June existing home sales rise 3.6 percent, values falling
The National Association of Realtors (NAR) on Thursday announced that sales of existing homes in the U.S. rose for the third consecutive month in June, suggesting that the troubled housing market may be hitting bottom, private data showed Thursday. The value of existing single-family home and condominium sales continue to fall according to the Florida Association of realtors (FAR). According to FAR the median price, however, skidded 59 percent, from $132,900 in June 2008 to $54,500 in June 2009.

Dow breaks 9,000
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose above 9,000 for the first time since January on Thursday as earnings from major U.S. companies exhibited better than expected results and home sales continued on their upward trend.

Ford reports 2Q profit
Ford Motor Co., thanks to its debt reduction, posted a second quarter profit of $2.3 billion or 69 cents a share on Thursday. Just a year earlier the company reported the worst loss in the history of the company. Shares rose 9 percent in afternoon trading. Ford's second-quarter revenue declined 40 percent, to $27.2 billion from $41.1 billion a year earlier.

Microsoft Misses Revenue Estimates
Microsoft released fourth-quarter earnings on Thursday which missed Wall Street estimates and reported its first decline in full-year revenue in the company's 34-year history. For the quarter ended June 30, the software giant reported earnings of $3.05 billion, or 34 cents a share, down from $4.3 billion, or 46 cents a share, a year earlier. Profit excluding items was 38 cents per share for the quarter, better than analyst forecasts of 36 cents per share, according to Reuters Estimates. Revenue was down 17 percent, to $13.1 billion from $15.83 billion. Analysts had expected Microsoft to post revenue of $14.48 billion, according to Reuters.

First Solar , EDF to build largest solar panels plant in France
Solar maker First Solar Inc. and EDF Energies Nouvelles announced they will build the largest solar panel manufacturing plant in France, representing an expected investment of $128 million.

Valero seeking ownership of New Zealand Refining
Valero Energy Corp. is taking into consideration acquiring full ownership or a stake of New Zealand Refining Co. to reduce its reliance on the U.S. market , Bloomberg reported. The firm is the largest refiner in the U.S.

AT&T profit higher than estimated
AT&T Inc posted a smaller-than-expected drop in quarterly profit as strong sales of Apple Inc's iPhone helped boost wireless subscriber growth. Some analysts are concerned that the company's dependence on the iPhone for much of its growth raised concerns about what would happen if it lost its exclusive rights to sell the phone in the U.S. Read Full Article here.

South Korea fines Qualcomm $208 million in anti-trust case
South Korea's anti-trust agency issued a $208 million fine on Qualcomm Inc and ordered the U.S. wireless chip and technology company to stop discriminating against companies using competitor's products. Read Full Article here.

Natural gas stockpiles increase
U.S. stockpiles of natural gas rose 66 billion cubic feet to 2.952 trillion cubic feet on the week ended July 17, the Department of Energy reported today. Natural gas futures dropped more than 6 percent after the report, the biggest decline in seven weeks.

Fifth Third banks posts 2Q profit
Fifth Third Bancorp reported a second quarter profit on Thursday following the sale of a majority stake in its credit card processing unit attracting a gain of $1.1 billion. Net income available to shareholders of the Cincinnati-based lender was $856 million, or $1.15 per share, versus a loss of $2.18 billion, or $3.78, a year earlier. The sale helped the bank overcome its mounting losses from its problem loans in Florida.

Ericsson in bid for Nortel wireless assets
Swedish telecom equipment maker Ericsson is bidding for Nortel's mobile network division. Read Full Article here.