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Retail Sales Edge Higher than Economic Forecasts

Retail trade sales rose 0.4 percent in December, the Department of Commerce reported Tuesday. The increase was twice the rate economists anticipated, and total retail activity - including restaurants - rose 0.5 percent, up from 0.4 percent growth seen in November. Sales at furniture stores - an indicator of housing activity - rose 1.4 percent after increasing 1 percent in November. The back-to-back gains followed three straight months of declines, and year-over-year sales at furniture stores were up. 5.8 percent.

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S&P Dow Jones Launches Equal Weight REIT Index

S&P Dow Jones Indices, the largest provider of financial market indices in the world, announced the launch of the Dow Jones U.S. Select Equal Weight Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) Index. The new index is designed to measure the performance of publicly traded REITs and REIT-like securities, serving as a proxy for direct real estate investment.

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Potomac Mortgage Group Signs on Top Producer as VP

New

Potomac Mortgage Group, Inc. (PMG), one of the leading direct lenders in the Washington, D.C. area, announced the hiring of Sarah Pichardo as VP. Pichardo started her career in 2003, working quickly to establish herself as a top producer.

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Washington Bank First to Fail in 2013

The FDIC announced that the Washington State Department of Financial Institutions shuttered Westside Community Bank on Friday. The bank's two branches are reopening as branches of Irvine, California's Sunwest Bank.

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Fed Reports $88.9B Paid to Treasury in 2012

The Federal Reserve announced it paid a record $88.9 billion to Treasury in 2012. The earnings are from Fed programs that were introduced to stimulate the economy and involve the purchase of billions in mortgage-backed securities (MBS) each month to keep interest rates down.

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