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Infernos could worsen Bay Area's already brutal housing market


SAN JOSE, Calif. -- The deadly wildfires that roared through Sonoma and Napa counties last week, destroying thousands of homes, might also scorch the Bay Area's already brutal housing market for months or years to come, experts warned Friday. An ...

Kushner plan for Fifth Avenue tower in NYC being blocked by partner


NEW YORK -- An ambitious plan by Jared Kushner's family to recast its indebted Fifth Avenue office building as a luxury architectural trophy is collapsing, setting off a chain of events that may imperil the Kushners' ownership of a property ...

Joseph N. DiStefano: Is China big enough for US investors yet?


I was skimming headlines at when an ad for HSBC Corp. filled the screen like a news-killing fog. It urged us to buy China stocks -- now! -- before the Morgan Stanley stock indexes follow the rival Financial Times indexes in adding ...

Lee Schafer: Trading case tied to former Life Time Fitness exec hits investing neophytes


It's easy to imagine that illegal insider trading is mostly a game played by slick bad guys or aggressive traders who sometimes cross the line. The story that federal prosecutors tell in the recent indictment of former Life Time Fitness Vice ...

Susan Tompor: Payday loans rule could lead to cheaper alternatives


Consumers who are caught in a financial squeeze might one day be able to skip the payday loan store and turn to banks and credit unions for lower-cost, quick-fix loans. That's one possibility being raised by consumer advocates who want to see an ...

Holiday retail forecast: More sales, more hiring, more online


Despite department store woes, national retailers have started to seek seasonal help -- and at levels close to those seen last year, according to some estimates. Many of the seasonal jobs are focused on stocking additional inventory, customer ...

Hot Property: A new host for Johnny Carson's ex-home?


LOS ANGELES -- Fashion tycoon and film producer Sidney Kimmel and his wife, Caroline, have listed the former Johnny Carson estate in Malibu for sale at $81.5 million. The longtime "Tonight Show" host, who died in 2005 at 79, bought the Point Dume...

On Philanthropy: Thinking of giving to an international charity? New IRS regulations clarify requirements


Around the globe, many remarkable organizations work to help people at the very bottom of the economic, judicial and environmental pyramids. Each year, U.S. donors contribute billions of dollars to advance causes in other parts of the world -- ...

Her house was inspired by 'Bonanza'. Now she's seeking a buyer who loves westerns


HANFORD, Calif. -- Karen Lopez wanted to own a horse and live in a house reminiscent of America's classic Western television series "Bonanza." Forty years ago, Lopez and her husband, John, (who died in 2010) bought a 2-acre property at 1586 ...

Real estate Q&A: Homebuyer's handshake deal worthless without signed contract


Q: Several weeks ago, we found our dream home and had a handshake deal with the seller, agreeing on price and closing date. Now time has passed, and the seller still has not signed the written contract with the terms we shook on. We really want ...