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CDO Lawsuit Against Goldman Gets Green Light

The Goldman Sachs Group Inc. has officially lost its bid to dismiss a lawsuit initiated by hedge fund Dodona I LLC over claims that the company misrepresented a $2 billion offering of collateralized debt obligations. U.S. District Judge Victor Marreno rescinded Goldman's move to have the case dismissed, and Dodona will now continue to pursue its legal proceedings against the company in federal court. Goldman is currently facing several lawsuits related to its RMBS offerings. Specifically, Dodona filed its lawsuit over Hudson Mezzanine Funding 2006-I and 2006-2 CDOs.

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Pending-Home Sales Index Slips in February

The Pending-Home Sales Index edged down February to 96.5 from January's 97.0 which had been the highest level since April 2010, the National Association of Realtors reported Monday. The index slipped for just the second time in the last five months but was 9.2 percent ahead of the level in February 2011. It remains far below the April 2005 down 26. The index began in January 2005. Pending-home sales are counted when sales contracts are signed, and are viewed as a leading indicator of existing home sales; re-sales should be stronger over the next few months.

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Single-Family Home Sales Up 6% in Texas: Report

The Lone Star State once again boasted signs of strength in housing in February, with single-family home sales ticking up 6 percent in the fourth quarter last year. The Texas Association of Realtors revealed a blend of varying averages for home sales and values in a quarterly housing report it released this week. Citing several sources, the association found home sales lifting by 12 percent in February, with average prices declining 0.7 percent. It said that sales in Houston and Dallas each rose and fell by 1 percent.

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New-Home Sales Fall in February for Second Straight Month

New-homes sales fell 1.6 percent in February to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 313,000, the second straight monthly decline, the Commerce Department and HUD jointly reported Friday. Sales for January were revised downward from 321,000 to 318,000. The median price of a new home in February jumped to $233,700 from $215,700. The median price in February was the highest since last June when the median price hit $240,200.The median price in February was 6.2 percent higher than figures for the same seen in February last year.

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Mortgage Rates Lift Above 4% for First Time Since October

Mortgage rates climbed above 4 percent this week, marking a departure from persistently low interest rates for the first time in five months as economic distress lifts stateside and Greece clears hurdles. Mortgage giant Freddie Mac found the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaging 4.08 percent, up from 3.92 percent last week but far below last year├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ós 4.81 percent. Freddie saw the 15-year loan averaging 3.30 percent, reflecting a climb from 3.16 percent last week, with rates for 5-year and 1-year adjustable-rate mortgages likewise ticking up.

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CoreLogic’s Directorship Initiative Delays Stockholder Meeting

Prompting the delay of the company's annual meeting, CoreLogic has announced its intention to add new, independent members to its board of directors. The decision represents the continuation of CoreLogic's initiative to bolster its board, which the company previously put on hold in order to conduct a strategic review process. Giving the company's nominating and corporate governance committee sufficient time to consider the potential additions to the board, CoreLogic will postpone its annual stockholders meeting until the summer of 2012.

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Expect Home Prices to Fall Further in 2012: Zillow

Economists redrew their expectations for home prices for 2012, slashing forecasts from 0.2 percent to 0.7 percent. Real estate Web site Zillow.com partnered with Pulsenomics LLC to project prices in a Home Price Expectations Survey it released earlier Wednesday. More than 100 economists and real estate experts said in their survey responses, with the more optimistic saying that prices could lift 1.4 percent next year, down from 1.8 percent. Drawing on a Standard & Poor├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ós/Case-Shiller Index, Zillow projected that home prices would climb by 1.39 percent next year.

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Refinance Activity Wanes as Applications Fall 7.4%: MBA

Renewed hope for Europe and the U.S. economy helped interest rates reach their highest peak since December and drove down mortgage applications by 7.4 percent last week. The Mortgage Bankers Association found in a weekly survey that application volume declined by 7.1 percent on a seasonally unadjusted basis from the week earlier. The refinance share of mortgage activity fell to 73.4 percent of total volume, the lowest figure since July last year. The Refinance Index saw declines by 9.3 percent and 4.31 percent for the four-week moving average, respectively.

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Washington Mutual Finalizes Chapter 11 Proceedings

On the West Coast, Washington Mutual, Inc., has finalized the company's Chapter 11 restructuring process. The financial institution announced the completion of its proceedings under Seventh Amended Joint Plan of Affiliated Debtors Pursuant to Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code, which became effective on March 19. Under the plan, WMI will begin the distribution of an estimated $7 billion in funds to parties-in-interest as related to their allowed claims. WMI will move forward with the distribution of substantially all of the stock.

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Standard and Poor’s Announces SPIVA Award Winners

Standard and Poor's has revealed the inaugural winners of its recently launched SPIVA Awards program. The new initiative is granted by S&P Indices, and the organization plans to extend the awards, which honor excellence in research on the topic of index-related applications, on an annual basis. This year's first place SPIVA Award recipients are Yuliya Plyakha, Grigory Vilkov and Raman Uppal, and the team of researchers was selected for the $50,000 prize based on their comprehensive, comparative evaluation of equal-weighted portfolios and value-and-price weighted portfolios within Standard and Poor's Indices.

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