US Home Prices Continue to Climb
US home prices continued to pick up in July, according to a national index of values released Tuesday. The Standard & Poor's / Case-Shiller 20-city home price index showed a 5 percent year-over-year jump, which was slightly higher than the previous month's 4.9 percent increase. The index showed rising prices in each of the 20 cities it tracks, led by a 10.4 percent surge in San Francisco and a 10.3 percent uptick in Denver. Improving wages and a steady economy have convinced more Americans to buy homes, prompting sales to reach an 8-year high in July.
Groupon to Cut 1,100 Jobs, Shutter 7 International Offices
Groupon once turned down a multi-billion dollar buyout offer from tech giant Google, but the company probably wishes it had another chance at the offer based on recent performance. The formerly promising tech firm revealed Tuesday that it will reduce its workforce by 10 percent and shut down operations in seven countries, laying off some 1,100 workers in the process. The announcement came via a blog post on Tuesday from the company's COO, Rich Williams. According to the post, jobs to be cut include customer service and international sales positions. Having already closed operations in Greece and Turkey, the company will now shutter offices in Morocco, Panama, the Philippines, Puerto Rico, Taiwan, Thailand, and Uruguay, Williams said.
Volkswagen Emission Scandal May Affect 11 Million Cars Worldwide
Volkswagen admitted Tuesday that as many as 11 million vehicles worldwide are equipped with software designed to trick emission tests, expanding a controversy that started last week in the US. The company did not specify where the vehicles in question are, though many were probably sold in Europe, a market that Volkswagen dominates by accounting for one of every four cars sold. The world's largest automaker announced it was setting aside about a half year's profits to cover costs associated with the controversy. Along with the costs of repairs to the affected vehicles, the company is also likely to face fines and damages from civil suits related to the deceptive emissions software.
Microsoft Discourages Use of Chrome & Firefox
Microsoft is using its new Windows 10 operating system to try and dissuade users from opting for Google's Chrome or Mozilla's Firefox web browsers. When searching on the company's new Edge browser for either Firefox or Chrome, Windows 10 users see an ominous message saying: “Microsoft recommends Microsoft Edge for Windows 10,” with a “Learn Why” button next to it. Clicking the button brings up a Microsoft web page that shows off all the features of Edge. A spokesman for Microsoft noted that Edge was designed specifically for Windows 10, and the notifications are to alert people to all the browser's features, but also explained that users can still choose whatever default browser they want.
Stocks Plunge Again on Weak August Jobs Report
US stocks plummeted during Friday's session in response to the August jobs report, which showed the nation's lowest unemployment rate since the onset of the Great Recession but also showed less jobs created than economists were expecting. The Dow Jones lost nearly 300 points in the first half of the trading day, and all three major indexes had lost well over 1 percent as investors reacted to the mixed report. Despite the smaller-than-expected job creation number, investors are concerned that the drop in joblessness will convince the Federal Reserve to boost interest rates.