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Business

  • New-homesales slowto a trickle
    WASHINGTON – U.S. sales of new homes were nearly flat in September, after the government sharply revised downward what was initially an August surge in buying.New-home sales edged up 0.
  • Stocks see best week in 2 years
    NEW YORK – The stock market closed out its best week in nearly two years on a positive note Friday, helped by strong quarterly earnings from Microsoft and other big U.S. companies.
  • Ford quarterly profit falls
    DEARBORN, Mich. – Ford’s new aluminum-sided F-150 will be a lot lighter and more efficient when it goes on sale this year. But for now, it’s a serious drag on profits.
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Halliburton floats offer in Gulf spill

Halliburton’s agreement to pay more than $1 billion to settle numerous claims involving the 2010 BP Gulf of Mexico oil spill could be a way for the company and victims of the spill to avoid years of costly litigation – if all the pieces fall into place.

A federal judge still has to approve the settlement. That same judge has rulings pending on the extent to which parties, including Halliburton, were negligent in the deadly explosion of the Deepwater Horizon offshore oil rig.

Those rulings could affect plaintiffs’ decisions on whether to participate in the settlement, which was announced Tuesday.

Pending action by the Supreme Court over interpretations of an earlier BP settlement with businesses also comes into play.

Home Depot mayhave been hacked

Home Depot may be the latest retailer to suffer a major credit card data breach.

The Atlanta-based home improvement retailer said Tuesday that it is working with both banks and law enforcement to investigate "unusual activity" that would point to a hack.

"Protecting our customers’ information is something we take extremely seriously, and we are aggressively gathering facts at this point while working to protect customers," said Paula Drake, a spokeswoman at Home Depot, declining to elaborate.

She said the retailer would notify customers immediately if it confirms a breach.

Shares of Home Depot Inc. fell $1.88, or 2 percent, to close at $91.15.

Home prices riseat a slower rate

U.S. home prices rose in July but at a slower rate compared with earlier this year. The moderating price increases could help support sales.

Real estate data provider CoreLogic said Tuesday that prices rose 7.4 percent in July from July 2013.

That was slightly below June’s year-over-year increase of 7.5 percent and far below a recent peak of 11.9 percent in February.Prices rose 1.2 percent in July from June.

But CoreLogic’s monthly figures aren’t adjusted for seasonality, such as increased buying that occurs in warmer weather.

Manufacturing at best pace in 3 years

U.S. manufacturing grew in August at the strongest pace in more than three years as factories cranked out more goods and new orders rose.

The Institute for Supply Management’s manufacturing index rose to 59 from 57.1 in July, the ISM said Tuesday. That was the highest reading since March 2011.

Any measure above 50 signals that manufacturing is growing.

Tuesday’s ISM report coincides with other signs that manufacturing is helping drive the U.S. economy’s improvement.

US spending onconstruction rises

U.S. construction spending staged a strong rebound in July, rising by the largest amount in more than two years. All major categories of construction showed gains.

Construction spending rose 1.8 percent in July, the biggest one-month gain since May 2012, the Commerce Department reported Tuesday.

It followed a 0.9 percent decline in June, the largest setback in a year.

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