Some Homeowners Back From the Brink

The Mortgage Insurance Companies of America said this week that the number of U.S. homeowners who caught up with their delinquent mortgages in February was actually higher than the number who slipped into default for the first time. That hasn't happened in nearly four years.

The Mortgage Insurance Companies of America said this week that the number of U.S. homeowners who caught up with their delinquent mortgages in February was actually higher than the number who slipped into default for the first time. That hasn’t happened in nearly four years.

In February, 68,675 homeowners with privately insured mortgages experienced default, but 80,758 other homeowners managed to claw their way back from the default precipice. In January, it was more than the other way around: 98,685 new defaults versus 61,195 cures.

The statistics in the report include data from Genworth Mortgage Insurance Corp., Mortgage Guaranty Insurance Corp., PMI Mortgage Insurance Co., Radian Guaranty Inc., Republic Mortgage Insurance Co. and United Guaranty Corp.

Good News from the Monster

Initial jobless claims and the prospect of official numbers on employment from the Commerce Department are all well and good, but they aren’t the Monster Employment Index. The index is a monthly gauge of U.S. online job demand based on sampling corporate career Web sites and job boards, including but not limited to Monster.com.

According to the March Monster index, current online demand is 6 percent higher than it was this time last year, with new growth in real estate and construction but a decline in public administration (though it seems like that should be the other way around). Online job demand rose in all of the 28 major metro markets surveyed, with Orlando showing the strongest gain.

“We’re encouraged by the positive uptick in the index in the past two months,” Jesse Harriott, senior vice president & chief knowledge officer at Monster Worldwide, said in a statement. “The index results may be a signal that companies intend to start hiring again.”

eBay Bests Tiffany in Court

In a decision that can’t sit well with upscale retailers, especially Tiffany and its ilk, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed in Tiffany Inc. v. eBay Inc. (that is, traditional retail v. online retail) that eBay could not be sued for trademark infringement for selling luxury knockoffs, as long as it tries to remove them.

“Private market forces give eBay and those operating similar businesses a strong incentive to minimize the counterfeit goods on its Web site,” wrote Judge Robert Sack, one of the three-judge panel, who voted unanimously on the matter. “An online advertiser such as eBay need not cease its advertisements for a kind of goods only because it knows that not all of those goods are authentic. A disclaimer might suffice.”

Wall Street had a positive day on Thursday, ahead of the Good Friday holiday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 70.44 points, or 0.65 percent. The S&P 500 was up 0.74 percent, and the Nasdaq eked out a 0.19 percent rise.