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Fed concerned about early trades on talks

WASHINGTON — The Federal Reserve is concerned about suspiciously heavy trading of gold futures after its meeting last week that might have been triggered by a premature release of market-sensitive information.

The central bank said Tuesday that news organizations that receive embargoed information from the Fed agree to withhold information until the time set for its release. The Fed statement said, “We will be conducting follow-up conversations with news organizations to ensure our procedures are completely understood.”

After the meeting, the Fed said it would hold off on slowing its $85-billion-a-month in bond purchases. That surprised markets and led to a day of record highs on Wall Street.

Trading is dominated by automated computer systems, which make trades in tiny fractions of a second that can lead to millions of dollars in profit. Receiving the data early – even by a few milliseconds – can give an unfair advantage to some firms.

Home price increase greatest in 7 years

WASHINGTON — U.S. home prices rose 12.4 percent in July from a year ago, the most since February 2006. An increase in sales on a limited supply of available homes drove the gains.

The Standard &Poor’s/Case-Shiller 20-city home price index reported Tuesday improved from June, when it rose 12.1 percent from a year ago. All 20 cities posted gains from June and from last July.

Still, the month-over-month price gains shrank in 15 cities in July from the previous month, indicating prices might be peaking. The month-over-month gains in the 20-city price index have slowed for three months in a row.

Stan Humphries, the chief economist for real estate data provider Zillow, said home prices should continue to rise but at a slower pace. Mortgage rates have increased more than a full percentage point since May, and more homes are being built. That should ease supply constraints that have inflated prices in some markets.

– Associated Press

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