January 2014

Mortgage Rates Tick Down On Weak Data

Mortgage rates continued to edge lower this week, according to figures released today by Freddie Mac. The agency said average 30-year fixed mortgage rates fell to 4.32 percent, from 4.39 percent a week ago. Meanwhile, 15-year fixed rates eased to 3.40 percent from 3.45 percent last week.

Where Does It End For Target – First Secret Service, Then FBI, Now DOJ

As more and more details are released to the public, the Target data breach saga continues to intensify. The investigation reached new heights this week as US Attorney General Eric Holder confirmed his office is attempting to find and apprehend the cyber criminals responsible for the data breach, as well as any persons who may be using this stolen information for personal gain.  


Will Softening Home Prices Make You Want To Invest In A Home?

The rising tide in home prices may at last be slowing down, according to the S&P Case-Shiller index.  Economists believe the index data indicates demand for housing is tightening, and should serve as a reminder for sellers that listing prices must stabilize in 2014.

Lyft Drivers Make Money But May Be Working Without Car Insurance

Smartphone apps and ongoing mobile technological advancements are changing how we use services.  Companies like Lyft, one of the “transportation network companies” (TNCs) across the US, created their own app for customers to request taxis, and for drivers to transform their cars into private taxi services with the tagline “your friend with a car.”

Could Chip Credit Cards Be Active Sooner Due To Target Cyber Attack

North American credit card holders are still reeling from the massive data breach that compromised Target retail locations over the holidays.  The investigation into the breach continues, with other retailers also hinting their points of sale terminals were similarly hacked.


Michael’s Latest Retailer Hit With Data Breach

Michael’s, the largest crafts and decor retailer in the U.S., announced late Sunday that its customers’ credit cards may have been compromised in a data breach. The Texas-based company says it is working closely with federal law enforcement agencies to determine the source and scope of the hack.

Michael’s recently became aware of a potential data breach when customers began reporting a spate of fraudulent activity on their credit card accounts.  


Mortgage Rates Drift Lower

Mortgage rates drifted lower this week, according to figures released Friday by Freddie Mac. The government-sponsored mortgage entity said 30-year fixed mortgage rates fell to 4.39 percent, from 4.41 percent a week ago. Meanwhile, 15-year fixed mortgage rates averaged 3.45 percent, down from last week’s 3.56 percent.

Falling bond yields were largely responsible for the declines. Tepid inflation readings and the dismal December jobs report have sent yields tumbling since the start of the year.

Neiman Marcus Says More Than One Million Customers Affected by Data Breach

Chilling new information on the Neiman Marcus data breach was released late last night. In a letter to Senator Richard Blumenthal, the upscale retailer gave a wide-ranging account of the hack, which it described as highly sophisticated and difficult to trace. Malware used in the cyber-attacks appears to be almost identical to that found at Target, where more than 110 million customers had their credit card information stolen.


What Slowdown? Home Sales Up in December

U.S. home sales ticked up in December, according to a report released on Thursday by the National Association of Realtors(NAR). Sales of previously-owned homes rose to 4.87 million units, a 1 percent rise from the previous month and the first increase since August.

“We have an economy that is firing on almost all cylinders and we expect to see a noticeable pick-up in growth in 2014,” said Gus Faucher, a senior analyst at PNC Financial Services.

Two Mexicans Linked to Target Data Breach Arrested at Border

Two Mexican nationals with ties to the Target data breach were apprehended at the border yesterday, according to Texas police. The arrest comes just days after an investigation linked the hack to a server based in Russia.

Mary Carmen Garcia, 27, and Daniel Guardiola Dominguez, 28, were nabbed by federal and local law enforcement agents when they crossed into the U.S. at a border-stop near McAllen, Texas. The duo had 96 counterfeit credit cards bearing stolen numbers from the Target data breach.