tag: business


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Why TARP is troubled

We’ve had plenty of time to digest the fact that many of the big banks that received billions under the Troubled Asset Relief Program didn’t respond as government officials hoped. Mainly, most of the big banks that got money haven’t increased lending.

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Home Depot to cut 7,000 jobs, close Expo Design Center

Home Depot announced that it will trim 7,000 jobs and close its 34 Expo Design Centers, five YardBIRDs stores, two Design Centers, and seven HD Bath stores.

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Housing inventory edges down, homebuilder shares edge up

There are still too many houses on the market, foreclosures continue to mount, and prices are still dropping, but at least December saw a better-than-expected uptick in sales of existing homes, which prompted a rally in shares of some of the nation’s big homebuilders.

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Another day at the show

Another day at the show

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The folks at Rigid have introduced a couple of new tools that look interesting to me. One is a small cirular saw designed to cut fiber-cement siding that has a built-in dust collection...

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Mortgage-related layoffs ease

It’s too early to tell whether this part of the residential real estate machinery has actually hit bottom, but refinancing and foreclosure-mitigation are small first steps toward eventual housing-market recovery.

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Jobless claims climb, housing starts fall

Housing starts in December and jobless claims last week set records. Unfortunately.

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Southern California housing trawls the depths

With prices falling and lenders off-loading foreclosed properties at deep discounts, few want to pay "retail" for a new home, so builders have put the brakes on new construction.

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Housing experts do another reality check on 2009

Tuesday was a day of sober reminders about the challenges ahead, first from President Obama in his inauguration speech, and then from a panel of housing experts at the International Builders’ Show who said 2009 likely will be when the housing market hits bottom.

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Greenest siding on the planet, among other things

Greenest siding on the planet, among other things

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Yesterday started at 6:00 am with a 3-mile run on the Vegas Strip, and it ended around 1:00 am this morning when my computer froze up as I was trying to post this blog. I lost what I had written and...

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Yet another look at builders' struggle with lenders

While the largest builders likely have enough cash to weather the downturn, that’s not true for many of the small and medium-size builders, who account for about 70 percent of new-home construction. NAHB estimates that at least 20,000 builders — about a fifth of the total nationwide — have closed up shop in the last two years.

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Solar panel prices drop as supply climbs

If the current storm of economic misery is good for nothing else, it might at least produce an environmental windfall by boosting use of solar panels.

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The TARP woulda, coulda, shoulda checklist

The loose requirements in the original plan have contributed to confusion over what the Treasury Department intended when it abruptly shelved its first proposal — to buy up bad mortgages — in favor of making direct investments in individual banks in return for preferred shares of stock.

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Well, at least its warm here

Well, at least it's warm here

I woke up to 3 inches of fresh snow in Connecticut, which made the drive to the airport beautiful. It was the light, fluffy snow that outlined every tree. The sun was out, the sky was blue, and the...

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What happens in Vegas

What happens in Vegas

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IBS 2009: We're heading to Vegas, Baby!

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The height of low behavior: Foreclosure-service fraud

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The fact that there are swindlers who prey on homeowners trying to avoid foreclosure shouldn’t come as a surprise. But considering the desperation of many such homeowners, the rapaciousness of the fraudsters, who usually demand upfront fees for foreclosure-mediation services they never render, is especially revolting.

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A clearer path to recovery?

The Fed has already pumped plenty of liquidity into the financial system, which lead us to conclude that the first priority needs to be housing-market stability. In other words, foreclosure relief.

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NCCER launches Cornerstone of Craftsmanship campaign

If there ever was a time when affirmations were needed by those in the homebuilding business, this is probably it. Which is why there’s a propitious tone to the National Center for Construction Education and Research’s newly announced marketing campaign to “revive the meaning and importance of craftsmanship in the construction industry.”

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Temporary shutdown, layoffs at Cemex plant in California

The Portland Cement Association forecasts a “significantly weak” market for cement over the next two years, in part because public construction, which accounts for about half the cement used nationwide, has slowed along with the rest of the economy.

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A mandate for Shaun Donovan: Sit at the main table

With housing issues so much on everyone’s mind, the housing secretary nominee, Shaun Donovan, became a person of especially intense interest during his confirmation hearing this week before members of the Senate banking committee. The good news is that the attention was positive.

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Beazer says orders continue to plunge

In line with the past several months of housing-market misery, closings and orders for Beazer Homes USA continued their decline during the company’s first quarter, which ended December 31.

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