- - Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Americans bought fewer new homes in June after sales jumped to a two-year high in May. The steep decline suggests a weaker job market and slower growth could make the housing recovery uneven.

The Commerce Department said Wednesday that sales of new homes fell 8.4 percent last month from May to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 350,000. That’s the biggest drop since February 2011.

Sales in the Northeast plunged 60 percent in June to the lowest level since November.

Nationwide, sales in May and April were revised much higher. June’s sales pace is 15.1 percent higher than the same month last year. But sales remain well below the 700,000 annual rate economists equate with healthy markets.


MEDIA

Newsweek reviews future as print weekly

NEW YORK — The head of the company that owns Newsweek says the longtime newsweekly is examining its future as a weekly print magazine.

During a conference call with analysts Wednesday, IAC/InterActiveCorp Chairman Barry Diller said that while Newsweek’s “brand is good” around the world, producing a weekly newsmagazine in print form isn’t easy.

Mr. Diller said IAC is examining all options for Newsweek and will have a plan in the coming months. He said little about what those options were. Short of going Internet-only, Newsweek could publish its print editions less frequently.

“I can’t tell you in what ways it will be different, but it will be different,” Mr. Diller said, according to a transcript of the call, which was held to discuss IAC’s quarterly earnings.

Magazines and newspapers have been trying to adapt to a world in which readers get more of their information from free websites and advertisers funnel more of their marketing budgets to less expensive alternatives online.

AUTO

Toyota takes first-half global sales lead from GM

TOKYO — Toyota bounced back from safety recalls and natural disasters, selling 4.97 million vehicles globally in the first half of the year to retake its crown as the world’s top automaker from General Motors Co.

The Japanese company sold about 300,000 more cars and trucks than GM did in the first half of the year, a lead large enough that it will be difficult for GM to catch Toyota in the final six months of 2012.

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