RSS
Today in business: 5 things you need to know
Home prices make a huge leap, the fiscal cliff hurts stocks, and more in our roundup of business stories that are making news and driving opinion
 
"The housing recovery that started earlier in 2012 continues to gain momentum," says economist Mark Fleming.
"The housing recovery that started earlier in 2012 continues to gain momentum," says economist Mark Fleming.
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

1. HOME PRICES MAKE BIGGEST GAINS IN YEARS
Home prices jumped 6.3 percent from October 2011 to October 2012 — the biggest such gain in six years, research firm CoreLogic said Tuesday. Prices slipped a hair lower than they were in September, but that was to be expected after the end of the warm-weather home-buying season. October was the eighth month in a row of year-over-year improvement. In another encouraging sign, CoreLogic also reported that foreclosures were down 17 percent in October compared to the same month last year. "The housing recovery that started earlier in 2012 continues to gain momentum," the firm's chief economist, Mark Fleming, said. Luxury home-builder Toll Brothers' better-than-expected sales, reported Tuesday, fueled the optimism. [Los Angeles Times]
………………………………………………………………………………

2. STOCKS STUCK PENDING FISCAL CLIFF NEWS
U.S. markets appeared stuck in limbo early Tuesday, as investors waited for signs of movement in talks between Democrats and Republicans on averting the fiscal cliff — a raft of steep spending cuts and tax hikes that could send the economy into another recession. Analysts still expect a deficit reduction deal before the Jan. 1 deadline, and stocks could rally if an agreement materializes in time. Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan, however, told CNBC that uncertainty over the looming fiscal cliff has already hurt business spending for 2013, and the damage could stretch into 2014 if there's no resolution soon. [Reuters]
………………………………………………………………………………

3. GOLD SLUMPS DUE TO BUDGET IMPASSE
More victims of the fiscal cliff impasse: Gold and other precious metals. Gold futures fell to a four-week low on Tuesday as news of continuing friction between Democrats and Republicans trickled out of closed-door meetings in Washington. With just four weeks remaining to head off scheduled automatic austerity measures that will siphon $600 billion out of the economy, 22 of 24 raw materials in the Standard & Poor's GSCI Spot Index lost ground. "Gold is usually said to be a safe haven," says commodity strategist Bart Melek at TD Securities, "but the threat to economies globally from the fiscal cliff is having knock-on effects." [Bloomberg]
………………………………………………………………………………

4. ICAHN DROPS BID TO TAKE OVER MILITARY-TRUCK SUPPLIER OSHKOSH
Oshkosh Corp. stock fell by about 5 percent early Tuesday after activist billionaire investor Carl Icahn dropped his attempt to buy the company. Icahn, the company's largest shareholder with 9.5 percent, had vowed to give up his $9 billion takeover bid if he didn't get others to offer him at least 25 percent of outstanding shares, and he only got 22 percent. Icahn has criticized top executives at the company, the military's largest supplier of heavy-duty trucks, and pushed to spin off part of its business. [Bloomberg]
………………………………………………………………………………

5. BARBIE CONSTRUCTION SETS RISE IN POPULARITY
"One of the hot holiday trends in toyland is construction sets for girls," says Richard Davies at ABC News. Lego's line of pastel construction toys is a big seller. So are Mattel's first Barbie construction sets. What's going on? Two big factors are fueling the trend, says Stephanie Clifford at The New York Times. One: More dads are doing the family shopping these days; and, two: An increasing number of parents are looking to give girls, like boys, toys than help hone their math and science skills. Change comes slowly, though. The mansions Barbie builds are pink. [ABC News]

 

THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER

Subscribe to the Week