It's still early to make exact pronouncements about how much damage Irene caused, and President Obama said the cleanup in many areas will be tough. But overall, the storm appears to have caused much less damage than forecasters said was possible.
The housing crisis has left banks stuck with crumbling, foreclosed houses that they can't re-sell. In Cleveland, a quasi-government corporation takes over those houses and the lenders pay to demolish them. The idea may soon take hold in other cities as well.
The Federal Reserve chairman delivers a much-anticipated speech Friday morning on additional steps the Fed might take to shore up the economy. Some investors are hoping for another round of quantitative easing, but others warn that a solution can ultimately only be worked out by the president and congressional Republicans.
At an East Texas auction, the animals look pitiful. They're standing in 107-degree heat with their ribs showing, stressed out. The heat, and no rain, has forced many ranchers to sell off their stock. Many will retire; and few young ranchers are ready to step in.
Foreclosures made up roughly one-third of all home sales this spring. While that's a smaller share of sales from the previous quarter, it's six times the percentage of foreclosures in a healthy housing market. Meanwhile, fixed mortgage rates edged up this week from their lowest levels in decades.
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