Mission nearly impossible this spring: Finding a home to buy
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Anyone eager to buy a home this spring probably has reasons to feel good. The job market is solid. Average pay is rising. And mortgage rates, even after edging up of late, are still near historic lows. And then there’s the bad news: Just try to find a house. The national supply of homes for sale hasn’t been this thin in nearly 20 years. And over the past year, the steepest drop in supply has occurred among homes that are typically most affordable for first-time buyers and in markets where prices have risen sharply. In markets like San Diego, Boston and Seattle, competition for a dwindling supply has escalated along with pressure to offer more money and accept less favorable terms.
Wells claws back $75 million from top execs in sales scandal
NEW YORK (AP) — The problems at Wells Fargo and its overly aggressive sales culture date back at least 15 years, and management had little interest in dealing with the issue until it spiraled out of control resulting in millions of accounts being opened fraudulently, according to an investigation by the company’s board of directors. The bank’s board also clawed back another $75 million in pay from two former executives, CEO John Stumpf and community bank executive Carrie Tolstedt, saying both executives dragged their feet for years regarding problems at the second-largest U.S. bank. Both were ultimately unwilling to accept criticism that the bank’s sales-focused business model was failing.
US airlines show improvement in annual study
DALLAS (AP) — Airlines are getting better at sticking to their schedules and are losing fewer bags. Their customers seem to be complaining less often. Those are the findings of an annual report on U.S. airlines’ quality released Monday by researchers at Wichita State University and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. Many passengers may have trouble believing those conclusions, however. In just the last few days Delta Air Lines suffered a multi-day meltdown — canceling more than 3,000 flights after a one-day storm in Atlanta. And on Monday, United Airlines was in the spotlight after a video showed security agents dragging a man off a plane; he had refused to give up his seat on a flight that United overbooked.
Video of passenger getting dragged off flight sparks uproar
CHICAGO (AP) — Video of police officers dragging a passenger from an overbooked United Airlines flight sparked an uproar Monday on social media, and a spokesman for the airline insisted that employees had no choice but to contact authorities to remove the man. As the flight waited to depart from Chicago’s O’Hare Airport, officers could be seen grabbing the screaming man from a window seat, pulling him across the armrest and dragging him down the aisle by his arms. The airline was trying to make room for four of its employees on the Sunday evening flight to Louisville, Kentucky.
Toyota announces $1.33 billion investment in Kentucky plant
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Toyota said Monday it is investing $1.33 billion to retool its sprawling factory in Georgetown, Kentucky, where the company’s flagship Camry sedans are built. No new factory jobs are being added, but Toyota says the upgrades amount to the biggest single investment ever at one of its existing plants in the United States. The retooling also will sustain the existing 8,200 jobs at Toyota’s largest plant, where about one-fourth of all Toyota vehicles produced in North America are made, the automaker said.
Ford says hybrid police car catches bad guys, saves gas too
DEARBORN, Mich. (AP) — The next time the cops chase you down for speeding, they could be driving a fuel-efficient gas-electric hybrid. Ford Motor Co., which sells more police vehicles in the U.S. than any other automaker, says it will offer a police pursuit version of the hybrid Fusion midsize sedan, in response to requests from cities nationwide. The new car, with its 2-Liter four-cylinder engine and 1.4 kilowatt lithium-ion battery, is expected to get 38 miles per gallon of gas in combined city-highway driving. That’s 20 mpg more than Ford’s current police car, the Taurus police interceptor.
Regulators find lots of ‘fake news’ aimed at stock investors
WASHINGTON (AP) — “Fake news” is not limited to presidential politics and conspiracy theories. Investors also have to be on the alert for stock promotions masquerading as unbiased reports online. Federal regulators have brought civil fraud charges against 27 businesses and individuals for deceiving investors into believing they were reading independent, impartial analyses of stocks on websites. The Securities and Exchange Commission said Monday that the writers were secretly paid for writing the bullish articles.
Barclays CEO investigated for trying to unmask whistleblower
LONDON (AP) — The CEO of Barclays bank is being investigated by regulators for his attempts to unmask a whistleblower who had written anonymous letters raising concerns about a senior employee. Jes Staley had sought to identify the author of the letters but was told it was inappropriate to do so under rules protecting whistleblowers. Staley then sought again to identify the person, even using help from a U.S. law enforcement agency, but failed.
New York makes tuition free, but students must stay after college
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — There’s a big string attached to New York’s free middle-class college tuition initiative: Students must stay in the state after graduation or else pay back the benefit. Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Monday that the requirement was added to protect the state’s investment in a student’s education by ensuring they don’t take advantage of free tuition and then leave New York. The bank, which has faced a number of legal problems in recent years, said Monday that Staley had honestly, but mistakenly, believed that he had clearance to identify the whistleblower.
Sushi stress: Fishermen not catching many baby eels
PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — The chilly rivers of Maine are causing trouble in the world of sushi. The state’s brief, annual season for baby eels is off to a slow start because of a cold spring that has prevented the fish from running in rivers. The baby eels, called elvers, are an important piece of the worldwide sushi supply chain. They’re sold to Asian aquaculture companies — sometimes for more than $2,000 per pound — that raise them to maturity and use them as food.
The Standard & Poor’s 500 index gained 1.62 points, or 0.1 percent, to 2,357.16. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 1.92 points, or 0.01 percent, to 20,658.02. The Nasdaq composite index added 3.11 points, or 0.1 percent, to 5,880.93.
Benchmark crude oil closed higher for the fifth day in a row, adding 84 cents, or 1.6 percent, to $53.08 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, the standard for international oil prices, gained 74 cents, or 1.3 percent, at $55.98 a barrel in London. Wholesale gasoline gained 1 cent to $1.76 a gallon. Heating oil rose 2 cents to $1.65 a gallon. Natural gas slid 2 cents to $3.24 per 1,000 cubic feet.
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