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Stocks up...New home sales climb...Wal-Mart launching mobile checking account

By The Associated Press | Posted - Sep. 24, 2014 at 8:51 a.m.



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NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks are slightly higher in early trading on Wall Street, following three days of losses. Investors continue to focus on Europe's economic malaise and tensions in the Middle East after the U.S. and Arab nations attacked the Islamic State group's headquarters in Syria. Bed Bath & Beyond rose 6 percent, the most in the S&P 500, after the home goods retailer reported better-than-expected earnings and revenue for its latest quarter.

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Commerce Department says new home sales climbed 18 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 504,000. The report also revised up the July sales rate to 427,000 from 412,000. Newly constructed homes sold at the fastest clip since May 2008. In the West, August purchases of new homes soared 50 percent compared to the prior month. Sales grew 29 percent in the Northeast. Buying increased 7.8 percent in the South and remained flat in the Midwest.

PASADENA, Calif. (AP) — Wal-Mart is launching a mobile checking account for its customers that will eliminate some of the fees charged by banks. The company says the GoBank checking account through Green Dot Corp. has no minimum balance requirements or overdraft fees. A monthly membership charge of $8.95 can also be waived if a direct deposit of $500 is made each month. The company says that credit bureau ratings and other scores traditionally used to determine eligibility are not part of the process.

LEAWOOD, Kan. (AP) — The Federal Trade Commission alleges in a lawsuit that a Kansas bitcoin company bilked more than 20,000 customers out of up to $50 million. The FTC alleges that Butterfly Labs told consumers that computers could generate bitcoins but didn't deliver the computers or sent worthless equipment. The FTC says the federal court in Kansas City issued a temporary restraining order that shut down the business, according to the Kansas City Star. The company says it will fight the federal action.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Railroad regulators say some federal workplace safety standards should be extended to workers on and near the tracks. The National Transportation Safety Board is issuing a draft report after investigating 15 deaths of railroad "roadway" employees in 2013. Among other things, the report says differences between regulations of the Federal Railroad Administration and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration can be confusing. It recommends that the railroad administration include OSHA standards during job briefings for roadway workers.

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The Associated Press

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