Real estate data tracking firm RealtyTrac reported Thursday that the majority of the nation's largest metropolitan areas are experiencing a drop in foreclosure activity as banks slow their procedures amid ongoing fallout from the foreclosure crisis. In 2011's first six months, 84% of metropolitan areas with at least 200,000 people experienced a year-to-year drop in foreclosure rate. In addition to home seizures, RealtyTrac also tracks notices of default and scheduled home auctions, which sometimes lead to foreclosures.
Scientists Studying Environmental Impact of Massive 2007 Alaska Wildfire
Scientist are waning that a side effect of global warming could be an increase in the frequency and severity of fires in the Arctic, which could create a new climate feedback. In 2007, a massive wildfire in northern Alaska burned more than 1,000 square miles around the Anaktuvuk River, doubling the amount of Alaska's land burned since 1950. Scientists say that fire put as much carbon into the atmosphere as the entire Arctic region typically absorbs in an entire year.
US stocks climbed higher through the first half of the session on a Labor Department report that initial jobless claims fell under 400,000 last week, but continued unease over the debt ceiling issue kicked in towards the end of the day, causing all three indexes to finish lower for a fifth straight session. The declines began just after 2 PM ET, when the House of Representatives began debate over Speaker John Boehner's plan to raise the debt limit, which is scheduled to be voted on later in the day.
Sony released its fiscal first-quarter results Thursday, posting a $199 million loss thanks to the devastation caused by the March 11th earthquake and tsunami in Japan and weak television sales. The results were also impacted by a cyber attack on the company's Playstation Network and a strong yen, forcing the company to reduce its outlook for full year earnings by 25 percent.
Exxon-Mobil released its second-quarter results Thursday, posting a 41 percent increase in profits thanks to higher oil prices and improved refining margins. For the three months ended June 30th, the world's largest publicly traded oil conglomerate posted earnings of $10.68 billion, or $2.18 per share, compared to the $7.56 billion, $1.60 a share, it earned in the same quarter a year ago. Total revenue, meanwhile, rose 36 percent to $125.5 billion.
Visa Inc released its fiscal third-quarter results Thursday, posting a 40 percent surge in profits and beating Wall Street estimates for a fourteenth straight quarter. The world's largest payments processor benefited from a boost in consumer credit card spending. For the three months ended June 30th, Visa posted earnings of $1 billion, or $1.43 a share, compared to $716 million, 97 cents share, in the same period a year ago.
Shares of Dunkin' Brands continued to climb higher Thursday after quickly shooting up 40 percent at the shares' launch of trading Wednesday morning. The parent company of Dunkin' Donuts and Baskin-Robbins eateries raised $422.75 selling the shares at $19 each in its IPO, and the shares quickly rose to almost $27 each on the Nasdaq exchange before finishing the day at $27.85. The shares continued to rise on Thursday, passing $29.00 a share as of 2 PM ET.
The US Labor Department reported on Thursday that initial jobless claims dipped below the key 400,000 mark for the first time since early April last week, a bigger drop than expected. First time applications for benefits fell to 398,000, from the previous week's revised total of 422,000. Some economists claim that when initial claims are under 400,000, it's an indicator of job growth.
Just five months after its launch, Nintendo is reportedly slashing the price tag on its 3DS portable gaming device, presumably due to the company's disappointment with the unit's sales. Ninetendo announced on Thursday the price will drop from the current suggested retail of $249.99 to just $169.99 on August 12th in the US. In Japan, meanwhile, the discount will be even steeper, at 10,000 yen (about $127).
Since 2005 when Apple's iPhone kicked off a booming smartphone market, Americans have clogged up service providers' existing wireless spectrum with various apps and surfing the web. Now, four and a half years after the iPhone's debut, that demand for wireless spectrum could help get the nation's out-of-control deficit and put an end to the ongoing debate over raising the debt ceiling. Inside Senate majority leader Harry Reid's bill to raise the debt limit is a plan for the US government to make money by auctioning off valuable wireless spectrum, the frequencies over which wireless networks operate, to carriers.