Radio Shack Reportedly 'Preparing to Shut Down'
It's a sad day for tinkerers. America could be about to say goodbye to Radio Shack. All its stores may close in the near future. Bloomberg reports Radio Shack "is preparing to shut down the almost-century-old retail chain in a bankruptcy deal that would sell about half its store leases to Sprint and close the rest," according to sources. The New York Stock Exchange plans to delist Radio Shack shares. The troubled retailer warned last year that it may have to seek Chapter 11 bankruptcy and its CEO recently warned it might not be able to find a long-term plan to stay afloat. In the latest quarter, Radio Shack said its sales plunged more than 16 percent compared with the year before. The company's stock price has fallen 90 percent in the past year. Amazon, which plans to increase its brick-and-mortar locations, may be interested in buying some Radio Shack stores.
More than eight years after the housing bobble popped, causing near financial meltdown, ratings firm Standard and Poor's has agreed to pay $1.38 billion to settle with the U.S. government and 19 states. S&P was accused of inflating the subprime bubble, giving top ratings to risky investments. The Justice Department filed civil fraud charges against S&P two years ago this week. It accused the company of failing to warn investors that the housing market was collapsing in 2006 because doing so would hurt its ratings business. S&P will also pay $125 million in a separate settlement with the California Public Employees' Retirement System.
Millions of mortgage borrowers unsure of the interest rate they are paying, according to a new report by Bankrate.com. "If you don't know your mortgage interest rate you might not be aware that this is a good time to refinance," says Bankrate mortgage analyst Holden Lewis. "Let's say that you have a $200 thousand mortgage and in 2008 you got your mortgage and you got it for 6%: If you refinance, from 6% to 3.8%, you would save about $267 dollars a month."
U.S. home values rose at a modest pace in December, a sign there are too few potential buyers to bid up prices. Real estate data provider CoreLogic says average home prices rose 5 percent compared with the year before. That rate is much lower than the double-digit gains that occurred last year. Despite the modest rise, sales slipped last year, after several years of gains.