Daily Briefing


July 18, 2009

Md., federal minimum wage will rise to $7.25 per hour

The federal minimum wage will increase to $7.25 on July 24, a move that affects 30 states, including Maryland. The current minimum wage in Maryland is $6.55. The U.S. Labor Department says a family with a full-time minimum wage earner will see $120 more in its monthly income.

- Hanah Cho

Stocks cap strong week with mixed finish

NEW YORK - Investors are betting that the stock market has restarted its spring rally. Stocks ended little changed Friday but held onto an enormous gain for the week. Investors are looking to another flood of corporate earnings reports next week to provide more signs that the economy is healing. The Dow Jones industrials and the Standard & Poor's 500 index posted their best weekly performance since early March, when the market's spring rally began. Major stock indexes rose about 7 percent for the week.

Watergate Hotel could be auctioned off next week

WASHINGTON - The Watergate Hotel made famous by a presidential scandal is expected to be on the auction block next week. Alex Cooper Auctioneers is announcing that it will take bids Tuesday on the Washington landmark. A 30-day foreclosure notice expires Thursday. It was sent to hotel owner Monument Realty last month after the company defaulted on its loan and lists an outstanding $40 million balance. The Watergate complex was made famous by the 1972 burglary that led to President Richard M. Nixon's resignation. Monument officials said two weeks ago they hoped the lender could agree to new terms, but a company spokeswoman declined to comment Wednesday. Alex Cooper's Web site does not name the Watergate but describes a 12-story hotel at the Watergate's address.

- Associated Press

Regulators shut Ga., S.D. banks; 55 closed this year

WASHINGTON - Regulators on Friday shut down small banks in Georgia and South Dakota, boosting to 55 the number of federally insured banks to fail this year. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. was appointed receiver of the two banks: First Piedmont Bank, based in Winder, Ga., which had about $115 million in assets and $109 million in deposits as of July 6; and BankFirst, based in Sioux Falls, S.D., with around $275 million in assets and $254 million in deposits as of April 30. With First Piedmont, 15 Georgia banks have failed since the beginning of 2008, more than in any other state. Most of the failures have involved banks in the Atlanta area, where the collapse of the real estate market brought economic dislocation.

- Associated Press

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