesday that its quarterly earnings fell by nearly half. A drop in the number of transactions it handles pulled down revenue.

 

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