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Thursday
Mar242011

Stock Averages Up Amid Higher Oil Prices, Worries Overseas

Comstock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Despite soaring oil prices, a virtual civil war in Libya and new debt worries in Europe, the stock market is still going up.

Future are up Thursday morning after the Dow gained 67 points the day before.  The Nasdaq and S&P also saw gains Wednesday, adding 14 points and four points, respectively.

In Europe, averages are mostly higher Thursday morning amid worsening financial problems in Portugal.  A bailout could be coming soon to Portugal after its government resigned.  Borrowing costs there are up, and the country's opposition parties rejected a plan to cut the deficit by hiking taxes and reducing spending.  Also, the interest rate on Portugese ten year bonds soared to 7.6 percent.

Meanwhile, as the unrest in Libya continues, oil prices are now around their highest in recent weeks, standing at $106 a barrel.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Mar242011

Toyota 'Likely' to Curb Production in North American Plants

TED ALJIBE/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Amid a shortage of auto parts in Japan resulting from the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, Toyota announced Wednesday that it plans to curb production at its plants in North America.

In a statement, the Japanese automaker said, "We continue to assess our supply base in Japan following the earthquake/tsunami.  Today, we communicated to team members, associates and dealers here that some production interruptions in North America are likely."

Toyota added that it's "too early to predict" where the interruptions will take place and how long they will last.

Overtime at the automaker's 13 North American plants had previously been curtailed in an effort to conserve parts coming from Japanese suppliers.

Toyota also said Wednesday that its "dealerships continue to have an ample supply of vehicles," and that its "ships continue to deliver vehicles to North America."

Meanwhile, in Japan, although the production of vehicles remains suspended, plants have resumed the production of parts.  Toyota has not yet announced when vehicle production will resume in the country.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Mar242011

Many Hesistant to Buy Homes Despite Lower Mortgage Rates, Prices

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Mortgage rates are low and housing prices have dropped, but many consumers are still very reluctant to buy.

Drops in sales of new and existing homes fell last month, but so have average prices.  Yet, comparisons between the two are difficult to make.

"These prices are reflecting smaller homes with more modest amenities," says David Crowe of the National Associated of Home Builders.

Local housing markets also vary a great deal, with some faring better than others.

"There are markets in the country that are beginning to recover," says Crowe.  "States like Texas and Oklahoma are doing okay."

Despite improvements in some markets, prices are being dragged down in places where there are many foreclosures.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Mar232011

Stocks Back Up Wednesday; Disaster in Japan to Cost Estimated $309 Billion 

Comstock Images/Thinkstock (NEW YORK) -- After losing some ground early on, stocks called it a day on the plus side.

The Dow closed up 67 points, the Nasdaq gained 14 and the S&P added four Wednesday.

The latest price tag for Japan's earthquake and tsunami had investors feeling uneasy to start the session.  The Japanese government now estimates it could cost its country $309 billion, making it the world's most expensive natural disaster on record.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Mar232011

BOA Shares Down after Fed Rejects Dividend Increase

Bank of America Logo/PRNews Foto(NEW YORK) -- Stock averages were down a bit on Wall Street, but there was no big drop and oil prices are up to over $105 a barrel for West Texas crude.

Many companies are dealing with parts shortages after Japan's earthquake and tsunami and Toyota is suspending U.S. production for a few days.

In other news, Bank of America shares were down three percent and the Federal Reserve has rejected the bank's plan to raise its dividend later this year. Several other big banks have been allowed to raise their stock dividends.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Mar232011

New Home Sales Plunge

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- February saw a drop in new home sales and the government says average prices fell, as well.

This is the third straight monthly decline for new home sales and another sign the housing slump is still a big drag on the economy. "The latest numbers for new home sales is a 16-point-nine per cent drop from the January figure. This is a new record low in new home sales at a rate of 250-thousand per year," according to David Crowe of the National Association of Homebuilders.

The number of sales is well under half the amount considered by economists to be a healthy market.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Mar232011

Apple Pulls 'Anti-Gay' App After Pressure

Apple(NEW YORK) -- Apple has removed a controversial "anti-gay" app from its App Store after nearly 150,000 people signed an online petition requesting its removal.

Released in mid-February by the Orlando, Fla.-based Christian group Exodus International, the free app provided video, podcasts, blog posts and other content that reflect the group's mission as a "refuge for people looking for help in their journey out of homosexuality."

"Exodus is a Christian ministry that supports those wanting to reconcile their faith with their sexual behavior," the group says on its site, adding that it believes that changing homosexuality is possible because thousands of people in its network can attest to it.

As of Tuesday afternoon, the application was still available for download in the App Store. But, later Tuesday night Change.org, the group behind the petition, posted an update saying that the app was no longer in the App Store. The group said it wanted to keep pressure on Apple until the company released a statement explaining its decision.

An Apple spokesman Wednesday confirmed to ABCNews.com that the company removed it.

"We removed the app from the App Store because it violates our developer guidelines by being offensive to large groups of people," he said.

Exodus International did not immediately provide comment on Apple's decision, but Jeff Buchanan, senior director of church equipping and student ministries for the group, earlier told ABCNews.com that the group was disappointed to see the negative reaction to its app.

"What we're asking for is fair and equal representation on the Apple platform," he said. "We see this as a religious freedom."

Buchanan said that given that the "pro-gay" Metropolitan Community Church of New York has a place in Apple's online store (with a podcast app), Exodus should be allowed to distribute its application there as well.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Mar232011

Google's Quest for Virtual Library Hits Snag

Google(NEW YORK) -- Google's been handed a setback in its quest to create a virtual universal library, after a U.S. Circuit Judge rejected a deal between the Internet search giant and the book industry, citing anti-trust concerns and a need for congressional involvement. 

Google has already scanned 15 million books for the project. The $125 million settlement had drawn hundreds of objections from rivals, consumer watchdogs, academics and even foreign governments.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Mar232011

Tax Tip: Saving Energy and Taxes

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- If you upgraded your appliances or fixtures to make your home more green, you're likely to be eligible for a tax break.

“If you put in energy-efficient windows, doors, or something like that in 2010, you can get a tax credit of up to $1500,” said Eric Smith with the IRS.

The residential energy credit gives you back 30 percent of what you spent on your home -- up to $1500.

The credit is available for 2011 -- but reduced.

“That tax credit has been scaled back to $500 instead of $1500,” said Mary Beth Franklin with Kiplinger's Personal Finance. “If you took advantage of the $1500 credit in 2009 or 2010, you don't get another crack at the lower credit in 2011.”

There are, however, still some alternative energy credits on the books for larger home projects, like installing solar panels and small wind turbines.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Mar232011

CPSC Reissues Recall on over 985,000 Delta Drop-Side Cribs

U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (WASHINGTON, D.C.) -- The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is once again recalling drop-side cribs made by Delta Enterprise Corp. after learning that a seven-month-old girl from Colorado became entrapped and suffocated in her recalled crib in 2009.

The latest recall affects more than 985,000 cribs and is a reissue of the original recall from October 2008.  It includes 49 models with "Crib Trigger Lock with Safety Peg" drop-side hardware.

The affected cribs were made in Taiwan and Indonesia and sold at major retailers like Kmart, Target and Walmart between January 1995 and December 2005.

The CPSC warns that missing safety pegs can cause the crib's drop-side rail to disengage from the track, creating a hazardous space in which an infant can become entrapped and suffocate.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio