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Home prices to dip by 1% this year
The National Association of Realtors forecast a sharper decline in U.S. home prices this year. The median price for existing homes is anticipated to fall by 1% to $219,800 in 2007. However it is analyzed that by 2008 the rate would escalate to 1.4%. The rising defaults by sub prime borrowers, with poor credit ratings, have encouraged lenders to restrict the number of consumers who seek a home loan.



The present home sales are likely to amount to 6.29 million this current year and 6.49million in 2008, compared with 6.48 million last year. New home sales are estimated at 864,000 in 2007 and 936,000 next year, lower than the 1.05 million in 2006.

The National Association of Realtors is nation's largest trade association, representing more than 1.3 million members from all areas of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

Mc Donald's sales in April sizzle
Fast food giant Mc Donald's sales climbed to 4.8% worldwide in April, owing success to its breakfast menu, Happy Meals and new Snack Wrap sandwich. The menu items contributed to a 3.5% rise in same-store sales and rose to 3.5% in Europe and 10.3% in the Asia/Pacific, Middle East, and Africa region.

The company added that a strong performance in Japan and China as well as extended hours, breakfast and local menu offerings pushed the big overseas sales increase.

The introduction of iced-coffee beverages is also expected to help McDonald's stand strong throughout the summer months.

CVS/Caremark Earnings up 24% on Pharmacy Sales
Leading drugstore chain, CVS/Caremark Corp., recorded first-quarter profit of 24% on greater volume sales of generic drugs. The net income has jumped from what was $329.6 million or 39 cents last year to $408.9 million, or 43 cents a share. In April, start of the second quarter, sales rose to 6.1% including a 7% increase in pharmacy sales and a 3.9% advance in non-pharmaceutical products.

CVS gained from demand for drugs such as cholesterol medicine Zocor. Drugs such as these resulted in more profit for the chain because they are priced lower than the regular brand-name drugs in the market. The company operates 6,208 retail and pharmacy stores and 52 specialty pharmacies in around 44 states including the District of Columbia.

American eagle sales down
The decline in April sales for American Eagle Outfitters Inc. was a result of Easter celebrations being witnessed in March. The company posted quarterly net profit above expected figures, but its shares are down by more than 4% as the February same-store sales did not manage to impress investors. According to sources, Eagle registered 6 % sales growth at stores in February, which was below a Wall Street consensus estimate of a growth of 8.4%. The PA based store runs 834 stores and the clothing retailer is a popular brand among young shoppers for casual style outfits. Eagle expects to earn up to 33 cents a share in the first quarter of fiscal 2007.

Wal-Mart sales drop
Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the world's largest retailer record a 3.5% drop in sales at US stores open for at least a year in April. This has been the sharpest decline since the retail began reporting same-store sales results in 1979. Retailers across the nation reported alarmingly below par sales figure, affected by cold weather and a change in the time of Easter celebrations that pulled sales largely in March. Looking at the entire country, same-store sales fell 3.5%, while for April Wal-Mart had estimated its U.S. same-store sales to be down to 2%. After not cashing in on discounts roped in last year, the retailer is targeting to implement low prices.
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