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Hundreds Lost Their Homes Thanks to Computer Glitch

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Wells Fargo says a company mistake contributed to hundreds of foreclosures because it miscalculated customers’ eligibility for mortgage modifications, per the AP. The bank said in a filing Friday the error caused about 625 customers to be denied, or not offered, loan modifications they otherwise qualified for. Foreclosures were completed in about 400 of the cases. The customers had been using federal programs that helped families at risk of losing homes. Spokesman Tom Goyda says there’s no breakdown of where the foreclosures occurred. The error in the bank’s underwriting tool lasted from 2010 until it was fixed in late 2015, an internal review found.

Per Reuters, where the error was first reported, Wells Fargo said it has set aside $8 million this year to help the affected customers. This new headache merely adds to the pain Wells Fargo has felt since a scandal first erupted around its retails sales practices that led to the opening of millions of fake accounts for customers without their authorization in order to meet unrealistic quotas. In an unrelated settlement announced just this month, Wells Fargo agreed to pay a $2.1 billion fine to settle allegations it misrepresented the types of mortgages it sold to investors during the housing bubble that ultimately led to the 2008 financial crisis.

Real Earnings

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Real average hourly earnings for all employees were unchanged from June to July, seasonally adjusted, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. This result stems from a 0.3-percent increase in average hourly earnings combined with a 0.2-percent increase in the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U).

Real average weekly earnings decreased 0.2 percent over the month due to no change in real average hourly earnings combined with a 0.3-percent decrease in the average workweek. 

Real average hourly earnings decreased 0.2 percent, seasonally adjusted, from July 2017 to July 2018. Combining the change in real average hourly earnings with the 0.3-percent increase in the average workweek resulted in a 0.1-percent increase in real average weekly earnings over this period.


Production and nonsupervisory employees

Real average hourly earnings for production and nonsupervisory employees decreased 0.1 percent from June to July, seasonally adjusted. This result stems from a 0.1-percent increase in average hourly earnings combined with a 0.1-percent increase in the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W).

After combining the change in real average hourly earnings with no change in average weekly hours, real average weekly earnings were unchanged over the month.

From July 2017 to July 2018, real average hourly earnings decreased 0.4 percent, seasonally adjusted. Combining the change in real average hourly earnings with a 0.3-percent increase in the average workweek resulted in a 0.1-percent decrease in real average weekly earnings over this period.

Consumer Price Index

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The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) increased 0.2 percent in July on a seasonally adjusted basis after rising 0.1 percent in June, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Over the last 12 months, the all items index rose 2.9 percent before seasonal adjustment.

The index for shelter rose 0.3 percent in July and accounted for nearly 60 percent of the seasonally adjusted monthly increase in the all items index. The food index rose slightly in July, with major grocery store food group indexes mixed. The energy index fell 0.5 percent, as all the major component indexes declined.

The index for all items less food and energy rose 0.2 percent in July, the same increase as in May and June. Along with the shelter index, the indexes for used cars and trucks, airline fares, new vehicles, household furnishings and operations, and recreation all increased. The indexes for medical care and for apparel both declined in July.
The all items index rose 2.9 percent for the 12 months ending July, the same increase as for the period ending June. The index for all items less food and energy rose 2.4 percent for the 12 months ending July; this was the largest 12-month increase since the period ending September 2008. The food index increased 1.4 percent over the last 12 months, and the energy index rose 12.1 percent. 

U.S. Market Weekly Summary – Week Ending 08.10.2018

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The S&P 500 edged down 0.2% this week, with consumer staples leading a number of sectors to the downside, outweighing gains from the consumer-discretionary, telecommunications and technology sectors.

The market benchmark ended the week at 2,833.28, down from last week’s closing level of 2,840.35. The slight fall came as quarterly earnings results continued to come in largely above analysts’ expectations this week, but concerns about trade tensions also continued to weigh as China threatened to place new tariffs on goods including chemicals and medical equipment in response to the latest trade threats from the US.

Consumer stocks diverged, with the consumer staples posting the largest percentage drop of the week, off 1.9%, while the consumer-discretionary sector had the largest percentage gain of the week, up 0.8%. Just two other sectors managed to post gains for the week: telecommunications, up 0.7%, and technology, up 0.3%, while the rest of the S&P 500’s 11 sectors were in the red.

In the consumer-staples sector, decliners included Campbell Soup (CPB), which shed 3.3% this week. Dan Loeb, the founder of hedge fund Third Point, disclosed in a regulatory filing that he has a 5.7% stake in the food-products company and plans to work with George Strawbridge, a family member of Campbell Soup’s founders, to seek a buyer for the company.

In the consumer-discretionary sector, gainers included Royal Caribbean Cruises (RCL), which posted Q2 adjusted earnings per share above analysts’ expectations despite revenue coming slightly shy of the Street view. The company also reiterated its prior guidance for full-year adjusted EPS. Shares climbed 1.1% this week.

Also among consumer-discretionary stocks, Amazon.com (AMZN) shares hit a record high this week and closed the week up 3.5% from last Friday. The retail company and its Whole Foods Market segment announced the start of a grocery-pickup service under which members can place orders using an app and pick up their groceries in as little as 30 minutes from select Whole Foods stores.

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