Nearly 10 million Americans remain financially trapped by homes worth less than their mortgage debts.
During the first three months of this year, 18.8 percent of homeowners with a mortgage — 9.7 million — owed more on their loans than their properties would sell for, according to online real estate database Zillow. That was an improvement from the 25.4 percent figure of a year ago.
An additional 18.1 percent of mortgage holders were “effectively” underwater: They had equity, but the proceeds from selling their homes would be too low to recoup the sales costs and also put a down payment on a new property.
Several major U.S. metropolitan areas are stuck with residents who have high rates of negative equity. In Chicago, almost 45 percent are underwater or effectively underwater. The rate is 53.1 percent in Atlanta, 50.6 percent in Las Vegas, 46.6 percent in Charlotte, 44 percent in St. Louis and 43.2 percent in Tampa.
— Associated Press
Petco said Tuesday that it will stop selling dog and cat treats made in China by the end of this year due to ongoing fears that the imported treats are making pets sick.
The Food and Drug Administration hasn’t been able to figure out why pets are getting ill. Since it launched an investigation late last year, the FDA said it received more than 4,800 complaints of pet illnesses and 1,000 reports of dog deaths after eating Chinese-made chicken, duck or sweet potato jerky treats. Last week, the FDA said tests found the antiviral drug amantadine in some samples of imported chicken jerky treats sold a year or more ago, but doesn’t think it caused the illnesses. The FDA said it will continue to investigate.
Petco said that shoppers have asked the pet food retailer to stop selling treats from China. Petco said it doesn’t sell any pet food made in China at its 1,300 stores around the country.
— Associated Press
● Home Depot’s fiscal first-quarter net income climbed 12 percent, helped by better sales. The company said May sales were “robust” and the No. 1 home improvement retailer raised its full-year earnings forecast. The Atlanta-based retailer earned $1.38 billion, or $1 per share, for the three months ended May 4. That compares with $1.23 billion, or 83 cents per share, a year earlier. Revenue rose 3 percent, to $19.69 billion, but missed Wall Street’s estimate of $19.97 billion.
● Oil industry representatives are pushing back against tougher rules for rail cars carrying crude despite a string of fiery accidents and insisting that oil shipped by train from the Northern Plains is no more dangerous than some other cargoes. An industry-funded report said the volatility of Bakken oil from North Dakota and Montana is comparable to other light crudes. Oil trains in the United States and Canada were involved in at least eight major accidents during the past year, including an explosion in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec, that killed 47 people. Other trains carrying Bakken crude have derailed and caught fire in Alabama, North Dakota, New Brunswick and Virginia.
● Federal Reserve Bank of New York President William Dudley said the pace of eventual interest rate increases “will probably be relatively slow,” depending on the economy’s progress and how financial markets react. A “mild” response “might encourage a somewhat faster pace,” Dudley said to the New York Association for Business Economics. “[But] if bond yields were to move sharply higher,” he said, “a more cautious approach might be warranted.”
● Staples forecast second-quarter profit that was less than analysts estimated. Its shares dropped nearly 13 percent, to $11.71, for the biggest one-day decline since March 6. Profit per share in the quarter through July will be 9 cents to 14 cents, the company said. Analysts had estimated 15 cents. Staples is shutting 225 stores to trim costs amid rising competition from Amazon.com.
— From news services
● 2 p.m.: Federal Reserve releases minutes from the policy-
setting Federal Open Market Committee’s April meeting.
● Earnings: Lowe’s, Tiffany, Target.