July 28th, 2009
12:31 PM ET

Financial Dispatch: Home prices up for 1st time in 3 years

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Andrew Torgan
CNN Financial News Producer

A closely-watched housing index shows home prices in May posted their first monthly increase in nearly 3 years, indicating prices are finally stabilizing.

The Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller Home Price Index of 20 major cities rose 0.5% from April. On an annual basis, however, home prices in the 20 cities fell 17.1%.

This comes one day after a report showing sales of newly constructed single-family houses spiked 11% in June.

Consumer confidence slips in July

A key index of consumer confidence fell more than expected in July as the dismal job market continued to darken the outlook for household spending.

The Conference Board, a New York-based business research group, says its Consumer Confidence Index fell to 46.6 in July from a reading of 49.3 in June. That was worse than economists had expected.

The index, which fell to an all-time low in February, had recovered earlier this year as consumers were heartened by a rally on Wall Street, lower energy prices and new government programs to aid the economy.

But that optimism appears to have been premature and has given way to concerns about the weak job market.

Obesity-related health spending doubled in 8 years

New research shows that obesity and the cost of treating obesity-related illnesses in the United States rose dramatically between 1998 and 2006.

A study was published Monday in the journal Health Affairs says obesity-related health spending was estimated at $147 billion a year in 2006, roughly double the $74 billion estimated just eight years earlier.

That breaks down to $1,400 more a year in average medical spending for an obese person than for someone who's normal weight.

Gas prices up the last 7 days

Gas prices climbed 5-tenths of a cent overnight to $2.505 - the 7th consecutive increase.

The average price of a gallon of gas is down $1.609 or 39.11% from the record high price of $4.114 that AAA reported on July 17, 2008.

The highest gas prices are in Hawaii ($3.118). The cheapest are in South Carolina ($2.278).

Who is signing your money?

Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner has been waiting to sign your money for seven months, and he'll have to wait just a bit longer.

The Bureau of Engraving and Printing has been holding off on putting Geithner's “John Hancock” on currency while the Senate mulled whether to confirm the other co-signer of your money - the U.S. Treasurer.

That confirmation, of Rosa Gumataotao Rios, occurred on Friday.

Meanwhile, the signatures of former Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and former Treasurer Anna Escobedo Cabral have still been appearing on new bills, long after their terms ended on Jan. 20.

Based on how much money the Treasury printed in the same period last year, the names of the two out-of-office signers graced 7.2 billion new notes with a total face value of nearly $120 billion.

But don't look for Geithner- and Rios-signed bills at an ATM near you just yet. The process of transferring the new signatures typically takes three months.

Follow the money… on Twitter: @AndrewTorganCNN

Filed under: Andrew Torgan
soundoff (3 Responses)
  1. Melissa

    So much for the theory that the economy is still doing bad.

    July 28, 2009 at 2:07 pm |
  2. john

    The industries who profit from misery: medical profession, funeral industry, mortgage companies, armed forces, uncle sam,aunt fanny mae, wall street, the media, the advertisers who support the aboved mentioned, The beat goes on.

    July 28, 2009 at 1:34 pm |
  3. john

    Taxpayers bailout the banks. Paulson a former member of goldman sachs (no longer should be capitalized in a sentence as a proper noun but use lower case as an inproper noun) the rich exploit the poor and middle class and redistribute the plunder. Mortgage prices, gas prices, corn, grocery prices rise at the appointed hour. Welcome to the land of the free home of the brave!

    July 28, 2009 at 1:30 pm |