Maine’s home sales rising, real estate agents say

Maine real estate agents say home sales continue to increase.

Sales of single-family homes rose more than 24 percent from May 2009 to last month, when 1,090 homes were sold in the state.

The Maine Association of Realtors’ multiple listing service shows that the median sale price rose 6.2 percent, to $169,900, from May 2009 to May of this year. The median means half of the houses sold for more and half sold for less money.

Maine’s trends are in line with national rises in sales and prices of existing single-family homes.

Cyber fraud prevention to be discussed Monday

Cyber Fraud Prevention Techniques for Portland area businesses will be held from 8 a.m. to noon Monday at Abromson Community Education Center, University of Southern Maine, 88 Bedford St., Portland.

The free seminar is offered by TD Bank and features several experts who will explain how to recognize fraud attempts and defend business information and finances. Topics will include the latest trends and techniques used by criminals, the rise of electronic crime, business cyber safety and tools to protect business finances.

Attendees must register in advance. Contact Rose Coulombe at [email protected] or call 761-8675.

Stocks close lower after report on new-home sales

The stock market closed with a slight loss Wednesday after sales of new homes hit a record low and the Federal Reserve indicated that problems in Europe pose a threat to the U.S. economy.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose about 5 points to 10,298.44, but broader indexes fell and losing stocks outnumbered advancers on the New York Stock Exchange. Treasury prices rose, pushing down interest rates. The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note fell to its lowest level in more than a year.

More CEOs say their firms plan to increase hiring

The number of CEOs planning to ramp up hiring is at the highest level since mid-2007, according to a survey that suggests big U.S. companies are growing more confident about the economic recovery.

The Business Roundtable, an association of CEOs of big U.S. companies, said Wednesday its survey shows 39 percent of chief executives expect to boost their payrolls in the second half of 2010. Only 17 percent say jobs will drop, while 43 percent expect no change in their current work force.

The proportion of those planning to hire is at the highest level since the second quarter of 2007, when it was at 42 percent.

Price of oil takes a dip as supplies of crude go up

Oil prices dropped Wednesday after the government reported that crude supplies unexpectedly grew last week and remain well above typical levels.

Benchmark crude for August delivery fell $1.50 to settle at $76.35 on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Retail gasoline prices climbed as well, rising 0.9 cent to a national average of $2.741 per gallon, according to AAA, Wright Express and Oil Price Information Service.

Cisco Systems sees Russia as a high-tech investment

Cisco Systems Inc. said Wednesday it will invest $1 billion to help foster high-tech innovation in Russia.

Cisco CEO John Chambers made the commitment at a meeting at the company’s San Jose headquarters with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, who was visiting the computer networking equipment manufacturer as part of a tour of Silicon Valley.