Whistleblowers awarded $50 million

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission agreed to pay a total of $50 million to a pair of whistleblowers who provided information that helped the agency win a $267 million settlement with JPMorgan Chase over claims that the bank failed to inform wealthy clients of conflicts of interest in managing their money.

One of the informants will get $37 million, the agency said in a statement Tuesday. The SEC did not name the company involved or the people getting the awards.

Jordan Thomas, a lawyer for one of the whistleblowers, said in a statement that his client is a JPMorgan executive.

In December 2015, JPMorgan agreed to pay more than $300 million to the SEC and to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. JPMorgan admitted disclosure failures from 2008 to 2013 related to two units that manage money — its securities subsidiary and its nationally chartered bank — as part of the SEC settlement.

— Bloomberg News

Also in Business

American consumers were feeling less confident this month amid continued volatility in the financial markets. The Conference Board, a business research group, said Tuesday that its consumer confidence index fell to 124.1 in March from 131.4 in February. The index, covering through March 14, measures consumer assessment of current economic conditions and their expectations for the next six months. Both declined in March.

The number of homes under construction fell 8.7 percent in February, as groundbreakings for single-family houses plunged to their lowest level in nearly two years. The Commerce Department said builders started construction at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.16 million units last month, down from a 1.27 million pace in January. The setback stems from a 17 percent drop in the building of single-family houses, which posted the weakest pace since May 2017. Apartment-building rose in February.

U.S. home prices rose at their slowest pace in more than six years in January, as higher mortgage rates weighed on sales. The Standard & Poor’s CoreLogic Case-Shiller 20-city home price index increased 3.6 percent in January from a year earlier, down from 4.1 percent in the previous month. The slowdown in price appreciation has helped make homes more affordable. Sales of existing homes soared in February, though they remain slightly below where they were a year ago.

A former Barclays trader was found guilty of manipulating a benchmark interest rate by a London jury, delivering a victory to Britain's Serious Fraud Office. Carlo Palombo was found guilty by the jury in a 10-to-2 verdict, and his former colleague, Sisse Bohart, was found innocent. The jury is still deliberating over a third ex-trader in the case, Colin Bermingham. The trio were charged with fraud related to the manipulation of the euro interbank offered rate, known as Euribor.

— From news services

Coming today

8:30 a.m.: Commerce Department releases international trade data for January.