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News In Brief

PODCAST: Investors relieved over debt deal, Spanish bank puts up soccer player as collateral

Daryl Paranada Aug 1, 2011
News In Brief

PODCAST: Investors relieved over debt deal, Spanish bank puts up soccer player as collateral

Daryl Paranada Aug 1, 2011

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

The cost of insuring U.S. debt with credit default swaps fell Monday, as investors regained confidence the U.S. would avoid a near-term default.

Vice President Joe Biden will meet with Democratic members of the House and Senate today, ahead of vital votes on a controversial deal to lift the U.S. debt limit.

It helps that the ratings agency Moody’s says the U.S. will likely keep its triple-A credit rating, at least for now. No word from the other ratings agencies.

Builders began work on more office buildings, shopping centers and hotels in June, pushing construction spending higher for a third straight month. But even with the gains, activity remains at depressed levels.

A private trade group says manufacturing activity barely grew in July, falling to the weakest level since just after the recession ended.

The Obama administration says health insurance plans must cover birth control for women with no co-pays.

In case you missed it Friday, AT&T announced it’s going to limit data speeds for 5 percent of its “unlimited” customers that use its cell-phone data airwaves the most. I know, I said unlimited. But in this case, unlimited apparently does not mean unlimited.

HSBC Bank says it’s going to cut 30,000 jobs to save money. That’s in addition to other jobs the bank said it would cut — some of which are in the U-S.

Maybe you’ve heard about “squatter’s rights” in some old Western movie, but here’s a present-day story from Texas. Seems this guy was living with some housemates in a little town northwest of Dallas when he spotted what looked like an abandoned house. He decided to make an offer, but couldn’t find record of a mortgage holder. He did, however, find an obscure Texas law on the Internet that lets someone move in to an abandoned property if the owner doesn’t assert their rights. It cost Kenneth Robinson a $15 filing fee to move in to the home that’s valued at $340,000. He says if the owner does come forward, he’ll make an offer. And if not — provided he stays current with taxes — Robinson could end up taking over the place free-and-clear if he meets the right conditions after a certain number of years. So, he says, it’s worth seeing just how this plays out.

The Easy Bake Oven is getting a makeover… an electric one. The kiddy oven relied on one of those 100-watt incandescent light bulbs that burn hot as well as bright. That’s what helped bake its cakes and brownies. But newer compact fluorescent bulbs don’t burn as hot. So the maker of the oven is reintroducing it with a new internal heating element. It’ll cost a little more. But you won’t have to buy the light bulb.

If you’re thinking it couldn’t get any more ridiculous than what we’ve seen in Washington over the past few weeks, consider how things could — literally — play out if the ratings agencies downgrade Spain’s sovereign debt. There’s word that the world’s most expensive soccer player — Ronaldo — could be part of the financial fallout in Spain. Seems the banks that loaned the money so the Real Madrid Football Club could acquire Ronaldo and a Brazilian player now wants to borrow funds from the European Central Bank. And they’re essentially pledging Ronaldo and the other player as collateral, raising speculation that if things get really bad the ECB could end up in the position of seizing the players. So if you wanna keep your global finances straight, you’re really gonna need a scorecard.

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