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U.S. sales of new homes drop in December but up for year PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by MARTIN CRUTSINGER, AP Economics Writer   
Monday, 27 January 2014 11:12

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. sales of new homes slipped in December for a second consecutive month but even with the pause at the end of the year, sales for all of 2013 climbed to the highest level in five years.

The Commerce Department says sales of new homes dropped 7 percent in December to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 414,000. In November, sales had fallen 3.9 percent.

For the whole year, sales were up 16.4 percent to 428,000, the highest level since 2008.

It marked the second year that sales have risen after six consecutive annual declines as the housing industry was rocked by the collapse of a housing bubble. Sales of new homes peaked at 1.28 million in 2005. Analysts expect further sales gains in 2014.


Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

 
U.S. probes Camry hybrids for power brake problem PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by Associated Press   
Monday, 27 January 2014 10:14

DETROIT (AP) — U.S. safety regulators are investigating complaints that power-assisted brakes can fail at times in Camry gas-electric hybrids.

The probe covers about 30,000 of the midsize cars from the 2007 and 2008 model years.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says it has 59 complaints about intermittent loss of power-brake assist. The agency says the problem happens without warning. It causes increased stopping distances and requires more pedal pressure to stop the car.

Two crashes have been reported but no injuries. The agency says 24 incidents happened at speeds of 40 miles per hour or more. It says the number of complaints is increasing, with 55 percent received in the past eight months.

Investigators will try to find the cause and determine if the cars should be recalled.


Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Last Updated on Monday, 27 January 2014 10:15
 
Gold prospectors take advantage of California drought PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by Associated Press   
Monday, 27 January 2014 10:24

AUBURN, Calif. (AP) — As California's drought persists and water levels dip to historically low levels, gold prospectors are taking to Northern California rivers hoping to spot something shiny.

The Sacramento Bee reports (http://bit.ly/1d4HnOt ) that calling it a gold rush might be a stretch, but unusually low rivers are opening up areas of Placer County that haven't been touched by man in decades, if not over a century.

James Hutchings, Sacramento chapter president of the Gold Prospectors Association of America, tells the newspaper that flakes — possibly even nuggets — that normally would be submerged might be available.

Over the weekend, truck driver Michael Albin came away with a gold chip in his pan about one-fourth the size of a pea.

He says that's enough to keep him coming back for more.

___

Information from: The Sacramento Bee, http://www.sacbee.com


Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

 
Japan posts record $112B trade deficit in 2013 PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by ELAINE KURTENBACH, AP Business Writer   
Monday, 27 January 2014 07:41

TOKYO (AP) — Japan's trade deficit surged to a record 11.47 trillion yen ($112 billion) in 2013 as the shutdown of nuclear power plants swelled the nation's energy import bill.

Provisional data Monday showed that exports rose 9.5 percent to 69.8 trillion yen ($680.9 billion), while imports jumped 15 percent to 81.3 trillion yen ($793.2 billion).

Japan's trade deficit in 2012 was 6.94 trillion yen. The deficit has been rising as costs for imports have surged with the weakening of the Japanese yen and increased purchases of foreign oil and gas. Japan's nuclear reactors have been offline for safety and regulatory checks after the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami devastated the Fukushima nuclear plant.

The largest shortfall, 13.2 trillion yen ($128.8 billion), was with the Middle East, source of the largest share of resource-scarce Japan's imports of oil and gas.

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