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Americans Expect Home Prices to Rise

Morning Business Memo…

A new Gallup poll out this morning finds 51 percent of Americans expect home prices to increase in their area, up from 33 percent last year and above 50 percent for the first time since 2007. Also, 63 percent say their home is worth more than when they bought it, up from 53 percent in 2012. Home prices in some parts of the country are soaring. Sellers are in a stronger position than they were in a year ago.

Apple shares fell below $400 for the first time since late 2011, with fresh concerns over weakening demand for iPads and iPhones. Apple is the largest smartphone maker in the US, but trails Samsung overseas and faces stiffer competition for other products from Google, Amazon and Microsoft. Investors fear Apple may have lost its innovative edge. Cirrus Logic, which makes audio chips for the iPhone and iPad, warned of lower quarterly earnings because of decreased demand from one unnamed customer. The speculation is that "customer" may be Apple. Its stock price has plunged from $700 last September to just over $400 now. Apple's shares dipped as low as $398 after the Cirrus report before recovering late yesterday close at $402.80, down nearly 6 percent.

Speaking of cutting-edge innovation, Google is starting to distribute its new Internet-connected glasses, seen as the next breakthrough in mobile computing. Google has picked 8,000 people who entered a contest. The winners will have to pay $1,500 apiece for a test version of Google Glass. The company also took an unspecified number of orders from computer programmers. Wired.com reports Google is barring anyone deemed worthy of a pair of its Google Glass computer eyewear from selling or even loaning out the highly coveted gadget.

Intel, Microsoft, and Apple have made the switch to cleaner greener energy. The EPA's Green Power Partnership released an updated list of the Top 50 organizations that are choosing to use electricity from clean, renewable sources. "We applaud the leadership demonstrated by organizations that are helping reduce carbon pollution and spur the growth of clean, American-made energy sources by increasing their use of renewable energy," said EPA Acting Administrator Bob Perciasepe. Intel continues to top the list, using green power to cover 100 percent of its electricity load. Microsoft moved into second place by increasing its green power use to more than 1.9 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh) annually. Apple Inc., new to the Top 50 list, ranks number 10 with 85 percent of its nationwide electricity now coming from green power.

Weak earnings from Bank of America, negative economic reports from Europe, and worrying signs for Apple all dragged the stock market lower. The Dow Jones index fell 138 points yesterday. The Nasdaq was down 60. Stock futures rose this morning suggesting a fourth volatile day in a row for Wall Street. New quarterly earnings reports from Morgan Stanley, Verizon, Google and IBM may influence the direction of the stock market today and tomorrow. The price of oil fell to near $86 a barrel today in Asia. Economic data from Europe suggested global demand for energy will remain subdued. Cheaper oil could lead to more price cuts for US motorists and cheaper energy for businesses

Richard Davies Business Correspondent ABC News Radio abcnews.com Twitter: daviesabc

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