Home prices in big cities rose in June

WASHINGTON -- Home prices rose in June for a third straight month as now-expired tax credits inspired a burst of home- buying. But prices are expected to fall through the rest of the year now that demand has faded.

The Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller 20-city home price index released Tuesday posted a 1 percent increase in June from May and was up 4.2 percent from a year ago.

Seventeen of the larger cities showed monthly price gains. Still, the gains were weaker from the previous month in several markets, including San Francisco, San Diego and Los Angeles. Charleston is not part of the index.

Home prices nationally were up 4.4 percent in the April-to-June quarter. That followed a decline of 2.8 percent in the January-to-March quarter. The jump was largely because buyers could take advantage of government tax credits of up to $8,000.

Home sales have dropped sharply since those incentives expired. Lending standards remain tight, unemployment is stuck near double digits and foreclosures are expected to remain at extraordinary levels.

SEC issues warning over credit ratings

WASHINGTON -- Federal regulators are warning credit rating agencies that they could face civil fraud charges for giving inaccurate ratings to investments.

The Securities and Exchange Commission issued the warning Tuesday in a report on its investigation into a possible violation of the law by Moody's Investors Service, one of the three big rating agencies. The SEC said it will not pursue Moody's for civil fraud because of uncertainty over jurisdiction.

The financial overhaul law enacted in July calls for reducing the influence of Moody's, Standard & Poor's and Fitch Ratings. They were discredited in the financial crisis for giving high ratings to risky mortgage securities.

Commerce: China's subsidies not fair

WASHINGTON -- The Obama administration, under congressional pressure to take a tough stance on Chinese trade policies, determined Tuesday that Beijing unfairly subsidized $514 million in aluminum products last year.

The Commerce Department stopped short of making a stronger ruling on claims by U.S. leaders and manufacturers that an undervalued Chinese currency gives Beijing's exporters a lopsided price advantage.

The preliminary finding means that some Chinese aluminum importers must post cash deposits or bonds at a rate set by U.S. officials.

Boeing looks to raise production of 737

NEW YORK -- A Boeing executive said Tuesday that it may increase production of its workhorse 737 even more than currently planned. Chief Financial Officer James Bell told analysts that Boeing is thinking about whether to make 737s at a rate of 40 per month.

Boeing already is raising production to 35 per month beginning in early 2012. Bell said Boeing can make that many planes without major new investments in plants. It is studying whether it has the capacity to make 40 per month, and whether there's enough demand to support that many planes over the long run.

Bell said the company expects to make a decision by the end of the year.