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Monday Afternoon Business Brief

August 4, 2014, 2:08 PM

Monday Afternoon Business Brief
  • Stocks are moderately higher in afternoon trading. They've been moving between small gains and losses today after a selloff last week put caution back into the market. Investors had two pieces of positive news: a decent earnings report from Berkshire Hathaway and the announcement of a bailout package for a struggling Portuguese bank.
  • GM Finance says it has received a subpoena from the U.S. Department of Justice for documents related to subprime auto loans. The affiliate of General Motors made the disclosure in a filing with the government. Subprime loans generally are made to borrowers with questionable credit repayment histories. GM Finance said the Justice Department is considering a civil lawsuit for potential violations of a federal law that was passed following the savings and loan crisis in the 1980s.
  • New York's top financial regulator is investigating whether the nation's largest overseer of troubled mortgages is overcharging struggling homeowners on insurance. New York Financial Superintendent Benjamin Lawsky says Ocwen Financial Corp. created complex business arrangements to funnel as much as $65 million to Altisource Portfolio Solutions S.A. That company is led by former Ocwen executives and is partially owned by Ocwen's executive chairman, William Erbey. Lawsky says the extra expense of policies imposed by Ocwen "can push already struggling families over the foreclosure cliff."
  • The average roundtrip ticket within the U.S., including taxes, has reached a little more than $509 in the first six months of this year. That's up nearly $14 from the same period last year. Domestic airfare continues to outpace inflation, rising 2.7 percent, compared to the 2.1 percent gain in the Consumer Price Index.
  • The beleaguered Market Basket supermarket chain is getting ready to replace workers protesting the firing of their ousted CEO. Hundreds of warehouse workers and drivers have refused to make deliveries over the past two weeks, leading to severely depleted store shelves. But ousted CEO Arthur T. Demoulas is now offering to return to work to stabilize the company while negotiations continue over his bid to buy the chain that has 71 stores in Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine.

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