U.S. seeks $2.1 billion from Bank of America

CNNMoney: The Justice Department is seeking $2.1 billion in fines from Bank of America Corp. related to mortgage fraud perpetrated by Countrywide Financial Corp. before it was purchased by Bank of America. The amount is a significant increase from the previous request for $863 million. The case involved mortgages sold in 2007 and early 2008 to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the two government-backed mortgage finance companies. The loans were made under a Countrywide program known as the "High-Speed Swim Lane" but were known internally at the lender as "the Hustle" according to the Justice Department.


China's Lenovo steps into ring against Samsung with Motorola deal

Reuters: Lenovo Group, a Chinese technology company that earns about 80 percent of its revenue from personal computers, is betting it can also be a challenger to Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. and Apple Inc. in the smartphone market. On Wednesday, Lenovo said it would buy Google Inc.'s Motorola Mobility handset unit for $2.91 billion in the fourth-largest U.S. acquisition by a Chinese or Hong Kong company ever.


Pending sales of U.S. existing homes slump most since 2010

Bloomberg: Contracts to purchase previously owned homes in the U.S. plunged in December by the most since May 2010, as higher borrowing costs and bad weather held back sales. A gauge of pending home sales slumped 8.7 percent after a revised 0.3 percent drop in November that was initially reported as a gain, the National Association of Realtors said today in Washington. The median projection in a Bloomberg survey of economists called for the index to drop 0.3 percent.