Mortgage late payments fall slightly
The number of individuals that are behind in mortgage payments fell slightly in the first quarter to 6.19 according to TransUnion and as reported by the Associated Press. One of the reasons the rate remains high is due to the high number of foreclosures and the amount of time it takes to process those foreclosures. Over 3 million homes are currently in foreclosure. The states with the highest late payment rates are Florida and Nevada while North Dakota and South Dakota have the lowest rates.
European stocks open lower
The Asian and European markets are down today due to numerous forces including worries about a Greek default, especially as the head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) was arrested for assaulting a chamber maid in New York. Dominique Strauss-Kahn was in the midst of negotiating with numerous countries regarding restructuring the Greek debt prior to his arrest. Greece is being encouraged to restructure or default upon some $84 billion of debt. The Wall Street Journal reports that the dollar is strengthening as fears of challenges with the Euro nations increase.
Treasury seeking to sell AIG stock
Over 300 million shares of AIG stock will soon be for sale allowing the Treasury to begin to lessen its 92% ownership of the company, according to the Wall Street Journal. Indications are that investors may be willing to purchase the stock at around $30 per share based upon road shows in Europe, and soon to be held in New York. If the Treasury is able to sell the stock at above $28.70 per share it will be able to show a profit. This is just the first group of shares to be sold. Three fourths of the 300 million shares are owned by the Treasury and the rest by private investors.
Iraq to lower its oil production targets
Iraq has acknowledged that it will be unable to quadruple its oil production by 2017, according to the Financial Times. The lofty goals are constrained by the production system in Iraq that cannot be upgraded as quickly as initially planned. Iraq will be able to double its production and current production is at a decade high.
Stress busting drinks beating out energy drinks?
While the new category of stress reducing drinks have not beat out energy drinks, they do represent the fastest growing category of the beverage market, growing 38% in the past year, according to the USA Today. These drinks have names like Drank, Be Happy, Unwind and iChill. The market has grown to an estimated $500 million.
Wealthy Chinese may buy luxury yachts
About 50% of the 837,000 Chinese millionaires wish to someday purchase a yacht, according to the USA Today. There are about 20 new Chinese companies producing luxury yachts compared to virtually zero a few years ago. These companies will probably benefit from the interest in yachts due to a 43% tax on foreign produced yachts. The government still has murky laws regarding where the boats can be sailed and the boat infrastructure is not as sound as those produced by foreign manufacturers.