Must-Read Money Stories for Friday, March 24

by March 24, 2017
Renters now dominate the housing market in more than half, or 52 percent, of the largest 100 U.S. cities, Bloomberg reported.

Renters now dominate the housing market in more than half, or 52 percent, of the largest 100 U.S. cities, Bloomberg reported. (“Apartment” photo via Pexels).

Trump’s inscrutable taxes

The New York Times delved into into leaked pages from President Trump’s 2005 and 1995 state tax returns. While incomplete, the leaked pages from 2005 revealed Trump and his wife Melania paid $38.4 million in federal tax, or about 25 percent of reported income of nearly $153 million. But those same returns also showed the Trumps reported negative $103 million in “other income”—likely the result of a $916 million loss first reported on 1995 tax returns. That amount could be carried over and used to offset income in future years. Without the full tax returns, experts told The New York Times it’s hard to know whether the new administration’s push to overhaul the tax code would address certain loopholes such as the ones the Trumps enjoyed.

Landlords rule

Despite a robust economy and a strengthening housing market, renters dominate the housing market in more than half, or 52 percent, of the 100 largest U.S. cities, according to Census Bureau data compiled for Bloomberg by real estate brokerage Redfin. Bloomberg reported 21 of those cities have shifted to landlord towns since 2009. Housing market dynamics also play a role: There are fewer houses on the market, making it harder for renters to purchase affordable homes. In the meantime, rental landlords, including large Wall Street players and mom-and-pop shops, continue to snatch up affordable homes in all-cash sales of single-family homes. Those trends could challenge cities that have historically been dominated by homeowners.

House delays health care vote

Wall Street slumped after the U.S. House of Representatives decided to delay a vote on a health care bill meant to replace the Affordable Care Act. The vote had been scheduled on Thursday, but not enough Republicans had pledged to support the bill for it to pass. Reuters reported the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index has surged 10 percent since the election, primarily buoyed by optimism that Trump’s administration will pass pro-business legislation. Concern that Trump won’t be able to garner enough support to pass the healthcare bill led investors to sell stocks, leading to the S&P 500 Index’s worst day since Trump was elected.

Latest Theranos twist

In an attempt to prevent investors from suing the lambasted blood-testing company, Theranos is offering additional shares to those who promise not to bring legal action. The Wall Street Journal, which first broke the Theranos story, reports the extra shares come from founder Elizabeth Holme’s personal stake. Meanwhile, the former Silicon Valley unicorn is said to have paid investor Rupert Murdoch, who sunk $125 million into the start-up, a nominal fee for his shares: perhaps as little as $1.

A long goodbye for Disney’s Iger

Walt Disney Company’s Chairman and CEO Bob Iger agreed to stay another year as the iconic company continues to search for a new leader, Disney said in a statement on Thursday. It’s the third extension for the 66-year-old Iger, who had initially said he would retire in April 2015. He will now stay through July 2, 2019, Yahoo Finance reported. Disney shares closed 0.1 percent higher at $112.24 on the New York Stock Exchange. Iger said the extension will allow the board and him to focus on the transition to a new chief executive. He will remain a consultant to Disney for three years after he retires.

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