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    It is getting harder to maintain a belief that the recent softness in the housing market is mostly due to the tough winter. But the chill on home sales may not be as bad as it seems. Wednesday brought another batch of bad news on housing's health: The Commerce Department reported seasonally adjusted new-home sales hit an annual rate of 384,000 in March, down from 443,000 a year earlier and well below economists' median estimate of 450,000. Worse, the weakness was broadly based, with...

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    A massive oil storage facility in the Bahamas may offer nimble gasoline traders a new way to profit by shipping fuel in foreign ships from the oversupplied U.S. Gulf Coast to the gasoline-thirsty East Coast following a recent U.S. Customs ruling.

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    A former lawyer with the American Bankers Association is being considered by the White House as a possible nominee to the board of the Federal Reserve, according to sources familiar with the efforts. The lawyer's name emerged as the White House weighs candidates with community banking backgrounds to fill gaps on the Federal Reserve's powerful but depleted board, the sources said.

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    The White House is weighing candidates with community banking backgrounds to fill gaps on the Federal Reserve's powerful but depleted board, according to sources familiar with the efforts. Diana Preston, a lawyer who recently left a post at the American Bankers Association, which represents many small banks, is one of those under consideration, two sources said.

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    Borrowers seeking to buy a new home say they often do not have time to read final mortgage documents and sometimes find mistakes in their paperwork, the U.S. consumer watchdog said in a report on Wednesday.

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    WASHINGTON- Federal regulators reportedly might allow websites to pay Internet providers for speedier access to consumers under a new "Net neutrality" proposal by the Federal Communications Commission. The Wall Street Journal on Wednesday reported that Internet providers such as Comcast or AT&T would not be allowed to slow or block access to any website, but they would be able to give some content companies like, say, Netflix, special treatment in exchange for payment.

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    Staples (SPLS) shoppers could face a postal workers' picket line on Thursday. The American Postal Workers Union has organized protests at 50 of the office supplies stores in 27 states to oppose a deal where U.S. postal products and services are sold at Staples.

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    WASHINGTON-- Sales of new single-family homes plunged last month, hitting the slowest pace since July, with trends in data released Wednesday concerning economists about stuttering demand. In March, home sales fell 14.5% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 384,000, led by drops in three of four U.S. regions. had expected a March sales pace of 450,000, compared with an originally estimated rate of 440,000 in February.

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    NEW YORK Ahead of major earnings reports from Apple (AAPL) and Facebook (FB), Estimize, the site known for changing the way earnings estimates are handed out, is going in a brand new direction: economic data.

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    WASHINGTON-- Housing is not looking good, that's for sure. The new-home sales report is and always has been a volatile report, but 14.5% drops in a single month aren't easily explained. Not after months of sluggish readings, and in view of mediocre numbers for existing-home sales and low readings of prospective-buyer traffic by builders.

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    * New home sales drop 14.5 percent in March. * New housing stock up 3.2 percent, median price at record high. * Factories expand in April, new orders push higher. * Housing stocks tumble. By Lucia Mutikani. Sales of new U.S. single-family homes tumbled to their lowest level in eight months in March, dashing hopes for a quick turnaround for a sector that fell into a soft patch last summer.

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    WASHINGTON-- Sales of new single-family homes plunged 14.5% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 384,000 last month, hitting the lowest level since July, with drops in three of four U.S. regions, the government reported Wednesday. Economists polled by MarketWatch had expected a March sales pace of 450,000, compared with an originally estimated rate of 440,000 in February. Commerce Department revised February's sales pace to 449,000. Economists caution over reading too...

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    Sales of new U.S. single-family homes tumbled to their lowest level in eight months in March, dashing hopes for a quick turnaround for a sector that fell into a soft patch last summer. The Commerce Department said on Wednesday sales dropped 14.5 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 384,000 units.

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    The U.S. manufacturing sector expanded in April though the rate of growth was slightly lower than expected as inventories fell, but factory output growth hit its fastest pace in three years, an industry report showed on Wednesday. Financial data firm Markit said its preliminary or "flash" U.S. Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index dipped to 55.4 in April from 55.5 in March.

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    WASHINGTON-- The initial or "flash" Markit PMI for the United States fell slightly to 55.4 in April from 55.5 in March. Readings over 50 in the purchasing managers' index indicate growth. Readings for new orders and exports improved.

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    Every April, Americans bristle over the amount of state and local taxes they end up paying-- with some believing they don't see it reflected in garbage collection or police services. But how much bang for their buck are taxpayers really getting? Higher taxes don't necessarily equal better services.

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    Our financial system is so corrupt you might say that a fish rots from the Fed. How else can one describe a regime that punishes savers and rewards borrowers and speculators for years on end? Our central bank is essentially taking billions of dollars a year from average Americans, who are still struggling to get by in a bombed-out economy, and it is giving it-- yes, giving it-- to the very banks that helped cause the 2008 financial crisis in the first place.

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    LONDON-- The Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee at its April 9 meeting voted 9-0 in favor of keeping interest rates on hold and making no changes to its 375 billion pound asset-purchase program, according to minutes released on Wednesday. The central bank said the decision was made within the forward-guidance framework laid out in August 2013 as the unemployment rate remained above the 7% threshold at the time of the meeting. After the April policy decision, the headline...