Another winter storm aims for the East Coast, market numbers were down on poor tech sales, and Warren Buffett gets to keep his NCAA billion dollars.
Home Prices Beat Expectations Again
According to the S&P/Case-Shiller composite index of 20 metropolitan areas, home prices rose 0.8 percent in January on a seasonally adjusted basis, just topping the expectations of economists who forecast a rise of 0.7 percent. “The housing recovery may have taken a breather due to the cold weather,’’ said David Blitzer, chairman of the index committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices.“From the bottom in 2012, prices are up 23 percent and the housing market is showing signs of moving forward with more normal price increases.” Year over year prices in the 20 cities rose 13.2 percent.
Another Storm Brewing
A weather system from the Midwest is going to run into a weather system coming off the Atlantic to create a snow storm for the East Coast late Tuesday, forecasters warn. However, the worst of the storm is expected to occur offshore, leaving most Northeastern cities with only a couple of inches. Winter weather advisors were issued from eastern Tennessee to southern New Jersey Tuesday through Thursday by the National Weather Service. Storm warnings were also issued for Boston and the state of Maine. “We have two storm systems that will combine into one,’’ Weather Channel forecaster Kevin Roth told CNBC. “We have one coming across the Midwest with a band of snow now and another one forming off the Southeast this morning. This will create what will probably be the strongest storm of the year in the western Atlantic.” Cape Cod, eastern Long Island and downeast Maine could half a foot, and Boston could get another five inches of snow.
Nets Owner Announces Russian Plans
Mikhail Prokhorov, the owner of the Brooklyn Nets of the National Basketball Association, announced Monday he plans to relocate his company to Russia in order to abide by the call from Russian officials to repatriate their assets into the country to combat U.S. sanctions. The United States and European Union have imposed visa bans and frozen assets on officials and businessmen believed to have close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin as a sanction against Moscow’s annexation of the Crimea region of the Ukraine. “A Russian company will own the basketball team,’’ Prokhorov announced Monday. “This move does not violate any NBA rules, and I will bring it (under Russian jurisdiction) in accordance with Russian law. Prokhorov has not been hit by any Western sanctions yet.
Market Down as Tech Stocks Tank
Technology stocks had a case of the Mondays yesterday. Netflix fell almost 7 percent along with other Internet stocks, including Yahoo!, LinkedIn, Twitter, Priceline and Facebook. The NASDAQ and CNNMoney’s Tech 30 index both fell more than 1 percent. The Dow and S&P 500 also ended the day lower, but not as much. The Netflix selloff indicated investor concern over a Wall Street Journal report that Apple is exploring a partnership with Comcast for an Apple-branded TV service.
Former Madoff Employees Found Guilty
Five former employees of Bernard Madoff, mastermind of the world’s largest Ponzi scheme in history, were found guilty Monday on charges they aided and profited from the decades-long fraud that cost investors an estimated $20 billion, USA TODAY reports. A Manhattan federal court jury rejected defense claims that Dan Bonventre, Annette Bongiorno, Joann Crupi, Jerome O'Hara and George Perez had no knowledge of the scam and were duped by Madoff. The trial lasted more than five months. The employees were accused of conspiring with Madoff to fabricate and backdate records of financial trades that were purported to generate steady investment returns. Instead, USA TODAY says, “money from average investors, charities, celebrities, financial institutions and other victims bankrolled a life of luxury for Madoff, riches for the defendants and financial ruin for many of those who trusted the now-disgraced financier.”
Sweet: Warren Buffett Gets to Keep His Billion
It’s official: none of the contestants in the perfect NCAA bracket challenge sponsored by Quicken Loans and Yahoo Sports made it out of the first round of 32 games with an unblemished bracket. That means Warren Buffett gets to keep the $1 billion prize that his Berkshire Hathaway was backing. The odds of a perfect NCAA bracket have been estimated to be 9.2 quintillion to one. Translation: the odds are longer than the likelihood of winning Powerball and Mega Millions in the same weekend, CNN reports. More than eight-in-ten contestants were out of the running after the opening game, in which the University of Dayton upset favored Oho State. On Friday, Duke, which was the choice of 98 percent of entrants, lost to Mercer University.