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REAL ESTATE

Home sales fell to 2011 low

Fewer people purchased previously occupied homes in May, lowering sales to their weakest point of the year.

Home sales sank 3.8 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.81 million homes, the National Association of Realtors said Tuesday. Economists say that’s far less than the 6 million homes per year sold in healthy housing markets.

Analysts said they expect sales to level off at about 5 million per year. That’s not much better than the 4.91 million homes sold last year, the worst showing in 13 years.

SEC

JPMorgan to settle civil fraud charges

JPMorgan Chase & Co. will pay $153.6 million to settle civil fraud charges over misleading investors into purchasing complex mortgage securities just before the housing market collapsed.

The settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission announced Tuesday is one of the most significant legal actions targeting Wall Street’s role in the 2008 financial crisis.

As part of the settlement, investors who were harmed will receive all of their money back, the SEC said. JPMorgan also agreed to improve the way it reviews and approves mortgage securities transactions.

The bank neither admitted nor denied wrongdoing under the settlement.

GANNETT

Publisher lays off 700 more workers

The nation’s largest newspaper publisher is laying off another 700 employees to cope with an unrelenting advertising slump.

Gannett, the owner of USA Today and more than 80 other daily U.S. newspapers, hoped to complete the cuts Tuesday. The layoffs are occurring at most Gannett newspapers but not at USA Today.

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