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    Monthly gains in home prices strongest in Boston, Cleveland, Las Vegas. WASHINGTON-- Here's a city-by-city look at home prices, after the S&P/Case-Shiller 20- city composite showed that U.S. house prices rose 1.1% in May, supported by the spring sales market. There were gains in all the cities tracked by the Case-Shiller 20- city composite index.

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    Ford and GM are betting on pickups priced at more than $50 K. Looking to test the upper limits of what U.S. customers will pay for a pickup truck, Ford Motor Co. (F) later this year will launch a new version of its best-selling F-150 with one of the highest price tags ever attached to its workhorse truck. With features including "fiddleback eucalyptus" wood trim, massaging seats and panoramic roofs, the Dearborn, Mich., auto maker's coming F-150 Limited model will start about $60,000, a larger...

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    U.S. single-family home prices in May rose from the previous year at the same pace as April but fell short of forecasts, as housing construction slowed and new home sales lagged existing home sales, a closely watched survey said on Tuesday. The S&P/Case Shiller composite index of 20 metropolitan areas in May gained 4.9 percent year over year, matching the pace set in April.

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    National sovereignty is an idea whose time has passed. With capital flowing freely internationally, the reduced cost of transportation, lower prices for oil, the historically massive migration of people, the unstoppable spread of information, and an increasing willingness of many nations to open up trade, nations just cannot remain isolated from the rest of the world. Take Greece.

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    Weak oil and copper prices and disappointing earnings have taken their toll. It appears we're set up for another painful week for U.S. stocks. Investors may have been surprised to wake up to an 8.5% decline in the Shanghai Composite Index on Monday, its worst one-day drop in eight years, but a slide in oil and other commodities also is taking a heavy toll.

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    China's once red-hot stock market and surging economy are burning up, and several major U.S. retailers that operate in the country may be surprised by how quickly that derails their strong sales trends. Chinese shares plunged more than 8% on Monday and fell another 1.7% on Tuesday, sparking fresh fears on the country's economic health.

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    Donald Trump is the Republican to beat in the polls, yet most Americans don't know where he stands on the key economic issues. Visiting Trump's official campaign website isn't much help. Lately, his campaign speeches have focused on immigration reform -- "Take the bad ones and get them the hell out." -- and bashing Washington's lobbying culture -- "I'm not using the lobbyists.

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    Critical information ahead of the U.S. market's open. The Urban Dictionary defines a rumpus as a bunch of people painting their bodies, then dancing around a big bonfire, yelling and screaming. Kind of like what's been going on with those retail investors and Chinese stocks.

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    If markets yawn at their release, why keep the forecasts secret for five years? What if a tree fell in the woods, no one heard it, and the only people who cared were those in the tree-felling business? No, it's not a trick question.

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    Politicians and Silicon Valley prospectuses are all atwitter over the perils and promise of the next big thing, the gig economy. Hillary Clintonwarned of the downsides of this informal workforce in a recent economic speech, including the potential erosion of workplace protections. Eyeing an opening, Jeb Bush used the ride-hailing app Uber to get to a meeting with Thumbtack, a company that helps people hire everyone from handymen to DJs.

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    The city of Boston is ending its bid for the 2024 Olympic Games, conceding to residents who've vocally protested the idea for months. Poll numbers have shown that a majority of people in the region were opposed to hosting the Games, which have become increasingly costly, and opponents had threatened to put the question to what would have been an embarrassing ballot measure.On Monday morning, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh said he wouldn't sign a bid document that required the city to guarantee any cost overruns associated with the Games. Later in the day, the U.S. Olympic Committee announced that it would scramble to find another American city to compete for the 2024 job.The news is a big victory for Bostonians who believed the Olympics would distract the city — and sap resources — from deep challenges with its transit, housing and education. And it's a resounding defeat for the logic that Boston — or any city — needs to take on a massive sporting event to solve such problems. City taxpayers, so often duped by the allure of sports, finally heard a promise they couldn't believe. In February, we wrote about their objections in a story that's reprinted below.BOSTON — The 100-year-old subway system here is creaking with age, in need of new cars, functional air conditioning and more reliable service. Battered by snowstorms, the entire "T" was paralyzed this week. The commuter rail station downtown needs an expansion, too. And housing — there this city is busting at the seams, in need of tens of thousands of new units to accommodate both new arrivals and priced-out working-class residents.Enter, amid all of these challenges, the prospect of an Olympic Games. Last month, Boston was chosen by the U.S. Olympic Committee over Washington, San Francisco and Los Angeles to make the country's bid for the 2024 Summer Games. Now as the possibility that Boston might actual win them starts to sink in, the city is facing a massive debate about what those Games could mean for all of its problems.Opponents say the city can ill-afford the all-consuming distraction of playing Olympic host when Boston can quite literally not keep the subway trains running on time. The Games' backers, meanwhile, counter that the one thing that could rally the city to right its infrastructure is a deadline like no other."This conversation causes us to put a circle around the calendar, to say 'by this date certain, we have to have certain things done,'" John Fish, the chair of the group putting together the bid, told an overflow crowd last week at the city's first public meeting on the Games. If he is right — that the city's best bet to tackle its biggest challenges lies in making this commitment to the world — that raises an awkward question for the rest of us: At a time when the United States can get seemingly so little built, when a majority of Americans oppose even a modest increase in the gas tax to fund basic infrastructure, when trust in government to accomplish anything is so low, do American cities need to take on an Olympic Games just to get big things done?Never mind the old debate over whether the Olympics are ever worth the economic cost to a city. This question, which turns on our political and collective inability to invest in cities when the Olympics aren't even in the picture, is far scarier. If Boston needs the Games to make sure the subway is fixed and the rail terminal is expanded and all of that housing is built, the rest of us are in trouble."What happens when we wake up in 2025? Now what?" asks Chris Dempsey, one of the co-chairs of No Boston Olympics, the primary organization in the region for people who want, well, no Boston Olympics. "Now we’ve convinced ourselves we can only do things with mega-events."At the public meeting last week, No Boston Olympics distributed black-and-white signs implying the zero-sum trade-off it fears the Games would bring:"Better schools, no Olympic Games""Better housing, no Olympic Games""Better transit, no Olympic Games"The room where the meeting was held, at Suffolk University Law School, was packed well beyond capacity. Residents spilled out of the door and into an overflow room. They gave out an audible gasp at the mention of beach volleyball on the Boston Common. At Q&A time, most of their queries were skeptical."I love the Olympics, and I love the city of Boston," one man offered. "But not together. My question is: What would it take to stop this?""Why do we have to wait 10 years for changes?" another man begged. "For changes that we need to make now?"Rich Davey, a former Massachusetts state secretary of transportation who was recently named the chief executive of Boston 2024, counters that better transit and an Olympic Games aren't mutually exclusive."If government is incapable of doing more than one thing at a time, forget about the Olympics," he says. "I think we’re all in trouble as a general matter."But he's also surprisingly blunt about the ability of government to accomplish some of these goals under normal circumstances, like improving the city's "threadbare" transit."We feel like the Olympics gives government — with all due respect, because I was there for four years — a deadline," he says. "There’s nothing like a deadline for your kid’s fourth-grade homework. And there’s nothing like a deadline to get government to build big projects."Davey and Boston Mayor Marty Walsh have insisted that they only want the Games to come to Boston if that goal aligns with the city's own future development. It's easy, though, to envision that while the interests of Boston and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) may align in the abstract today, they could diverge as the Games grow nearer.Dempsey worries in particular that as the deadline for the Olympics approaches in any city, civic projects inevitably fall by the wayside for Olympic priorities. IOC officials in Brazil, he says, aren't there to check up on the progress of new public parks or transit investments that were promised to residents. They want to make sure the stadium has enough seating by the Opening Ceremonies.The IOC approved in December a suite of reforms designed to make the Games less of a burden on host cities, following years of an arms race that has left cities in debt and saddled with infrastructure they don't ultimately reuse (and left other cities skittish about bidding for them). But critics in Boston don't trust those reforms, and they won't trust any contract that requires the city to bear financial liability for any cost overruns.No Boston Olympics, as well as several other camps at the city and state level, are willing to put a nonbinding ballot measure to voters to make that point. Most likely, such a question would ask voters if the city should host an Olympics that requires any public guarantee of money. Harvard, meanwhile, has announced that it won't help the bid raise money, even as Boston 2024 is pitching the region's universities as a key asset to the Games."We are sometimes called cynics," Dempsey says. "The boosters like to say we’re people who don’t think this can be done. We’d throw that label right back at the boosters. We think we can accomplish these important things without the glittery and expensive prize of the Olympics."For anyone who believes an Olympics are necessary, that position doesn't simply reflect a cynicism about government. It's a commentary on the public, too — in Boston and beyond — which has lately been as unwilling to spend new money on infrastructure as government has been incapable of building it efficiently. All of us, not just government, Davey says, seem to rally around infrastructure only in times of opportunity or crisis, when we're presented with an Olympic Games or a political convention — or a tragic bridge collapse."For cities, we either have to accept this crisis-and-opportunity binary philosophy, or we need to rise up and expect more from people," Davey says. "We need to be willing to say, 'You know what, I’m willing to spend 10 more cents on a gallon of gas, or I’m willing to pay a toll, or I’m willing to do a vehicle miles traveled [fee].' "Right now, Massachusetts isn't talking about raising such money. In November, voters in the state actually opted to repeal automatic increases to the state gas tax tied to inflation. And just last week, the governor proposed $40 million in cuts to transportation spending to balance the state budget."Boston, I think, is taking an opportunity," Davey says, because it lives in that world of opportunity or crisis or bust. "I would hope that we don’t have to do that forever. But I think that’s the state of affairs where we are right now."






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    After hitting an oil slick, capital spending may finally start gaining some traction. A big part of why the economy was soft in the first half was that business spending on new plants and equipment was so weak. In the first quarter, nonresidential investment fell by an annualized 2%, nicking gross domestic product, and Thursday's GDP report will likely show it fell again in the second quarter.

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    Financial eruptions in Greece and China have been occupying markets' attention. But under the surface, the tectonic forces of global monetary policy are still moving slowly but inexorably. For many investors, it is time to think about the big picture again.

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    What do federal proposals that would require retirement advisers to put your interests first mean for both you and the industry? If you'll be in New York on Tuesday, July 28, join MarketWatch for an evening of cocktails and conversations on the fiduciary quagmire. The event is free, but you must RSVP since seating is limited.

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    Stagnant wages has been a key early issue in the race for the presidency. Productivity must improve for real wages to rise, and economic productivity has not risen in the current economic recovery. Ip writes, "It is true that since 1973, real wages have grown more slowly than productivity.

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    By Myra P. Saefong, MarketWatch, Biman Mukherji and Georgi Kantchev. Rout in Chinese stocks, rise in U.S. drilling rigs pressure oil. Oil futures settled on Monday at their lowest levels since March, with U.S. prices under $48 a barrel, pressured by a weekly climb in U.S. oil-drilling rigs as a steep plunge in the Shanghai stock market fed worries about a slowdown in Chinese energy demand.

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    There will be a new face at the Federal Reserve’s policy-setting meeting in Washington this week, the first of a string of turnovers as the central bank prepares for the next phase of the nation’s economic recovery.Patrick T. Harker will take a seat at the Fed’s 27-foot mahogany table as president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia. Harker was picked for the job in March and took his post July 1. He replaces Charles Plosser, who had led the regional bank for nearly a decade and was an outspoken critic of the Fed’s easy-money stance.It’s unclear whether Harker shares his predecessor's philosophy. He was a member of the Philadelphia Fed’s board of directors and was president of the University of Delaware. He will not have a vote on the Fed’s policy-setting committee until 2017. The Fed’s 12 regional presidents rotate seats on the committee, while the central bank’s Washington-based board of governors are permanent members.[The Fed accidentally released confidential information — and it turned out to be partly wrong]But whether they have an official vote or not, all of the Fed’s top brass participate in the committee’s discussion of the appropriate level of interest rates -- and the debate will likely be exceptionally vigorous over the next year.Monetary policy is at a crossroads. Nearly seven years after the financial crisis, the American economy finally seems to be righting itself again. For the Fed, that means the end of the extraordinary measures it has taken to support the recovery. Chief among them was slashing its target for the influential federal funds rate all the way to zero.Many of the officials who responded during the darkest hours of the crisis have since moved on, including then-Chairman Ben S. Bernanke. His second-in-command, Janet Yellen, is now at the helm of the Fed, and there already has been significant turnover within the top ranks -- with more still to come. The challenge facing this new guard will be to return the fed funds rate to a more normal level without derailing the recovery in the process.Yellen has stated that she expects the Fed to raise its target interest rate from zero later this year. Whether the central bank will welcome more new faces before then remains uncertain.President Obama last week nominated University of Michigan economist Kathryn Dominguez to the Fed’s board of governors. The president early this year had also tapped Allan Landon, chief executive of the Bank of Hawaii (BOH), to serve on the board. The nominees must be confirmed by the Senate, but Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), head of the banking committee, recently told the Wall Street Journal that he is no in rush to fill the seats.Meanwhile, the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas is still seeking a new leader after Richard Fisher retired in March. Fisher was also a vocal critic of central bank policy. Dallas Fed Chief Operating Officer Helen Holcomb has been named acting president until a permanent replacement is found.Change is also coming to the Minneapolis Fed. President Narayana Kocherlakota, who has called for more aggressive support for the economy, will leave his position this year to join the faculty at the University of Rochester. The search for his successor is underway.