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Proposed stadium awaits

(AP) -- A top executive with the company proposing to build a football stadium in downtown Los Angeles said no NFL team has yet expressed serious interest in moving to Southern California.

Developer AEG can't start construction on a new stadium until it secures a team.

The Los Angeles Daily News reported that the NFL's application period for teams wanting to move to Los Angeles opened Jan. 1 and closes on Feb. 15.

AEG President Tim Leiweke said he hasn't heard from any team that plans to apply.

He said the impending sale of AEG, a $6 billion conglomerate of sports and entertainment enterprises, may be a concern.

The company also faces a competing stadium proposal in the City of Industry, and NFL interest in converting Dodgers Stadium to a football venue.

Neutral on Hovnanian

(AP) -- A UBS analyst said Wednesday that homebuilder Hovnanian's shares may not rise much farther.

(NYSE: HOV), like other home builder stocks, has been on fire.

It's up nearly 400 percent over the past year and reached a new four-year high in Wednesday trading.

In a note to investors analyst David Goldberg cut his rating on Hovnanian, lowering it to “neutral” from “buy.”

The main reason, Goldberg wrote, is that Hovnanian's stock is probably leveling off.

Goldberg pointed out that Hovnanian has climbed 34 percent since late November, while housing stocks as a group rose 4 percent.

He set a 12-month price target of $7.50 for Hovnanian.

Goldberg also raised his earnings estimate for the Red Bank, N.J.-based company.

He now sees Hovnanian making 25 cents per share in fiscal 2014, up from a previous estimate of 15 cents per share.

Investors piled into housing stocks in 2012, as sales of new homes rebounded.

They are up 15.3 percent over the past year, hitting a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 377,000 in November.

The pace of home construction is nearly 22 percent higher than a year ago, with builders on track to start work on the greatest number of homes in four years.

Donated school campus

(AP) -- The Oklahoma-based owners of a former prep school campus in Massachusetts have donated the property to a Christian grant-making foundation, which will continue looking for a permanent owner.

The Green family, owner of the Hobby Lobby craft store chain, announced Wednesday their donation to the National Christian Foundation, effective Dec. 28.

The Georgia-based foundation is the largest Christian grant-making organization in the United States.

The Greens acquired the 217-acre former property of the Northfield-Mount Hermon prep school in 2009, intending to give it to a college.

After that fell through, they offered it for free to groups that promised to honor the legacy of evangelist D.L. Moody, who founded the school.

In September, the Greens announced the gift to Arizona-based Grand Canyon University. The school backed out weeks later, citing unanticipated costs.

'Field of Dreams' sale

(AP) -- The purchase of the “Field of Dreams” movie site in eastern Iowa has been completed.

The investors group Go the Distance Baseball LLC said it closed last week on the deal reached with owners Don and Becky Lansing.

The final price was $3.4 million plus interest. It was listed for $5.4 million more than two years ago when it went on the market.

Go the Distance plans to transform the Dyersville landmark into All-Star Ballpark Heaven, a 24-field youth baseball and softball tournament complex.

Construction is expected to begin this spring, with the first tournament games scheduled for 2014.

House GOP 'betrayal'

(AP) -- New York lawmakers are branding the decision by House GOP leaders not to hold a vote on Hurricane Sandy aid in the current Congress a “betrayal.”

Reps. Michael Grimm, a Republican, and Jerrold Nadler, a Democrat, said on the House floor Wednesday that while they did not agree on much, House Speaker John Boehner's decision would be a crushing blow to states battered by the late October storm.

The Senate approved a $60.4 billion measure Friday to help with recovery from the storm that devastated parts of New York, New Jersey and nearby states.

The House Appropriations Committee has drafted a smaller, $27 billion measure, and a vote had been expected before Congress' term ends Thursday at noon.

PR solar sale

(Bloomberg) -- Western Wind Energy Corp., the renewable power developer that put itself up for sale in July, redesigned its 30-megawatt solar project in Puerto Rico as the company seeks to boost its value.

The Yabucoa project was modified to incorporate new equipment after a supplier entered financial restructuring, Vancouver-based Western Wind said Wednesday.

The new design uses different inverters to convert output to alternating current to be sent to the grid.

The value of the Puerto Rico project isn't reflected in a November offer by Brookfield Renewable Energy Partners LP to buy the company for C$172.6 million ($175 million), Western Wind President Jeff Ciachurski said. Western Wind rejected the offer.

The Brookfield offer also doesn't account for Congress’s decision Tuesday to extend production tax credits, Ciachurski said.

Western Wind operates wind farms in California and a combined wind-and-solar plant in Arizona.

NM renewable credits

(AP) -- New Mexico officials reviewed and processed thousands of requests in 2012 for tax credits and other funding aimed at boosting renewable energy development in the state.

The growth over the past year included 50 new megawatts of wind power and four times the amount of solar generated power than what was available in 2011, according to the latest annual report from the Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department.

State officials said there's now 152 megawatts of solar power operating in New Mexico.

That includes new arrays brought online by the state's largest electric provider, Public Service Company of New Mexico, and thousands of new residential photovoltaic units.

New Mexico's not alone in its interest in solar. Nationally, in the third quarter alone, the photovoltaic market saw 44 percent growth over the same period in 2011, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association.

New Mexico continues to rank sixth in the nation for installed solar electric capacity, according to the association.

Officials at the state energy and minerals agency said they received more than a dozen applications for the renewable energy production tax credit over a 12-month period through October 2012.

The agency awarded nine certificates for solar generators and one for a wind farm.

The tax credit has been maxed out, but those credits issued to older generators will start to be retired in 2013.

That means those funds will be available again for newer projects.

Hatfield Acres?

(AP) -- The site of the Hatfield clan's New Year's attack on Randolph McCoy's cabin marked appears to have been pinpointed in eastern Kentucky.

The 1888 ambush in the woods of Pike County was a turning point in America's most famous feud.

Now backed by the discovery, property owner and Hatfield descendant Bob Scott plans to capitalize on the historic 70-acre site near the West Virginia line. The options include a housing development featuring horseback and ATV trails, he said.

Artifacts recently unearthed appear to pinpoint the location in the woods of Pike County.

Excavators found bullets believed to have been fired by the McCoys in self-defense, along with fragments of windows and ceramic from the family's cabin.

“This is one of the most famous conflicts in American history, and we've got bullets fired from one of the key battles," said Bill Richardson, a West Virginia University extension professor who was part of the recent discovery. "It doesn't get any better than that.”

Scott's home is about 75 yards from where the cabin stood.

The McCoys moved to nearby Pikeville after the homestead was burned.

The artifacts were found last year during filming of a National Geographic Channel show.

Australian prices

(Bloomberg) -- Australian home prices fell for the second straight year as sluggish consumer sentiment dented the impact of interest rate cuts.

House and apartment prices across the nation's eight state and territory capitals fell 0.4 percent in the 12 months to Dec. 31, according to the RP Data-Rismark home value index, after a 3.8 percent decline in 2011.

Prices are expected to rise in 2013, with increases constrained to levels between inflation and wage growth, RP Data said.

“It is clear that the previous strong value growth conditions to which many home owners became accustomed of recent years are well and truly behind us,” Cameron Kusher, senior research analyst at RP Data, said.

Melbourne had the biggest home price declines last year, falling 2.9 percent, the Brisbane-based researcher said. Darwin was the best performer, surging 8.9 percent, it said.

Apartment prices in the eight cities rose 0.5 percent in 2012, while values of detached houses fell 0.5 percent, RP Data said.

Turkish REITs

(Bloomberg) -- Turkish real estate investment trusts (REITs) slumped after the government raised value-added taxes on sales of new homes.

Emlak Konut Gayrimenkul Yatirim Ortakligi AS led declines on the Istanbul Stock Exchange National Reits Index, dropping 3.5 percent at the close in Istanbul, its biggest loss since May.

The index dropped 2.1 percent, the only of 21 Turkey industry gauges tracked by Bloomberg to fall on the day.

The Istanbul Stock Exchange National 100 added 1.8 percent to 79,642.06, a record high.

The new legislation raises taxes on sales of homes with appraisal values of less than 1,000 liras ($560) per square meter to 8 percent from 1 percent and for homes appraised at more than that to 18 percent.

That replaces a size-based tax in which homes larger than 150 square meters were taxed at 18 percent while smaller homes were taxed at 1 percent.

The taxes apply to construction permits issued from this year.

“Overall this is bad news for the sector,” Selim Cakir, an analyst at Turk Ekonomi Bankasi AS in Istanbul, said Wednesday. “New projects will be impacted negatively.”

Jordanian water projects

(Bloomberg) -- Jordan signed a 45 million-euro ($60 million) loan agreement with France to finance water projects including extending coverage in the Amman metropolitan area, the state-run Petra news agency reported.

Jordan will pay an annual interest rate of 0.05 percent for a loan to be repaid over 15 years with a 6-year grace period to finance projects in the capital for the Jordan Water Co., known as Miyahuna.

Petra said Minister of Planning and International Cooperation Jafar Hassan signed the accord.

Record German solar

(Bloomberg) -- German developers added a record number of solar panels in the first 11 months of last year, more than double the quantity targeted by the government.

Solar installations rose 62 percent to about 7,274 megawatts from January through November, compared with about 4,502 megawatts a year earlier, according to data from federal grid regulator Bundesnetzagentur.

The government had sought to limit capacity additions to a maximum of 3,500 megawatts.

Environment Minister Peter Altmaier plans to propose changes to the renewables subsidy system in March to prevent a voter backlash against rising energy costs before an election in the autumn.

Subsidies in 2013 will amount to about 20.4 billion euros ($27 billion), paid for through consumers' power bills.

There are signs that solar installations have been slowing recently.

Germany added 435 megawatts of panels in November, down from 659 megawatts a year earlier, the regulator said.

Solar installations may top 8,000 megawatts for 2012, Altmaier said in November.

That compares with about 7,500 megawatts a year earlier, when developers added about 3,000 megawatts in December to beat subsidy cuts.

Norwegian prices

(Bloomberg) -- House prices in Norway rose the most in more than a year in December as near-record low interest rates fueled home buying, increasing pressure on the central bank and financial regulators to cool credit growth.

House prices, which have doubled since 2002, rose an annual 8.8 percent in December compared with 7.5 percent in the prior month, the Norwegian Association of Real Estate Agents said Wednesday.

Prices gained a seasonally adjusted 1.7 percent in the month and rose 7.7 percent for all of 2012, according to the Oslo-based organization.

The world's fourth-richest nation per capita is withstanding a recession in the euro area, and even displaying signs of overheating, amid record investment in Norway’s petroleum industry.

“The figures confirm our long hold view that the housing market needs some kind of stabilizing factor,” said Frank Jullum, chief economist for Norway at Danske Bank A/S. “We will see some measures from the government in 2013, aimed at damping the housing prices.”

Greek wastewater plant

(Bloomberg) -- Greece will choose the winner next month for a 27-year contract to build and operate a wastewater treatment plant in the northern West Macedonia region, the Development Ministry said.

The ministry said the contract, to be partly financed by the European Investment Bank, will be the first wastewater management project awarded via the public-private partnership process in Greece, which is undergoing an economic overhaul.

Terna Energy SA, a venture of Aktor Parachorisses SA and Ellaktor SA, and a group comprising Mesogios SA, J&P Avax SA and Polyeco SA submitted binding bids for the project on Dec. 28, the Athens-based ministry said.

The sewage treatment plant will have an annual wastewater processing capacity of 120,000 metric tons.

Dubai water network

(Bloomberg) -- Dubai has awarded a contract for a project to extend the metropolitan area's water transmission network by 259 miles.

The 167 million-dirham ($45.5 million) project by Dubai Electricity and Water Authority is part of plans by authorities in the regional trade, tourism and financial hub to keep pace with area water demands, DEWA said Wednesday.

The project, estimated to take 26 months to complete, plans to install new water transmission pipelines, reduce water losses by renovating household connections, increase supply capacity and boost flows “to meet the sharp demand for water in various areas of Dubai,” DEWA Chief Executive Officer Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer said.

Singapore prices

(Bloomberg) -- Singapore home prices climbed to a record in the fourth quarter after developers sold more homes, a government report showed.

The island state's private residential property price index rose 1.8 percent to 211.9 points in the three months ended Dec. 31, according to preliminary estimates released by the Urban Redevelopment Authority on Wednesday.

The index advanced 0.6 percent in the previous quarter, which was also a record.

Prices rose 2.8 percent in the year, compared with a 5.9 percent gain in 2011, data from the authority showed.

Prices of non-landed private residential properties increased 0.8 percent in prime districts in the quarter, the data showed. In suburban areas, prices climbed 3.4 percent.

“Private property prices saw a rebound with the price increase in the fourth quarter contributing to more than 50 percent for the entire year,” Mohamed Ismail, chief executive officer of PropNex Realty, said.

Home sales in November fell 44 percent from October, the lowest in 11 months, as developers slowed project sales ahead of the holiday season.

Sales in November slid to 1,087 units from 1,948 units in October, according to data released by the Urban Redevelopment Authority on Dec. 17.

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