Business

8:25am

Wed January 25, 2012
The Two-Way

Sales Contracts On Homes Slightly Down In December

After hitting a year and half year high in November, the number of contracts to buy homes fell a bit in December.

The AP reports:

"The National Association of Realtors says its index of sales agreements fell 3.5 percent last month to a reading of 96.6. That's down from November's reading of 100.1.

"But the reading is still the second highest since April 2010, the last month that buyers could qualify for a federal home-buying tax credit.

"A reading of 100 is considered healthy.

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6:50am

Wed January 25, 2012
The Two-Way

Google's New Privacy Policy Will Allow Tracking Across Services

Yesterday afternoon Google announced it was making sweeping changes to its privacy policy beginning March 1. Users can't opt out, so Google is beginning to send notice to its users via email and even on its homepage.

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10:01pm

Tue January 24, 2012
Your Money

How To Avoid 'Bill Shock' From Smartphone Use

A woman uses her smartphone on a street in Seoul. New rules are on the way to protect consumers from expensive data roaming fees, but for now, phone owners can take steps to help themselves.
Kim Jae-Hwan AFP/Getty Images

Americans who've been traveling abroad are all too often stunned by the size of their mobile phone bill. Even if they aren't actively using their phone, they can rack up hundreds, sometimes thousands, of dollars in charges — resulting in what consumer advocates call "bill shock."

Los Angeles resident Lisa French thought she was being careful when she took her smartphone on a trip to Japan.

"I was advised not to make any phone calls, as phone calls oversees are very, very expensive," she says.

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10:01pm

Tue January 24, 2012
Energy

Is The Booming Natural Gas Industry Overproducing?

Originally published on Wed January 25, 2012 10:25 am

Hydraulic fracturing wells have been producing a tremendous amount of natural gas — far more than the current demand. Above, a Cabot Oil & Gas natural gas drill at a fracking site in South Montrose, Pa.
Spencer Platt Getty Images

The practice of hydraulic fracturing — pumping fluid into underground rock to push up natural gas — has its detractors, especially among environmentalists. But it's becoming clear that whatever its drawbacks, "fracking," as it's called, is producing a lot of gas — maybe too much gas.

Fracking was once a small part of the natural gas industry, a technique to get hard-to-reach deposits in underground shale. Then the technology improved, and the dinner bell rang. Everybody wanted in. Now there's so much gas on the market that the price is at a 10-year low.

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3:04pm

Tue January 24, 2012
The Two-Way

Apple Sold 37 Million iPhones Last Quarter, 7 Million More Than Expected

Originally published on Tue January 24, 2012 3:22 pm

Apple's just-released financial results for the quarter ended Dec. 31 have some eye-popping numbers:

-- "Record quarterly net profit of $13.1 billion," double the $6 billion of the same quarter a year earlier.

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