New-home construction up
Construction on new U.S. homes nudged up in February with modest gains for single-family residences and apartments, as longer-term trends signaled a housing market that continued to strengthen, according to data released Tuesday.
The U.S. Department of Commerce’s report also showed substantial gains in building permits, which indicate future demand.
Construction on new U.S. homes rose 0.8 percent in February to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 917,000. Economists polled by MarketWatch had expected construction starts in February to rise to a rate of 913,000 from an original January estimate of 890,000. On Tuesday the government revised January’s rate upward, to 910,000.
Starts for single-family homes rose 0.5 percent in February to a rate of 618,000, the highest level since June 2008.
Citigroup to pay $730 million
Citigroup has agreed to pay $730 million to settle a class-action lawsuit that claimed investors were misled by the bank’s disclosures when they purchased its debt and preferred stock.
The investors’ purchases were made from May 11, 2006 through Nov. 28, 2008.
Citigroup Inc. denied the allegations and said in a statement late Monday that it agreed to the settlement so it could get rid of further expenses and uncertainties that come along with drawn out litigation.
Citigroup said that the proposed $730 million payment will be made from its existing litigation reserves.
Lego building Chinese factory
Lego is building its first factory in China as part of a plan to move production closer to Asia, its fastest-growing market.
The Danish maker of colorful plastic building blocks for children said it’s investing at least 100 million euros ($130 million) in the new plant. Construction will start in 2014 and it will be fully operational by 2017.
The factory will be located in Jiaxing, 67 miles southwest of Shanghai, where Lego is planning an Asian distribution center.
Lego said the new factory will be “a supply base for future growth in Asia.” The company said that in recent years sales in the region have grown by more than 50 percent annually.
Lego predicted the factory, which will have moulding, decoration and packaging facilities, will be able to supply 70 to 80 percent of the toys it sells in Asia in 2017.
The plant will employ 2,000 workers by the time it’s fully operational.