Stocks are moderately lower on Wall Street. The Dow is off about 70 points in afternoon trading, while the Nasdaq and the S&P are also down less than 1 percent. Nine of the 10 industry groups in the S&P 500 are lower, with only health care stocks advancing.
- Advocates estimate that about 400,000 homeowners will be eligible for compensation under a settlement between federal regulators and 10 major banks and mortgage companies over wrongful foreclosures. The banks have agreed to pay $8.5 billion to settle complaints that they mishandled paperwork and skipped required steps in the foreclosure process.
- The Supreme Court is questioning efforts by consumers' lawyers to limit the amount of money sought in class-action lawsuits. The justices today appeared receptive to arguments by Standard Fire Insurance Co. that lawyers artificially lower the amount of money at stake to keep the cases in state courts rather than more business-friendly federal court. Standard Fire says the tactic drags out lawsuits and makes fighting them so expensive that companies would rather settle.
- Gasoline is $3.30 a gallon at the pumps on average, up about half a penny since Jan. 1. That's a contrast to this time last year, when gas rose about 10 cents in the first week of January because of a jump in oil prices. Crude prices are mostly flat today, with light sweet crude trading around $93 a barrel.
- Apple says users of its iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch are downloaded a growing number of apps, more than 40 billion in all. Nearly half of those downloads came last year. Apple says December saw record downloads of more than 2 billion apps.
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