Headlines in Business, Mergers and Acquisitions & Market News:
- New home building drops in January. Groundbreaking on new homes fell 3.8%, surprising economists who expected to see a rise. Seasonal factors like the large blizzard that blanketed the East Coast could be responsible.
- Unemployment claims fall unexpectedly. The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits fell last week, pointing to renewed strength in the labor market.
- Mortgage applications up on lower rates. Falling rates on mortgages continue to drive purchase applications and refinancing activity. Applications for home purchases are up 30% over the same period last year.
- Home builders may be losing confidence. An indicator of optimism among the nation's home builders shows that though current and future sales expectations are strong, a lack of labor and available lots may be dragging on future building.