• A measure of the number of Americans who signed contracts to buy homes rose in January from December to the highest in more than 21/2 years. The increase suggests sales of previously occupied homes will continue rising in the coming months. The National Association of Realtors said its seasonally adjusted index for pending home sales rose 4.5 percent last month to 105.9.
• Home prices climbed 5.8 percent in December from a year earlier, according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency. Prices for single-family homes rose 0.6 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from November.
Truck tires recalled
Hercules is recalling some light-duty truck tires in the U.S. because the belts and treads can separate from the tires.
The recall covers 10-ply Load Range E tires in the companys All Trac line. All the recalled tires are 16 or 17 inches in diameter. They are used mainly on commercial trucks. Hercules will replace the tires for free.
Owners can call the company at 888-965-5795.
General Motors is planning this year to build as many as 36,000 Chevrolet Volt and other plug-in hybrids, 20 percent more than it sold in 2012, according to Bloomberg News, citing unnamed sources.
GM is planning to build 1,500 to 3,000 of the plug-in vehicles a month, the report said. GM said it sold about 30,000 Volt and similar Opel Ampera cars in 2012.
The large and growing wealth gap separating white and black families is the product of stubborn barriers that disproportionately consign African-Americans to less valuable real estate and lower-paying jobs, according to a new report released by Brandeis Universitys Institute on Assets and Social Policy.
The long-term examination of the financial lives of black and white Americans found that African-Americans typically face a subtle but persistent opportunity gap that has served to widen financial disparities remaining from a long history of overt discrimination.
Bogus IRS emails
The Internal Revenue Service is again warning consumers to beware of emails claiming to be from the agency. The IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers by email.
The email is probably coming from someone trying to steal your personal information. If youve received a suspicious email, call the IRS at 800-829-1040 or forward it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
| Staff and news reports