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Business

Austin Housing Market

Austin-area home prices, sales set records in April
Ricardo B. Brazziell

Home prices, sales set records in April

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Central Texas home prices hit an all-time high last month, while sales set a record for the month of April, the Austin Board of Realtors said Thursday.

Local real estate agents say the market remains fast-paced, with housing demand continuing to outpace supply. April marked the eighth straight month of annual home sale increases, board officials said, noting that housing affordability continues to be a challenge.

The median price jumped 14.4 percent last month compared with the prior April, with half of the homes selling for more than $274,000 and half selling for less, the board said.

Google Fiber

Google Fiber launches effort to address digital divide

Google Fiber launched a national fellowship program on Thursday to deploy more than a dozen workers to address digital divide issues in its eight U.S. markets, including Austin.

In Austin, as in each Google Fiber city, two fellows will be chosen to work with area nonprofits to reach residents and provide computer literacy help for one year.

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U.S. Economy

Gauge of US economy jumps 0.7 percent in April
John Locher / Associated Press

Gauge of U.S. economy jumps 0.7% in April

An index designed to predict the future health of the economy rose in April by the largest amount in nine months, a sign that the economy is beginning to accelerate from a sharp slowdown during the winter.

The Conference Board said Thursday that its index of leading indicators rose 0.7 percent last month, the biggest advance since a 1 percent rise last July.

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Austin Tech

RetailMeNot rejects claims involving online Mary Kay coupons

Austin-based RetailMeNot has rejected claims made in a lawsuit by cosmetic firm Mary Kay Inc. regarding RetailMeNot’s use of online Mary Kay coupons.

In the lawsuit filed March 13 in a U.S. District Court in Dallas, Mary Kay alleges that RetailMeNot is offering online discounts for Mary Kay products without its consent.

RetailMeNot operates the world’s leading online marketplace for coupon and consumer deals.

Fast Food

McDonald's CEO faces shareholders amid protests, sales woes

McDonald's CEO 'proud' of pay hike; protesters want more

McDonald's CEO Steve Easterbrook said Thursday he was "incredibly proud" of a decision to bump pay for some workers, even after protesters called on the company to do more outside its annual shareholder meeting.

Easterbrook, who stepped into his role in March, is fighting to revive sluggish sales and convince people that McDonald's is a "modern, progressive burger company.

Business Briefs

Business Digest: U.S. stocks notch record

MARKETS

U.S. stocks notch record

The stock market eked out another record close on Thursday as rising oil prices boosted energy stocks.

The Standard & Poor’s closed up 4.97 points, or 0.2 percent, at 2,130.82. The Dow Jones industrial average edged up 0.34 point to 18,285.74. The Nasdaq composite rose 19.05 points, or 0.


California Drought

California water cuts move to those with century-old rights

California farmers who hold rights to water that date back as far as the Gold Rush are bracing for their first state-ordered conservation in decades, as a record drought prompts some of the deepest cuts yet in the country's most productive agricultural state.

After telling cities and towns to slash water use by 25 percent and cutting deliveries to some farmers and others, state officials said Wednesday that they would start mandatory cuts this week to the state's oldest rights holders, who are historically spared from water restrictions.

World Economy

Global watchdog warns on economic cost of rising inequality

Rising inequality holding back economic growth, report warns

The widening gap between haves and have-nots in much of the developed world not only raises concerns about the fraying social fabric — it's also dramatically holding back economic growth, according to a new global study.

Far from a rising tide lifting all ships, income inequality increases in good economic times as well as bad, Thursday's report from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development says.

Space Industry

Failed launches cast shadow over Russian space program

Failed launches cast shadow over Russian space program

Back-to-back rocket launch failures have dealt Russia one of the heaviest blows to its space industry since the Soviet collapse — with national pride and billions of dollars at stake.

The setbacks threaten to erode Russia's leading position in the multibillion global launch market, in which it commands an estimated 40 percent share, and dent President Vladimir Putin's efforts to boost the country's global prestige.


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