Digest, Aug. 7: U.S. trade gap in June lowest in 3½ years

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Posted: Wednesday, August 7, 2013 12:00 am

The U.S. trade deficit narrowed sharply in June to its lowest level in more than 3½ years.

Exports rose to an all-time high and imports declined, signs that economic growth could be stronger than previously thought.

The Commerce Department said Tuesday that the trade deficit fell 22.4 percent in June to $34.2billion. That's the lowest since October 2009 and down from May's imbalance of $44.1 billion, which was revised lower.

Exports rose 2.2 percent to $191.2 billion in June.

U.S. companies shipped more aircraft engines, telecommunications equipment, heavy machinery and farm goods. Imports dropped 2.5 percent to $225.4 billion.

Oil imports declined to the lowest level in more than two years.

Job openings reach a five-year high

Job openings in the U.S. rose in June to the highest level in five years even as employers hired the fewest workers so far this year, adding to evidence of an uneven improvement in the labor market.

The number of positions waiting to be filled rose by 29,000 to 3.94million, the most since May 2008, from a revised 3.91 million in May, the Labor Department reported today in Washington.

The pace of hiring decreased by the most in three years to the slowest since December.

National Research down 12.8% in 2nd quarter

Health care information provider National Research Corp. of Lincoln reported net income of $3.4 million, or 8 cents a share, in the second quarter, down 12.8 percent from the same period last year.

Revenue grew 8.3 percent. The company said an increase in its state income tax rate dropped its net income below the 2012 level.

Retailer pulls shirt that slams girls' math skills

The Children's Place has stopped selling a T-shirt that sparked complaints of sexism.

The girls' shirts said “My best subjects” at the top and had checks in boxes next to shopping, music and dancing. The box next to math was blank. Under, it said, “Well, nobody's perfect.”

The Secaucus, N.J.-based retailer tweeted Monday evening that it was pulling the shirt from stores and apologized “to anyone we may have offended.”

Bank of America accused of fraud

Bank of America defrauded investors who bought securities backed by prime mortgages that eventually soured, concealing information that showed the loans were risky, according to a lawsuit filed Tuesday by the U.S. Department of Justice in Charlotte, N.C.

The Charlotte-based bank ignored its own underwriting standards when it originated the so-called “jumbo” loans, mortgages typically used for higher-end homes, federal officials contend.

The bank led investors to believe that the loans were safer investments than subprime mortgages, even though the bank's internal performance reports revealed concerns, federal officials said.

According to the Justice Department, investors in the securities have lost $70million so far.

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