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VOL. 123 | NO. 33 | Monday, February 18, 2008

Daily Digest

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Kroger Co. Buys Bartlett Car Wash

     Kroger Limited Partnership I, a wholly owned subsidiary of Cincinnati-based Kroger Co., has purchased a Bartlett carwash for $1.5 million from LIF Carwash Ventures LLC. The deal closed Tuesday.
     The car wash is at 7627 U.S. 70 (Summer Ave.), northeast of the Summer Avenue and Appling Road intersection. It's next to a 10-year-old, 60,000-square-foot Kroger store at 7615 U.S. 70 in the 10-acre Appling Crossing Subdivision.
     The Shelby County Assessor's 2007 appraisal of the car wash was $227,500. Built in 2002, the 4,000-square-foot facility is on a .91-acre parcel.
     LIF Carwash Ventures bought the car wash in 2005 from JT Investments LLC for $1.2 million. A number listed for LIF Carwash Ventures was not in service. A call to Kroger was not returned by press time.
     This latest transaction follows a string of recent purchases in the area. Last summer, a neighboring shopping center at 7601 and 7605 U.S. 70 sold for $3.4 million to a Nashville-based private investment group working under the name Appling Crossing Shops LLC. The seller was Westco Development #8 LLC.
     The purchase included everything except the Kroger, said a representative of the buyer who declined to be identified. The center includes an inline building and an outparcel, which together total about 22,000 square feet.

Alexander Faces Four More Foreclosures

     Four first-run foreclosure notices appear starting on Page 28 in the foreclosures section of today's Daily News for properties owned by Charles Alexander. Twenty foreclosure notices against Alexander's properties were filed last week.
     The properties in today's first-run notices are 664 N. Manassas St., 1176 Gerard Place, 1259 Wellington St. and 503 Belt Line St. Charles W. and Patricia Alexander are listed as the current owners of the North Manassas Street property.
     All four properties are scheduled for sale March 13 at noon at the southwest Adams Avenue entrance of the Shelby County Courthouse. All of the mortgages were taken out in late 2005.
     The Bank of New York Trust Company N.A. is the owner and holder of the debts for the properties on North Manassas Street and Gerard Place. SunTrust Mortgage Inc. is the owner and holder of the loan for the Wellington Street property and JPMorgan Chase Bank is the owner and holder of the trust deed for the Belt Line Street property.
     All of the properties are subject to a tax lien filed by the Internal Revenue Service in October 2006 for $1,247.10.
     Attempts to reach Alexander at several phone numbers have been unsuccessful.
     For details and the full text of foreclosure notices filed against Alexander last week, visit www.memphisdailynews.com.

Industrial Output Rises By Small Amount

     The nation's industrial output posted a modest increase in January as strength at utilities offset weakness in manufacturing and mining.
     The Federal Reserve reported Friday that industrial production rose by 0.1 percent in January, matching the December increase. The slight January gain was in line with economists' expectations.
     Manufacturing output was flat last month, the poorest showing in three months, as factories are feeling the effects of a significant economic slowdown that has raised worries that the country is slipping into a recession.
     Output fell at auto plants, which have been struggling with weak demand, and also was down at factories making wood products and furniture, sectors that have been hit hard by the prolonged slump in housing.
     By contrast, output was up at factories producing computers, electronic products and aerospace equipment.
     Output was down 1.8 percent in mining, a category that includes coal production and oil exploration. Output at the nation's utilities was up 2.2 percent in January, reflecting the cold weather that hit much of the country.
     The slump in housing and a severe credit crunch have dragged down overall economic growth, which skidded to a barely discernible 0.6 percent annual rate in the final three months of last year.
     A growing number of economists believed that the gross domestic product will turn negative in the current January-March quarter and in the April-June period as well, fulfilling the classic definition of a recession.
     In an effort to ward off a full-blown recession, Congress quickly passed a $168 billion economic stimulus plan that will provide rebate checks to more than 130 million households starting in May.
     In addition, the Federal Reserve aggressively has cut interest rates, and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke signaled in testimony to a congressional committee on Thursday that the central bank was prepared to do more to boost growth.
     The labor market shed 17,000 jobs in January, the first monthly job loss in more than four years, a decline that was led by weakness in construction and manufacturing.
     Construction companies cut 27,000 jobs last month and have lost 284,000 since employment peaked in September 2006 as the five-year boom in housing was coming to an end. Factories eliminated 28,000 positions in January, and have cut 269,000 jobs over the past 12 months.

Rational Voter Myth Topic at Rhodes

     It could be called an encore to January's visit to Rhodes College by Washington-based political pundit Charlie Cook.
     Rhodes College will host Dr. Bryan Caplan of George Mason University Thursday to talk about "The Myth of the Rational Voter: Why Democracies Choose Bad Policies." That is also the title of the 2007 book by the associate professor of economics. It was named best book of 2007 by The Financial Times.
     Caplan's speech starts at 8 p.m. in Hardie Auditorium. It is free and open to the public.
     Cook's speech in advance of the Feb. 5 Super Tuesday presidential primaries, which included Tennessee, focused on the surprising political developments in the Republican and Democratic presidential contests. Cook acknowledged that he, like many other pundits, had too early declared GOP hopeful John McCain without hope in the race. He also outlined ways that either Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama could claim the Democratic nomination.

Rates on 30-Year Mortgages Rise to 5-Week High

     Rates on 30-year mortgages rose to the highest level in five weeks but still remained below the 6 percent level.
     Freddie Mac, the mortgage company, reported Thursday that 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages averaged 5.72 percent last week, up from 5.67 percent the previous week.
     The 30-year mortgage started the year at 6.07 percent but dropped the next week to below 6 percent and has remained below that threshold for six straight weeks, raising hopes that lower rates will help spur a rebound in the battered housing industry.
     Other mortgage rates were mixed with only slight movements in any category last week. Analysts attributed that to mixed news on the economy with some indicators showing signs of strength, such as a report that productivity increased in the fourth quarter, and others indicating continued weakness, such as pending home sales.
     Rates on 15-year mortgages, a popular choice for refinancing, edged up to 5.25 percent, compared to 5.15 percent the previous week.
     Rates on five-year adjustable-rate mortgages dipped to 5.19 percent, compared to 5.21 percent the previous week, while rates on one-year ARMs were unchanged at 5.03 percent.
     The mortgage rates do not include add-on fees known as points. Thirty-year mortgages, 15-year mortgages, five-year adjustable-rate mortgages and one-year ARMs all carried a nationwide average fee of 0.4 point.
     A year ago, 30-year mortgages stood at 6.30 percent while rates on 15-year mortgages were at 6.03 percent. Five-year adjustable-rate mortgages averaged 6.01 percent and one-year ARMs were at 5.52 percent this time a year ago.

TVA Approves 7% Rate Increase

     The Tennessee Valley Authority is raising electric rates for the first time since 2006 to help pay for new generating plants.
     TVA directors agreed Friday to raise rates 7 percent effective April 1. The average residential rate will increase by $5 to $6 per month, according to a Memphis Light, Gas & Water Division statement. The increase would raise about $300 million to increase power production, including the completion of a second reactor at the Watts Bar nuclear plant and buying more gas-fired plants.
     Knoxville-based TVA, the country's largest public utility, provides power to 159 distributors serving about 8.8 million consumers in Tennessee, Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi, Georgia, North Carolina and Virginia.
     The organization representing the utility's distributors supported the increase.

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PROPERTY SALES 119 482 10,051
MORTGAGES 119 497 11,811
BUILDING PERMITS 268 1,056 21,366
BANKRUPTCIES 50 263 6,700

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