In today's news: Oil prices climb again, the public blames the oil companies, more homeowners are underwater, borrowing and lending are up, and Ford pickups might drop something important.
Well, that didn’t last long. Only a few days after oil prices plunged 15 percent at the end of last week, they soared again – even though nothing changed. “Investors poured money back into oil Monday, pushing the price up more than $5 and back over $100 a barrel,” USA Today reports. As one industry expert told the paper, “This just shows the power of speculators in this market.”
PUBLIC OPINION: Americans blame oil companies, speculators for prices
A new poll shows “63 percent of Americans say they have cut back on driving due to the high price of gas,” according to CNN. And who do they blame? “Most Americans point to speculators and oil companies for the recent increase in gas prices, and three-quarters say that oil companies profits are too high.”
More homeowners are drowning in their mortgages. “More than 28 percent of U.S. homeowners owed more than their properties were worth in the first quarter,” Bloomberg reports. That number was 27 percent at the end of 2010 and just 22 percent this time last year.
LENDING: Banks lending, consumers borrowing
After more than two years of declining consumer debt, Americans are starting to borrow more money for mortgages, home equity lines, credit cards, and auto loans – and banks are letting them. But it’s not getting out of hand. Yet. “Total household delinquency rates also continued to improve for the fifth quarter in a row, as overdue balances fell 15 percent from a year ago,” CNN reports.
Attention owners of Ford F-150 pickups built between 1997-2001: The steel straps holding the fuel tank can corrode and break. “A fire can start if a dragged fuel tank ruptures from road contact or if the tank falls away completely,” USA Today reports. “Up to 2.73 million F-150 pickups from the 1997-2001 model years could be recalled.”