U.S. markets close in the red
NEW YORK, May 8 (UPI) -- U.S. stocks pulled up from hard early losses, but remained in the red Tuesday in response to concerns over debt issues in Europe.
Weekend elections in France and Greece turned out incumbents who favored fiscal austerity over stimulus spending. In Greece, sentiment against an international rescue deal that came with severe spending cuts has changed the face of Parliament enough that some analysts are predicting Greece's days in the eurozone are numbered.
Stocks were mixed in Asia, but hard hit in most of Europe. The CAC 40 index in France was down 2.78 percent. In Italy, the FTSE MIB index fell 2.37 percent. The DAX index in Germany lost 1.9 percent.
By close of trading on Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average shed 76.44 points, 0.59 percent, to 12,932.09, a climb from earlier losses of 143.61 points or 1.1 percent.
The tech-heavy Nasdaq composite index closed down 11.49 points or 0.39 percent, to 2,946.27. The Standard & Poor's 500 index gave up 5.86 points, or 0.43 percent, to 1,363.72.
On the New York Stock Exchange, 1,190 stocks advanced and 1,830 declined on a volume of 4 billion shares traded.
The 10-year benchmark treasury note rose 11/32 to yield 1.843 percent.
The euro fell to $1.3003 from Monday's $1.3051. Against the yen, the dollar fell to 79.88 yen from 79.89 yen.
In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 index gained 0.69 percent, 62.51, to 9,181.65.
In London, the FTSE 100 index lost 1.78 percent, 100.51, to 5,554.55.
Ford Focus jump starts China sales
BEIJING, May 8 (UPI) -- Ford Motor Co. said sales in China turned around in April, with strong interest shown in the Ford Focus.
After Ford sales fell 14 percent in March from March 2011, sales in April climbed 24 percent from the same period a year earlier, The Detroit News reported Tuesday.
Ford introduced the Focus to China in April, the first of 15 new models it expects to sell in China within the next three years, the News reported.
Joe Hinrichs, president of Ford Asia Pacific and Africa, said Tuesday the Focus was "well received" in China, with 3.7 million Chinese viewers taking a peek at the car online.
Hinrichs said Ford would continue to grow its capacity in China, increasing its investment in plants in Hangzhou and Chongqing, the News said.
After a slow start in China compared to other foreign brands, Ford is picking up the pace in the world's largest automobile market.
In the past, "We just didn't have enough product," Hinrichs said.
Home prices rose in March
SANTA ANA, Calif., May 8 (UPI) -- U.S. home prices rose in March compared to February for the first monthly climb in eight months, market research firm CoreLogic said Tuesday.
On a month-to-month basis, home prices were up 0.6 percent, CoreLogic said. On an annual basis, however, prices were off by 0.6 percent.
The figures include sales of distressed homes, which involves short sales and real estate owned transactions.
Excluding distressed sales, the Home Price Index rose 0.9 percent in March 2012 compared to 12 months earlier.
"This spring the housing market is responding to an improving balance between real estate supply and demand which is causing stabilization in house prices," said Mark Fleming, chief economist for CoreLogic.
Fleming said that pattern has held true in the past two years but "the difference this year is that stabilization is occurring without the support of tax credits and in spite of a declining share of real estate owned sales."
Real estate owned sales are defined as sales of properties owned by the bank or the agent that insured the loan.
Taxpayers to earn $15.1 billion from AIG
WASHINGTON, May 8 (UPI) -- U.S. taxpayers could make a $15.1 billion profit from the Treasury Department's bailout of American International Group Inc., a fiscal watchdog agency said.
The Government Accountability Office Tuesday issued a new estimate of the deal that bailed out the insurance giant.
The Treasury said recently it would put $5 billion worth of AIG shares on the market.
The sale, when complete, will have the government still holding $40 billion in AIG stock, $31 billion being held by the Treasury and $9 billion at the Federal Reserve.
At this point, "when all the assistance is considered, the amount the federal government ultimately takes in could exceed the total support extended to AIG by more than $15.1 billion," the GAO said.
The estimate could change, depending on the price of AIG stock and other market factors in the future. The new estimate "does not include estimates of subsidy costs associated with the assistance," the GAO said.