News In Brief

MID-DAY UPDATE: Single-family home sales rise and store-brand coffee prices may go up

Katharine Crnko May 24, 2011

Here are today’s top headlines from the Marketplace Morning Report and from around the web.

New U.S. single-family home sales rose unexpectedly in April to notch their second straight month of gains and prices increased, according to a government report on Tuesday that offered some hope for the stagnant housing market.

Medtronic, the world’s largest medical device maker, says its fourth-quarter net income dropped 19 percent on expenses related to its recent layoffs.

Microsoft has dropped to third place when it comes to the market value of tech companies. The software giant was edged out by IBM for the first time since 1996. Apple is number one by a long shot.

China today appealed a World Trade Organization ruling saying the U.S. blatantly ignored international trade rules when it imposed trade barriers on car tires imported from China.

Here’s a headline that’s nice to hear: Gas prices are beginning to drop. The national average is down 11 cents in the last week at $3.84 for a gallon of regular unleaded. But Goldman Sachs said today that oil prices will jump another 20 percent or so in the next 12 months.

The price of a cup of coffee is about to go up. The company that sells Folgers, Dunkin’ Donuts and many store-brand coffees said today it’ll soon implement its second double-digit price increase this year. J.M. Smucker Company says it’s just passing on the prices it pays for beans at the wholesale level.

To Georgia, where the shrimping industry is having a hard time passing on high fuel costs to customers. That combined with increasing competition from abroad is forcing some shrimpers to cut bait and switch to jellyfish. They’re catching them by the ton and shipping them off to Asia where jellyfish are popular in salads and stir-fry dishes. Disposing of the excess catch can get a bit messy though. One resident of Darien, Ga., told the Savannah Morning News the town hasn’t smelled nice for days.

A study out of Europe says men who are more cultured are happier and healthier people. Researchers at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology say cultured men are generally in better health, have lower levels of depression and are more satisfied with their lives. More so than even cultured women. What does the study define as “cultured?” Those who go to museums, galleries, and theaters often. For those of us who don’t do those things, apparently there’s a television at the hospital with our names on it.

You can read the rest of today’s stories from the Marketplace Morning Report here.

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