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US home construction down again

U.S. home construction fell for a third month in February, but in a hopeful sign, applications for building permits rose to their highest level in four months.

Builders started work on 907,000 homes at a seasonally adjusted annual rate in February, the Commerce Department said Tuesday. That was down a slight 0.2 percent from January, when construction had fallen 11.2 percent. The declines have been blamed in large part on severe winter weather in much of the country.

Applications for permits to build homes, considered a gauge of future activity, rose a solid 7.7 percent in February to 1.02 million units. Many analysts expect housing sales and construction to show further gains this year, helped by a stronger economy.

The weakness in construction came in the apartment sector.

Job fairs planned for Guardian Auto

Two job fairs are scheduled to fill 50 production positions at Guardian Automotive Products Inc. in Ligonier.

The jobs start at $12.50 an hour, but there is an opportunity for incremental increases in the first year to $14.50.

The first fair is from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday at the Ligonier plant, 860 W. U.S. 6. The second fair is from 9 a.m. to noon April 5 at WorkOne Northeast, 524 Fairview Blvd. in Kendallville.

Applicants should bring resumes and dress appropriately. Ideal candidates will have a high school diploma or the equivalent and three years of manufacturing experience.

Guardian Automotive Products manufactures windshields for the automotive industry.

Wal-Mart takes aim at used game market

Wal-Mart plans to start buying used video games from shoppers at stores in a move that goes after the bread-and-butter business of GameStop.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. plans to expand its online trade-in program by allowing customers to trade their used video games at 3,100 Wal-Mart stores in exchange for credit toward the purchase of other items.

The world’s largest retailer is taking aim at the $2 billion used video game market. It’s a business dominated by GameStop Corp., the world’s biggest dedicated seller of video games with the largest and most-established video game trade-in program.

Consumer prices tick up slightly

Cheaper energy kept U.S. consumer prices in check last month despite a big rise in the cost of food, the latest sign that inflation is tame.

The consumer price index rose 0.1 percent in February, matching January’s increase, the Labor Department said Tuesday.

In the past 12 months, prices have risen just 1.1 percent, down from 1.6 percent in January and the smallest yearly gain in five months.

Citigroup to pay for short selling

Citigroup has agreed to pay about $1.1 million to settle claims that it violated some short sale rules.

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority and BATS Exchange 1 Inc. said Tuesday that Citigroup was short selling ahead of participating in five public stock offerings.

The companies said that between May 2009 and September 2010, Citigroup was short selling within five business days of the pricing of five public stock offerings and then bought shares in the offerings.