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US builders' confidence rises but is limited by tight credit and shortages of labour and lots

WASHINGTON - U.S. homebuilders' confidence in the housing market rose modestly in April but remained at low levels for the third straight month, constrained by tight credit for home buyers and a shortage of workers and available land. The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo builder sentiment index, which measures confidence in the single-family home market, edged up to 47 in April from 46 in March, the homebuilders group reported Tuesday. Readings below 50 mean builders view sales conditions as poor. The index had been above 50 from June through January.

U.S. home builder sentiment edges up in April, still gloomy

NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. homebuilder sentiment edged up in April but remained mostly dour on lingering concerns about stiff credit conditions for buyers and tight supply of building lots and labor, the National Association of Home Builders said on Tuesday. The NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market index rose to 47 in April from a downwardly revised 46 in March, the group said in a statement. Economists polled by Reuters had predicted the index would rebound to 50 in April.

Diet passes bill to set up state-backed infrastructure export firm

The Diet enacted Friday a law aimed at establishing a state-backed firm which will help Japanese private-sector companies export their infrastructure-building technologies in such fields as railways and roads. The House of Councillors passed the bill which was already approved by the House of Representatives.

Magna International expanding Newmarket, Ont., plant, creating 75 new jobs

AURORA, Ont. - Magna International Inc. (TSX:MG) said Monday it will create 75 new jobs with a $1.5-million expansion of a plant in Newmarket, Ont. The company said its Magna Closures unit is expanding its Dortec manufacturing plant to produce electronic control modules for power closure and roof systems. The plant is also expected to produce a new electronic side-door latch that will be lighter and cost less.

Magna International expanding Newmarket, Ont., plant, creating 75 new jobs

AURORA, Ont. - Magna International Inc. (TSX:MG) said Monday it will create 75 new jobs with a $1.5-million expansion of a plant in Newmarket, Ont. The company said its Magna Closures unit is expanding its Dortec manufacturing plant to produce electronic control modules for power closure and roof systems. The plant is also expected to produce a new electronic side-door latch that will be lighter and cost less.

Australia to pay states to sell $93 billion of infrastructure

By Byron Kaye SYDNEY (Reuters) - Australia's federal government said it will pay states to sell off assets as treasurers across jurisdictions agreed to do more to lure local and overseas investors to take a slice of an estimated A$100 billion ($92.58 billion) in infrastructure. The government wants local superannuation funds, managing some A$1.7 trillion, to increase ownership of roads, rail, ports and power stations now being sold off by cash-strapped states to fund new spending programs.

Insight: From dumb iron to Big Data: Caterpillar's dealer sales push

By James B. Kelleher (Reuters) - Caterpillar Inc has a long tradition of proudly - and publicly - proclaiming how much it loves its dealers. In recent years, the Peoria, Illinois-based company has called the 178 independently owned businesses that distribute its earth-moving products worldwide everything from "a critical competitive differentiator" to "the foundation" of its success.

Groups to AER: no new steaming at CNRL bitumen leak site until probe complete

CALGARY - Twenty-one groups are calling on Alberta's energy watchdog to reject another application by Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. to resume steaming near the site of a months-long bitumen spill. The coalition — made up mostly of environmental groups from both inside and outside Alberta — made its plea in an open letter to the Alberta Energy Regulator. "The AER must reject CNRL's application for resteaming to ensure that no more damage is done to this area," the groups wrote.

CNRL pulls application to resume steaming near site of Primrose bitumen leak

CALGARY - Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. (TSX:CNQ) has pulled an application to resume steaming at its Primrose oilsands site in eastern Alberta, as questions into a months-long bitumen spill there remain unresolved. The Alberta Energy Regulator told CNRL on Friday that its application would be denied, after which the company withdrew it. "We felt it was inappropriate to allow steaming to resume before we've completed the investigation into the leak at the site," said AER spokesman Bob Curran.

US stocks tick mostly higher

US stocks closed mostly higher Tuesday as investors weighed mixed company news and an unexpected slump in home builder confidence. The Dow Jones Industrial Average shed 23.99 points (0.15 percent) at 16,130.40. The tech-rich Nasdaq Composite climbed 28.76 (0.68 percent) to 4,272.78 , while the S&P 500 index, a broad measure of the markets, advanced 2.13 (0.12 percent) to 1,840.76.
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