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Wednesday
Jan262011

Notaries Plead the Fifth Amid Accusations of Fraud in Foreclosures

Photo Courtesy -- ABC News(ANNAPOLIS, Md.) – Problems with notaries are just the most recent in a string of legal issues with foreclosure documents.

The recent accusations against notaries have caused 18 present and past notaries to plead the fifth in foreclosure cases, reports The Daily Record.

The most common problem being uncovered with the notarized documents are the certifications that say the notary witnessed a signature, even when they didn’t.

The fraudulent notaries have been an issue for home buyers as foreclosures have been dismissed due to the false documents. Such notaries, however, have yet to face prosecution.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Jan262011

Goldman CEO Warns of Over-Regulation on Banks

Photo Courtesy - Mario Tama/Getty Images(DAVOS, Switzerland) – The CEO of Goldman Sachs, a company that received $12.9 billion in federal bailout money, said Wednesday that further regulation on banks by the government will only move risky financial activities elsewhere.

According to a report in the Financial Times, Gary Cohn, Goldman’s top executive, made those remarks at the World Economic Forum, which is a meeting of top economic, business, and political leaders from around the world.

Cohn said that if regulation continued to constrict activities of the major banks, that hedge funds and unregulated businesses would be more apt to undertaking risky business maneuvers. He argued that new rules should not just be given to banks, but that they should be applied across all markets.

Cohn drew strong criticism for his remarks from some observers who claimed that his comments were very self-absorbed, and that he only said that because banks stand to lose business that can easily move elsewhere.

But those who sided with Cohn said that he made a strong point, because if unregulated activities shift to other markets, the risk for another collapse similar to the recent one on Wall Street could happen again.

The report also says that many large hedge funds have lobbied Congress to be left off of a list of areas to be regulated, claiming that they are not strong enough to harm the U.S. financial ecosystem.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Jan262011

Kodak Profit Drops 95% In Final Quarter of 2010

Image Courtesy -- Brandon Goodman/Getty Images for the PGA TOUR(ROCHESTER, N.Y) – Upstate New York-based Eastman-Kodak said Wednesday that its fourth-quarter revenue numbers were down 25 percent from where expectations were for many different reasons. The company’s revenue totaled $1.93 billion in the period from October to December, falling short of the $2.11 billion analysts had predicted.

While slacking sales of film and older model camera equipment have sliced into Kodak’s profits, the company also says lower prices from new companies on digital products, falling licensing fees, and an increase in commodity prices hurt their bottom line.

Kodak faces strong competition from both Sony and Canon in the digital camera market.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Jan262011

Consumers to Pay More with Rising Cost of Commodities

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- A trip to McDonald's, a late-night cable movie and latte will cost you a little more money this year. The price of commodities is going up, and the prices of some of your favorite things are rising to the top along with them.

"Companies are already anticipating raising prices in spring and fall because there is a lag time," said Al Ferrara, partner at professional services firm BDO USA, LLP. "It takes three to nine months for those cost increases to be felt in the marketplace."

"You will see increases but they don't happen overnight because of the lag time it takes to get products into the hands of consumers," Ferrara said.

Cell phone plans, cable prices, XBox Live Gold, coffee, McDonald's, gas prices and Netflix are among the companies and items that have already been affected by price hikes.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Jan262011

Top 10 Cities to Buy a Home in 2011

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Home values have fallen 26 percent since the market's peak in 2006 -- and as much as 50 percent in some areas.  But if you have good credit and plan to buy a home and live there for at least five years, it can be a great time to bag a real estate bargain.

ABC News partnered with real estate website Zillow.com to figure out the best places to buy in 2011.  Zillow looked at four regional factors to determine the top choices -- affordability based on median home costs, unemployment rates, foreclosure rates and price increases in home values.

Here are the top 10 best places to buy in 2011 after analyzing those four factors:

1. Utica, New York
2. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
3. Rochester, New York
4. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
5. Tulsa, Oklahoma
6. Albany, New York
7. Lancaster, Pennsylvania
8. Madison, Wisconsin
9. Green Bay, Wisconsin
10. Lincoln, Nebraska

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Jan262011

Dow Jones Industrial Average Tops 12,000

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(NEW YORK) -- As snow piles up on Wall Street, traders are noting January 26 as a special "big round number day."

The Dow Jones Industrial Average – a measure of the value of 30 of the nation's biggest stocks – passed the 12,000 mark for the first time since a sunny summer day in 2008.

At 10:15 a.m., the big board showed the Dow crossing the 12K mark as positive news about new home sales and unemployment claims pushed traders into a buying mood. Investors have not seen the milestone number on the big board since June 17, 2008.

While it's nice to see the number bouncing back to this level, investors are still suffering the effects of the financial crisis. The Dow's importance is in practical terms just mental. It is still 18 percent below its all-time high close of 14,164.53 set back in October 2007.

But think how far we have come. During the heat of the financial crisis, the Dow bottomed out at around 6,547 in early March 2009. Since then we've seen the Dow jump by 83 percent as the crisis passed and the economy has started to get its footing. 

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Jan262011

CBO Projects Record Deficit 

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office predicted Wednesday this year’s federal budget deficit will come in at $1.5 trillion, a new record. 

“For 2011, the Congressional Budget Office projects that if current laws remain unchanged, the federal budget will show a deficit of close to $1.5 trillion, or 9.8 percent of GDP,” the CBO said in a new report.

Senate Budget Committee chairman Kent Conrad called the projections a “wake-up call to the nation.”

“CBO’s report should be another wake-up call to the nation,” Conrad said in a paper statement. “In the near-term, due to passage of the tax extension package and the slow pace of the economic recovery, CBO is now expecting to see deficits of more than $1 trillion a year continuing through at least 2012. And as disturbing as those near-term deficits are, the long-term outlook is even worse. It is the deteriorating long-term outlook that is the biggest threat to the country’s economic security.”

“The fiscal challenge confronting us is enormous,” Conrad said. “To solve this problem, it will require real compromise and a great deal of political will. We need everyone at the table. And we need to have both sides, Democrats and Republicans, willing to move off their fixed positions and find common ground. We can’t continue to put this off. We need to reach an agreement this year. The President’s Fiscal Commission provided a model for a bipartisan way forward. Now it is up to the Administration and members on both sides of the aisle in Congress to come together to finish the job.”

On the jobs front, CBO projected that the unemployment rate will fall to 9.2 percent in the fourth quarter of 2011 and 8.2 percent in the fourth quarter of 2012.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Jan262011

Cable Providers to Hike Prices as Early as February

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- TV viewers may have to pay a little more to watch their favorite shows, as cable providers across the U.S. begin to raise prices.

DirecTV customers will see a price hike of around four percent starting Feb. 10.  For customers that are a part of an introductory plan, monthly plans will remain the same, but old customers will be shelling out more money for the cable provider's various plans.  The lowest package will jump from $39.99 to $44.99.

Moreover, Time Warner customers are expected to see a seven percent increase and Cablevision will raise rates to around three percent, according to the TheStreet.com.

DISH Network prices will also hit a high with some customers paying 12 percent more beginning in February.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Jan262011

Toyota Issues Recalls of Nearly 1.7 Million Vehicles Worldwide

Photo Courtesy - Ted Aljibe/AFP/Getty Images(TORRANCE, Calif.) -- Toyota Motor Corp. announced three separate recalls Wednesday affecting close to 1.7 million vehicles sold in the U.S. and worldwide.

The Japanese automaker issued a voluntary safety recall for nearly 245,000 Lexus models sold in the U.S. between 2006 and 2008, citing a problem with the installation of fuel pressure sensors.  Toyota says the pressure sensors may not be sufficiently tightened, posing a risk for fuel leakage if the sensors loosen over time.  The vehicles affected include Lexus GS and IS models.

Owners of the affected models will be notified of the recall by mail.  If a fuel leak is found, Lexus dealers will make the proper repairs free of charge.

Worldwide, Toyota is recalling about 1.3 million vehicles sold in Japan over a problem with a fuel delivery pipe and high-pressure fuel pump check valve.  The models affected by this recall include the Noah subcompact, RAV4 sport-utility vehicle, and Wish cars.

The automaker is also recalling 141,000 Avensis cars sold in Europe and New Zealand citing irregular fuel pipes that increase the likelihood of cracks and further leakage.

No accidents related to any of these leakage problems have been reported so far, according to Toyota spokesman Paul Nolasco.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Jan262011

Nevada Had Highest Jobless Rate in 2010; North Dakota Had Lowest

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Sixteen states experienced an increase in unemployment during 2010, even as the overall national unemployment rate went down by half a percentage point, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics' latest state and regional unemployment report.

Released Tuesday, the report found Nevada topped the national unemployment list last year with a 14.5 percent rate -- the highest level of unemployment in the state’s history.  California came in second place on the list with 12.5 percent and Florida closely followed in third with 12 percent.

North Dakota was the best place in the nation by jobless rates with 3.8 percent.  Nebraska with 4.4 percent and South Dakota 4.6 percent came in a close second and third with their low rates.

Of note, half of the country -- 25 states -- reported unemployment rates significantly lower than then 9.4 percent national average.  Seventeen states had rates that were statistically at the national average, while the eight remaining states were statistically higher than the average.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio