Real Estate Daily News Buzz is designed to give news snippets to readers that our (yet to be award winning) editors thought you could use to start your day. They come from various business perspectives, real estate, government, the Fed, local news, and the stock markets to save you time. Here you will find the headlines and what the news buzz for the day will be.
The Dow Jones industrial average closed up 108.08 points, or 0.66%, to 16,481.94. The S&P 500 gained 9.50 points, or 0.52%, to 1,848.38. The NASDAQ composite rose 31.87 points, or 0.76%, to 4,214.88. Benchmark U.S. crude oil for February delivery rose $1.58, or 1.7%, to $94.17 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
BANK OF AMERICA 4Q EARNING JUMP NEARLY FIVE FOLD
NEW YORK (AP) — Bank of America Corp. said Wednesday that its fourth-quarter profit jumped sharply from a year earlier, as the loans on the bank’s balance sheet continued to improve. The nation’s second-largest bank earned $3.44 billion in the October to December period, up from $732 million a year earlier. On a per-share basis, the bank earned 29 cents, beating the 26 cents expected by financial analysts. Fourth-quarter revenue rose to $22.32 billion from $19.6 billion, exceeding analysts’ forecasts of $21.2 billion. The bank’s profits got a big boost because Bank of America was able to significantly reduce the amount of money it holds on its balance sheet to protect itself from bad loans. The bank’s provision for credit losses fell to $336 million from $2.2 billion in the same period a year earlier. Even BofA’s mortgage division, which took huge losses after the housing bubble popped, improved.
SOLAR CITY TURNS TO RETAIL INVESTORS FOR CASH
NEW YORK (AP) — Solar panel installer SolarCity is turning to retail investors for cash. The company said Wednesday that it plans to sell securities directly to individuals and others interested in investing in its rooftop solar systems. The move is a novel way for the San Mateo, Calif., company to finance the enormous cost of installing panels on thousands of roofs — a typical residential system costs $25,000 — while appealing to retail investors who are on the hunt for better rates of return than they can find in savings accounts and government bonds. The securities will likely be similar to bonds or certificates of deposit. But instead of being backed by SolarCity, they would be backed by hundreds or thousands of contracts with rooftop solar customers. Wall Street has long created such products, called securitizations, which bundle assets such as mortgages or other loans into securities that can then be bought and sold. Now SolarCity wants to offer its own version through its website. SolarCity Corp. CEO Lyndon Rive said in an interview that he expects the company will offer several types of products that investors could hold for different lengths of time, or even trade. He expects eventually to raise “billions” of dollars this way.
US WHOLESALE COSTS ROSE LAST MONTH ON GAS PRICES
WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. wholesale prices increased in December, pushed up by rising gasoline prices and energy costs. But overall inflation remained mild. The Labor Department said Wednesday that the producer price index, which measures costs before they reach the consumer, rose 0.4% last month from November. That ends three straight months of falling wholesale prices. Gas prices increased 2.2% after recent declines. Home heating oil costs grew at the fastest pace in 10 months, while diesel fuel prices increased at the biggest clip in almost four years. Excluding volatile energy and food costs, so-called core prices increased 0.3% in December. That was partly because of a one-time bump in tobacco costs. Over the past 12 months, overall prices have risen a modest 1.2% and core prices are up just 1.4%. Both are well below the Federal Reserve’s 2% inflation target. Businesses have struggled to raise prices because of historically high levels of unemployment and meagre wage growth. Low inflation has also allowed the Fed to pursue extraordinary stimulus programs to try and boost economic growth.
FED US ECONOMIC GROWTH HEALTHY OVER HOLIDAYS
WASHINGTON (AP) — A Federal Reserve survey shows economic growth remained healthy in most U.S. regions in late November and December, helped by gains in consumer spending and factory output. Nine of the Fed’s 12 banking districts described growth as moderate, according to the Beige Book survey released Wednesday. That’s up from seven districts in October through early November. And two of those districts said growth had accelerated since the previous report. The Beige Book survey is based on anecdotal reports from businesses and will be considered along with other data when the Fed meets next Jan. 28-29. The report showed little signs of the slowdown in hiring that the government reported last week. The Labor Department said Friday that employers added only 74,000 jobs last month, down from an average of 214,000 in the preceding four months.
GOV’T CHARGES WALMART WITH LABOR VIOLATIONS
WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal officials have filed a formal complaint charging that Walmart violated the rights of protesting and striking workers last year. The National Labor Relations Board says Walmart illegally fired, disciplined or threatened more than 60 employees in 14 states for participating in legally protected activities to complain about wages and working conditions. The labor board’s general counsel first laid out the charges last November, but held off on filing a complaint while trying to work out a settlement with Wal-Mart. The company has insisted its actions were legal and justified. The complaint will go before an administrative law judge. If Wal-Mart is found liable, it could be required to award workers back pay, reinstatement and reverse any disciplinary action.
APPLE WILL REFUND AT LEAST $32.5M IN APP CASE
WASHINGTON (AP) — Apple will refund at least $32.5 million to consumers to settle a federal case involving purchases that kids made without their parents’ permission while playing on mobile apps, the government announced Wednesday. The Federal Trade Commission said Apple will make full refunds for any such in-app purchases made by kids using mobile phones and other devices, and incurring charges by accident or without parents’ permission. Apple will have to change its billing practices to make it more obvious that an actual purchase is taking place during the course of the game or app. The commission said it had received tens of thousands of complaints about unauthorized charges.
SOCCER PLAYERS GATHER IN TUCSON FOR ANNUAL COMPETITION
TUCSON - Soccer players from Tucson and other cities in Arizona, New Mexico and Texas compete tomorrow through Sunday at the Tucson Association of Realtors Shootout, formerly known at the Fort Lowell Shootout. The competition at Fort Lowell Park includes an opening ceremony, bracket play, awards and more. Visit Tucson estimates the tournament's 321 teams and 14,000 spectators bring about $5 million into the Tucson area. Tucson Association of Realtors Shootout: https://bit.ly/1iVsrYr
MINOR LEAGUE BASEBALL COULD RETURN TO TUCSON
TUCSON - An investment group behind a Texas-based independent baseball league has submitted a formal proposal to take over Kino Veterans Memorial Stadium, as early as next month. Reunion Sports LLC said in a letter to Pima County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry that a team with United League Baseball could play as many as 72 games this year, if a deal can be worked out. The proposal offers the County-run stadium district around $72,000 for year-round occupancy of team offices and seasonal use of the stadium. Reunion Sports also wants to take over concessions at the stadium, offering Pima County 20 percent of the gross revenue. Huckelberry says his staff has reviewed the proposal and is working on a response.
TUSD BUYS EMERGENCY PARENT NOTIFICATION SYSTEM
TUCSON - TUSD's Governing Board Tuesday night approved the purchase of ParentLink, at a cost of $72,500 a year. The system will allow all campuses to send emails, text messages and make automated phone calls. The district will upload parent contact information into the system and parents can sign up for other features. The mass notification system will be used for emergency situations, callbacks and general parent communication. The Sunnyside Unified School District has been using the same system for about three years.
HOW TO REPORT TRANSPORTATION PROBLEMS
TUCSON - Is a pothole on your daily commute bothering you? Is a street light out? Does your street need sweeping? Report these types of items to the Tucson Department of Transportation (TDOT), (520) 791-3154, or email the exact location to firstname.lastname@example.org. You also can use the SeeClickFix website and app.
TDOT Streets & Traffic Maintenance: https://1.usa.gov/1dsyPoZ
SeeClickFix website: https://seeclickfix.com/tucson
SeeClickFix app for Android: https://bit.ly/1fpHIyF
SeeClickFix app for iOS: https://bit.ly/19frEkG
TUCSON BOY DONATES STUFFED ANIMALS TO KIDS IN HOSPITALS
TUCSON- Six-year-old Garrett Tews collected approximately 300 stuffed animals during the holiday season and donated them to pediatric patients at University of Arizona Medical Center-Diamond Children's and Tucson Medical Center. This is the second consecutive year the boy made the donations. "I want to do this forever," Garrett said. "I want every patient to have a new bear or stuffed animal on Christmas morning."
From Advanced Healthcare Network: https://bit.ly/1m5QS7V