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Jan. 16, 2013 at 6:43 PM
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Dow loses ground

NEW YORK, Jan. 16 (UPI) -- The blue chip Dow index lost ground Wednesday, dragged down by U.S. jet maker Boeing.

Boeing stock dropped 3.38 percent after All Nippon Airways grounded its 787 Dreamliner fleet for inspections after one of its new jets was forced to make an emergency landing, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Boeing wasn't the only Dow component in the red. Sixteen of 30 Dow companies were down at the close and 13 were higher. That leaves one: Coca-Cola, which closed dead even on the day.

The Dow Jones industrial average staged a comeback from earlier losses, climbing from 66 points behind to a loss of 23.66 points, or 0.17 percent, to 13,511.23. The Nasdaq composite index added 6.77 points, or 0.22 percent, to 3,117.54. The Standard and Poor's 500 gained 0.29 points or 0.02 percent, to 1,472.63.

On the New York Stock Exchange, 1,385 stocks advanced and 1,630 declined on a volume of 3.1 billion shares traded.

The 10-year treasury note rose 4/32 to yield 1.825 percent.

Against the dollar, the euro fell to $1.3286 from Tuesday's $1.3305. The dollar was lower at 88.48 yen from 88.78 yen.

In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 index dropped 2.56 percent, 278.64 points, to 10,600.44.

In London, the FTSE 100 index lost 0.22 percent, 13.33 points, to 6,103.98.

Seniors use credit cards as safety net

WASHINGTON, Jan. 16 (UPI) -- Credit card debt among older U.S. adults is primarily used as a safety net, not a lack of personal financial responsibility, a survey indicates.

AARP's Public Policy Institute and Demos conducted a survey of U.S. middle-class adults age 50 and older found older households carried an average credit card balance of $8,278 in 2012.

The report also showed older households carried an average credit card balance of $8,278 last year. For those age 50 and under, credit card debt averaged $6,258.

Other key findings for middle-income households that carried credit card debt for three months or more:

-- A third of older households used credit cards to pay for basic living expenses such as rent, mortgage payments, groceries, or utilities.

-- Half of U.S. adults age 50 and older carried medical expenses on their credit cards. Prescription drugs and dental expenses were the main contributors.

-- A quarter of older households said loss of a job contributed to their credit card debt in the last three years.

-- Nearly 18 percent older Americans nearing retirement said they dipped into retirement funds to pay down credit card debt.

-- Older Americans were twice as likely as those age 50 and under to take on credit card debt to assist other family members, 23 percent vs. 11 percent.

The survey by GfK Knowledge Networks from February to March of last year involved 997 middle-income households that had carried credit card debt for three months or more.

Fed announces $557M foreclosure settlement

WASHINGTON, Jan. 16 (UPI) -- Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley have agreed to pay $557 million to settle charges of improper mortgage and foreclosure processing, U.S. authorities said.

The U.S. Federal Reserve said the two banks reached an agreement similar to the $8.5 billion settlement announced Jan. 7 that involved Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, MetLife Bank, Sun Trust, U.S. Bank, Aurora, Citibank, Sovereign and PNC.

The Fed said the settlement announced Wednesday would include $232 million in direct payments to eligible borrowers and $325 million in other compensation, such as "loan modifications and forgiveness of deficiency judgments."

The $8.5 billion settlement targeted 4 million borrowers as beneficiaries. The $557 million deal targets an additional 220,000 borrowers whose homes went through foreclosure in 2009 and 2010 with the former subsidiaries of Goldman Sacs -- Litton Loan Servicing -- and Morgan Stanley -- Saxon Mortgage Services, Inc.

Compensation could climb as high as $125,000 for an individual borrower, the Fed said.

Builder confidence ends 8-month up trend

WASHINGTON, Jan. 16 (UPI) -- Builders' confidence in the new single-family homes market stalled in January over U.S. budget "uncertainties," after eight months of gains, a trade group said.

The National Association of Home Builders said Wednesday the Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index for builder confidence halted an eight-month climb at 47, which it reached when it climbed 2 points in December.

The market is improved from a year earlier and the index held to its highest level since April 2006 in the first month of the year, NAHB Chairman Barry Rutenberg said in a statement.

"However, uncertainties stemming from last month's fiscal cliff negotiations contributed to the pause in builder confidence," he said, adding that continued budget discussions revolving around spending cuts, "could put a damper on housing demand in the coming months."

The upswing has put the index "very close to the ... tipping point of 50, where an equal number of builders view conditions as good and poor," NAHB Chief Executive Officer David Crowe said.

Restrictive credit conditions problems with getting accurate appraisals and "the ongoing stalemate in Washington ... continue to impede the housing recovery," he said.

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