Thursday, February 16, 2012

Surprise! Foreclosures in US are on the Rise Again

Just when you thought it was safe to go back to your mortgage banker!

One in every 624 U.S. households received a foreclosure filing in January, up 3 percent from the previous month, according to a new report from RealtyTrac.  Foreclosure activity froze in many states in 2011, due to processing delays after fraud, or so-called "Robo-signing," were uncovered in the fall of 2010.  The thaw is now on.

"We expect the pattern of increasing foreclosures to continue in the coming months, especially given the finalized mortgage and foreclosure settlement reached in early February between 49 state attorneys general and five of the nation's largest lenders," said RealtyTrac's CEO Brandon Moore in a written release.  "Foreclosure activity increased on a year-over-year basis for the first time in more than 12 months in Florida, Illinois, Indiana and Pennsylvania, following a pattern we saw in late 2011 in states such as California, Arizona and Massachusetts."

Foreclosures on the Rise Again - CNBC

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

US Dollar Jumps to 3-Month High Against the Yen

Both the Yen and the Euro are looking weaker these days.

The dollar is at a three-month high against the Japanese yen after the Bank of Japan said it would increase its economic stimulus program. Traders also bought the dollar after euro zone finance ministers canceled a meeting to discuss giving Greece a second bailout.  The Bank of Japan said it would buy more government bonds while keeping short-term interest rates close to zero to boost the country’s economy. The dollar rose to 78.47 yen in late trading Tuesday from 77.61 yen late Monday. It rose as high as 78.51 yen, its highest point since Nov. 1.

Dollar jumps to 3-month high against yen; rises against euro - The Washington Post

Gold Heads Lower, But is This Just a Blip or a Trend?

Gold is off record highs . . . but is it the sign of new downward trend?

Gold futures settled lower Tuesday to log their third losing session in a row, as pressure from a rally in the U.S. dollar outweighed support from weaker-than-expected U.S. retail sales and uncertainty over whether Greece will get a second bailout. Gold for April delivery fell $7.20, or 0.4%, to settle at $1,717.70 an ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange.

It traded between a high of $1,729.90 and a low of $1,713.80. Futures prices have now tallied a three-session loss of more than $23 an ounce. “We saw gold reacting to the dollar, rallying close to flat this morning, but as the dollar has rallied we’ve seen gold sell off,” said Tom Essaye, editor of the 7:00’s Report, a daily commentary on equity and commodity markets and the economy.

Gold ends lower, logs third-straight session loss - Metals Stocks - MarketWatch

Monday, February 13, 2012

Foreclosures to Climb Before Bank Deal Helps US Housing Market

Do you own a house in the US? Not so fast, you may not soon . . .

The $25 billion settlement with banks over foreclosure abuses may result in a wave of home seizures, inflicting short-term pain on delinquent U.S. borrowers while making a long-term housing recovery more likely.Lenders slowed the pace of foreclosures as they negotiated with attorneys general in all 50 states for more than a year over allegations of faulty and fraudulent paperwork used to repossess homes. With yesterday’s agreement, banks are likely to resume property seizures.

“The best thing about the settlement, frankly, is that it will be done,” said Stan Humphries, chief economist for Seattle-based Zillow Inc., a provider of home-sales data. “The shadow of the settlement hung over the market for a year now.”

Foreclosures to Climb Before Bank Deal Helps U.S. Housing Market - Businessweek

President Obama's 2013 Budget Would INCREASE Taxpayer Losses on TARP

Didn't we already pay for these things once? I gotta watch "Too Big to Fail" again on HBO to find out.

President Obama’s fiscal 2013 budget proposal touts the administration's recent long-shot mortgage refinancing proposal and says the White House's increased emphasis on the housing crisis will lead to larger taxpayer losses from a 2008 emergency bailout fund.

The budget, as expected includes a call for broadening the availability of refinancing options for borrowers who are current on their mortgages but owe more than their homes are worth. The administration said it plans to finish doling out unspent funds for housing assistance, which is likely to increase the costs of the emergency financial bailout by $20 billion -- something that is likely to generate criticism from Republicans for increasing taxpayer costs.

HOUSING: President’s Budget Would Increase Taxpayer Losses on TARP - Stacy Kaper - NationalJournal.com

Moody's Cuts Ratings to Nine European Union Countries, Including Italy, Spain and Portugal

The Dollar is sick, but is the Euro on death's door?

Moody's on Monday downgraded the debt ratings of Italy, Spain and Portugal and placed negative outlooks on France, Britain and Austria. Ratings were also cut for Slovenia, Slovakia and Malta, with Moody's saying all nine were more susceptible to increasing financial and macroeconomic risks from the euro area crisis.

Moody's said that Europe's weakening economic prospects "threaten the implementation of domestic austerity programs and the structural reforms that are needed to promote competitiveness."

Moody's cuts ratings, outlooks on 9 EU countries - Yahoo!

Breaking US Dollar Collapse News

What's Behind the Decline of the US Dollar?

This is one the of the best and simplest explanations we have seen:
The U.S. dollar's downward slide is accelerating as low interest rates, inflation concerns and the massive federal budget deficit undermine the currency. - Wall Street Journal, April 23, 2011
Interestingly, the Federal Reserve is responsible for, or an active participant in all three of these factors.