Books-A-Million gets OK to take over Maine Borders

A handful of Borders bookstores, including the two in Bangor and Portland, are getting a new lease on life. A judge has cleared Books-A-Million Inc. to take over 14 Borders Group Inc. stores that were slated for closure.

Borders Group filed for bankruptcy protection in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in the Southern District of New York in February, brought down by tough competition and an inability to adapt to the increasing appetite for e-books.

Books-A-Million will take over the leases Sept. 20, under an agreement a judge approved Tuesday.

Borders received court approval to liquidate its 399 stores in July.


Home prices notch third straight monthly increase

Spring buying pushed home prices up for a third straight month in most major U.S. cities in June. But the housing market remains shaky, and further price declines are expected this year.

The Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller home-price index showed Tuesday that prices increased in June from May in 19 of the 20 cities tracked. Prices rose 3.6 percent in the April-June quarter from the previous quarter. Neither number is adjusted for seasonal factors.

In the past 12 months, home prices have declined in all 20 cities.


Boeing backs 737 upgrade to compete with Airbus

Boeing said it will move ahead with a new engine for its 737, matching a competing Airbus plane and giving its best-selling jet the fuel efficiency airlines crave.

Airlines have been struggling with sharply higher fuel costs, so every improvement in fuel efficiency helps their bottom lines.

Boeing makes more 737s than any other plane, with more than 2,100 on order. It competes head-to-head with the Airbus A320, which will have a more fuel-efficient engine starting in 2015. Boeing said its 737 with the new engine would be available in 2017.

Boeing said five airlines have committed to buying 496 of the planes. Airbus has booked more than 1,000 orders for the new-engine version of the A320.


Business, consumer cheer slips in European Union

Business and consumer optimism in the 17 countries that use the euro fell in August, reinforcing fears that the eurozone economy will slow in the months ahead.

The European Union’s economic sentiment index issued Tuesday fell 4.7 points to 98.3, below its long-term average of 100.

The reasons for the drop included gloomier views of the future among retailers, and among consumers afraid of losing their jobs.

Economists and government officials say financial market ups and downs caused by fears of government debt defaults are starting to weigh on the economy.


Bank of America faces suit over problem mortgages

The latest lawsuit against Bank of America comes from U.S. Bancorp, which wants Bank of America Corp. to repurchase poorly written mortgages sold by Countrywide Financial in 2005.

Bank of America bought Countrywide Financial Corp. in 2008.

The suit, which was filed Monday in New York, claims Countrywide sold U.S. Bancorp a pool of more than 4,000 loans originally valued at $1.75 billion. U.S. Bancorp claims Countrywide ignored its own mortgage underwriting guidelines when issuing those loans.

According to the complaint, Countrywide agreed to repurchase loans within 90 days if any of the statements made in the loan contract wound up being untrue. Those statements included an assertion that the loans complied with underwriting guidelines.

U.S. Bancorp said Countrywide’s loans began to “become delinquent and default at a startling rate,” soon after it sold the loans. U.S. Bancorp has asked the court to ask Countrywide to repurchase either just the defective loans or all of the loans in the pool.