U.S. retail sales rebound, jobless claims fall

Reuters: U.S. retail sales rebounded in February and new applications for unemployment benefits hit a fresh three-month low last week, suggesting some strength in the economy after harsh weather abruptly slowed activity in recent months. The Commerce Department said on Thursday that retail sales increased 0.3 percent last month as receipts rose in most categories. That followed a revised 0.6 percent drop in January and ended two straight months of declines.

 

GM reveals it was told of ignition defect in 2001

The New York Times: General Motors Co. said on Wednesday that it had received reports as early as 2001 - three years earlier than previously disclosed - of a safety defect in its cars that the company has now linked to 12 deaths and at least 31 accidents over the past decade. In an expanded chronology of events filed with federal safety regulators about the recall of 1.6 million cars, the automaker said that during the development of the Saturn Ion in 2001, it had found that the ignition switch could turn off easily, but that a design change "had resolved the problem."

 

'Zombie foreclosures' still weighing on housing markets

CNNMoney: RealtyTrac reported Thursday that foreclosure filings fell 27 percent year-over-year in February to a new seven-year low, indicating that the pace of filings has returned to normal levels since the foreclosure crisis. However, lingering problems loom. Vacated by the owner and left unattended, nearly 152,000 "zombie foreclosures" are weighing on home values in states like Florida, Illinois and New York, RealtyTrac said. That's roughly 21 percent of all homes in the foreclosure process.