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The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is rolling out new guidelines for U.S. mortgages. The idea is to prevent the kind of “wild west” that prevailed before the financial crisis — where the industry extended mortgages to many folks who couldn’t afford them.

New research out of the U.K. this morning finds a staggering amount of food is wasted around the world every year. In fact, the study says we waste half of the 4 billion tons of food produced annually for human consumption. Whoa.

More Americans filed for unemployment last week, although the usual rush of post-holiday layoffs makes it kind of a tough week to read.

A few tidbits from this unfolding earnings season. Tiffany and Co. has had a rough time of it during the past year. But the latest quarter for the luxury jeweler offered a glimmer of relief. Sales rose 4 percent during the holiday season. The company is holding steady to its previous profit forecast.

And take a look at Supervalu. The grocery company announced a profit for the latest quarter, but also announced it is selling five major chains to a private equity firm, including Albertsons and Jewel-Osco. That leaves Supervalu with Cub Foods, a number of smaller chains, and its food wholesaling business.
Today in Savannah, Ga., the head of the Department of Housing and Urban Development unveils a pilot program. It’s meant to address the poor conditions in public housing developments. HUD’s idea is to let outside investors fix them up.

We caught this story in time to let you know about it yesterday, and indeed this afternoon President Obama will nominate Jack Lew to replace Tim Geithner as secretary of the Treasury. Lew is currently the White House chief of staff. The guy who broke this story and set the media humming yesterday was Hans Nichols of Bloomberg News. Earlier today he talked with my morning report colleague Jeremy Hobson.

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