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VOL. 124 | NO. 113 | Thursday, June 11, 2009

Daily Digest

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FaxonGillis Files $3M Loan for 29 Homes

FaxonGillis Homes Inc. has filed a $3 million construction loan through SunTrust Bank as a refinance of 29 homes in two neighborhoods, Southern Heights Subdivision in Westwood and Riverwood Farms Planned Development in Cordova. The loan was dated June 5.

The company filed the original loan in 2005 to bring eight homes to phase four and 16 homes to phase six of Southern Heights, and five homes to phase three of Riverwood Farms.

FaxonGillis owner Jerry Gillis said the company had been “steadily building” in those subdivisions – “steadily” based on the current market, he clarified.

“They were just a re-recording of some loans that were already in place,” Gillis said.

He said the company starts a house every time it sells a house, and FaxonGillis has started about eight to 10 homes in the past month. As for the market turning, Gillis was hesitant to heap too much praise on the building climate.

“If you compare the first six months of this year to the last six months of last year, we’re seeing a turnaround,” Gillis said. “But it’s not anything huge. It just went from ‘absolute couldn’t get any worse’ to ‘a little bit better.’”

Source: The Daily News Online & Chandler Reports

Harbert Ave. Triplex On Tap for LUCB

Among the development proposals scheduled for today’s Memphis-Shelby County Land Use Control Board meeting is a planned development application for the north side of Harbert Avenue, east of South Bellevue Boulevard.

The application is to renovate a less than half-acre property for use as a triplex and to obtain separate utility meters for the tenants.

A separate proposal in Cordova is Simon Properties Inc. who wants to amend the conditions of the Interstate 40/Germantown Parkway Planned Development to allow outdoor retail sales.

The LUCB meeting will begin at 10 a.m. in the City Council chambers at City Hall, 125 N. Main St.

April Trade Deficit Edges up to $29.2B

The U.S. trade deficit edged up in April as crude oil prices hit the highest level since December.

But the imbalance so far in 2009 remained well below last year’s pace, and economists expect that to continue as the global recession dampens demand for automobiles, heavy machinery and other goods.

The U.S. Commerce Department reported Wednesday that the deficit rose for a second straight month in April, climbing 2.2 percent to $29.2 billion. That was slightly higher than economists’ expectations.

The overall deficit is running at an annual rate of $361.1 billion, about half of the $695.9 billion total for all of 2008.

The drop in imports has been greater than the fall in exports, which also are down significantly as the global recession cuts demand for U.S. products in key markets.

Because of that weakness, economists do not believe that exports, which had been one of the few bright spots for the U.S. economy, will be able to lead the recovery.

“When growth slows, that means demand for everything comes down, and that is true not just in the U.S. but everywhere else,” said Joel Naroff, chief economist at Naroff Economic Advisors.

For April, exports of goods and services fell $2 billion, or 2.3 percent, to $121.1 billion, the smallest monthly total since July 2006. The drop included big declines in sales of industrial engines, machinery, and motor vehicles and parts. Sales of commercial aircraft rose.

Imports dipped $2.2 billion, or 1.4 percent, to $150.3 billion, the lowest total since September 2004. Shipments of foreign-made cars, oil drilling equipment, computers and machine tools all fell.

But imports of petroleum bucked the downward trend, rising 2.1 percent to $18 billion. The average price for a barrel of imported crude oil jumped to $46.60 in April, from $41.36 in March. It was the highest level since December and is expected to rise in coming months given recent increases in crude oil prices.

The $29.2 billion deficit in April followed a revised $28.5 billion March deficit, which had been originally reported as a $27.6 billion imbalance. Part of the revision reflected an annual benchmarking of the trade figures to incorporate more accurate data.

U of M Education Dean Forms Advisory Council

Don Wagner, dean of the College of Education at the University of Memphis, has formed an advisory council made up of community leaders.

The advisory council will offer guidance and serve as ambassadors for the college.

The 2009-2010 council members are Dr. Barbara Prescott of Allie Prescott & Partners; Cato Johnson of Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare; John Avis of Collegiate School of Memphis; Dr. Steven J. Bares of Memphis Bioworks Foundation; Dorothy Grant Johnson of Shelby County Books from Birth; Dot Neale of IBM Corp.; Nathan A. Pera III of ETC of the Americas Inc.; Otis Sanford of The Commercial Appeal; Dr. Deborah Schadt of Licensed Professional Council; Linda Sklar of Memphis City Schools; Dr. Joan Thomas of the University of Memphis Loewenberg School of Nursing; and Nancy Bogatin, a community volunteer and the wife of the late Memphis attorney Irv Bogatin.

UTHSC Distributes Free Health Booklets

The University of Tennessee Health Science Center has designed customized booklets that can be used as a family health history tool.

The “Does it Run in the Family?” two-booklet set explains the importance of acquiring a family health history and details how people can collect the information. The booklets will be distributed Saturday from 10 a.m. to noon at Curves Fitness Center at 2847 Poplar Ave.

The free distribution is sponsored by Genetic Alliance of Washington and members of Curves Fitness Centers for Women.

Nashville Drops Bid To Keep Guns Out of Bars

A group of Nashville council members plans to withdraw a proposal to use the local beer ordinance to keep handguns out of establishments that serve it.

Metro Law Director Sue Cain told The Tennessean the new state law that will allow handguns to be carried in bars and restaurants that serve alcohol trumps local ordinances. The law takes effect July 14 and says permit holders cannot drink while carrying a weapon.

Council members had hoped to revise the city’s beer permit ordinance by adding a restriction prohibiting businesses that hold beer permits from allowing guns inside.

Council member Charlie Tygard said he’ll withdraw the bill at the council’s Tuesday meeting.

Citigroup Launches Public Exchange Offers

Citigroup Inc. on Wednesday launched a series of public exchange offers that will effectively give the government a 34 percent stake in the troubled bank.

Citigroup expects to convert into common stock a total of $58 billion of preferred stock and trust preferred securities, assuming full participation in the swaps.

Citigroup said in late February that it wanted to offer investors the option of exchanging preferred stock into common stock as a way to boost its capital reserves. As such, the government agreed to convert about $25 billion of its $45 billion preferred investment in the bank to common stock, which will give it a 34 percent stake in the New York bank.

The deal boosts Citi’s common equity – a benchmark the government is using to measure a bank’s ability to absorb losses.

Citigroup has been one of the most troubled banks throughout the financial crisis. Investors have long criticized its board and management for allowing the bank to make big investments in the risky housing market – actions that led to Citigroup reporting billions in losses.

Last month, the government determined that it would need to raise an additional $5.5 billion as a buffer against future losses. Citigroup said it would convert an extra $5.5 billion of preferred shares into common stock to meet this capital shortfall.

The government’s $45 billion investment in the bank was made through its Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP, that was launched last fall at the height of the financial crisis.

The public exchange offers will expire on July 24.

RECORD TOTALS DAY WEEK YEAR
PROPERTY SALES 73 147 18,012
MORTGAGES 89 184 20,749
FORECLOSURE NOTICES 0 8 2,701
BUILDING PERMITS 117 258 37,094
BANKRUPTCIES 55 114 11,540
BUSINESS LICENSES 42 59 5,907
UTILITY CONNECTIONS 21 48 6,878
MARRIAGE LICENSES 27 68 4,117