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FORECLOSURES SURGE IN FIRST 6 MONTHS OF '07

LOS ANGELES

The number of U.S. homes facing foreclosure surged 58 percent in the first six months of the year, the latest sign of mounting problems in the mortgage industry, a data firm said Monday. In all, 573,397 properties across the nation reported some sort of foreclosure activity in the first half of this year, including receiving notices of default, auction sale notices or being repossessed by lenders, Irvine-based RealtyTrac Inc. said. "We could easily surpass 2 million foreclosure filings by the end of the year, which would represent a year-over-year increase of over 65 percent," said RealtyTrac CEO James J. Saccacio. Florida was the No. 2 state for homes in some stage of foreclosure, with a total of 64,250, an increase of 77 percent year-over-year.

HOUSTON

Gas glut seen by 2010, report says

Gasoline prices could decline by 2010 amid a "potential oversupply" of oil products, even though U.S. refining capacity will be expanded less than previously thought, says a new report by Edinburgh, Scotland-based consultancy Wood Mackenzie LTD. Despite lagging refinery expansion and growing demand, the report suggests that new biofuels, natural gas liquids and liquefied petroleum may replace some conventional fuels, resulting in a potential oversupply that depresses prices at the pump. The central conclusion - that a glut of fuel supply from outside the conventional refining system could depress gasoline prices - differs from the consensus of many energy experts, which holds that the supply impact from biofuels and other sources will be limited between now and the end of the decade.

BEIJING

China tries to lasso red-hot economy

China tightened credit Monday in a new effort to cool its sizzling economy, ordering banks to shrink the pool of money for lending by increasing their reserves for a sixth time this year. The move was widely expected after the economy grew by 11.9 percent last quarter, its fastest rate in 12 years despite earlier efforts to slow the expansion. Beijing raised interest rates July 20 for a third time this year. China's communist leaders want to keep overall growth high to reduce poverty. But they worry runaway investment could push up politically volatile inflation or spark a debt crisis if borrowers default.

COOKING UP A DEAL TO BUY WENDY'S

Billionaire investor Nelson Peltz said he might pay as much as $3.6-billion for Wendy's International Inc., causing shares to rise 6.9 percent in extended trading. Peltz made the statement in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

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