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Home prices down as officials look to loosen up lending

Home prices down as officials look to loosen up lending

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WASHINGTON — Home prices in July fell 5.3 percent compared with a year ago, a government agency said Tuesday, and have now receded to October 2005 levels.

The nationwide decline in home values coupled with reckless lending standards are the driving forces behind rising mortgage defaults and foreclosures, and the credit crisis that has shaken Wall Street to its core.

James Lockhart, chief of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, suggested Tuesday that mortgage finance companies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac could loosen lending standards to help more homebuyers qualify for a loan and stabilize the market. The government took control of Fannie and Freddie earlier this month.

New Freddie Mac CEO earns less than his predecessor

WASHINGTON — Mortgage finance company Freddie Mac says its new chief executive is earning a base salary of $900,000 a year, a 25 percent pay cut from his predecessor who also received sizable bonuses and stock options.

The company, seized by the government earlier this month, said in a regulatory filing that CEO David Moffett will earn the salary while his final compensation package is determined by the Federal Housing Finance Agency, which controls Freddie Mac and sibling Fannie Mae.

New DuPont CEO pledges commitment to science

DOVER, Del. — Having shifted under Chief Executive Charles Holliday Jr. from a traditional chemicals business to a science and biotechnology company, DuPont will keep branching out under incoming CEO Ellen Kullman.

DuPont announced Tuesday that Holliday is stepping down after 10 years as CEO and will be replaced by Kullman, an executive vice president who has spent 20 years with the company and formerly led the unit that makes the material for body armor.

Kullman, 52, who once described DuPont’s focus on internal research as being too insular and arrogant, said she will work to make the company’s commitment to science-based innovation pay off.

Markets are more orderly; bailout worries still persist

NEW YORK — Financial markets extended their declines Tuesday as investors worried that lawmakers were beginning to doubt the necessity of a broad government bailout for financial institutions as a way to revive ailing credit markets.

Trading appeared more orderly than Monday, when investors rushed into hard assets such as oil and gold. Meanwhile, demand remained high for 3-month Treasury bills.

— Wire Reports


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