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Nutty thieves

(AP) -- Stanislaus County in Central California is going after walnut thieves.

County supervisors are set to consider an ordinance on Tuesday that would require anyone buying, selling or possessing walnuts for commercial purposes to show proof of ownership.

The proof of ownership would require more information than what state officials currently mandate.

The ordinance would also establish a buying period for nuts.

It comes as farmers have reported an uptick in walnut thefts.

The nuts' price of 6 cents each along with the ease with which they can be gathered have made them a target.

Five other California counties have similar regulations.

LA mural saved

(AP) -- Fan support and an intervention from the mayor have saved a colorful mural commissioned by the pop band Foster the People in downtown Los Angeles.

City officials had ordered the band to remove the artwork, which has covered the side of a building on South Los Angeles Street since January.

KABC-TV reports a petition to keep the wall from being painted over caught the attention of Mayor Eric Garcetti's office.

Foster the People tweeted Sunday night that the mayor decided the mural could stay.

The band put up the artwork to promote the release of its album “Supermodel.” In January, they used the mural as a backdrop for a free concert.

Wild horse removal

(AP) -- The U.S. Bureau of Land Management says it will remove fewer wild horses and burros from the range across the West this summer because of budget constraints and overflowing holding pens.

Under its roundup schedule announced this week, the bureau plans to gather 2,400 of the animals through the Sept. 30 end of the fiscal year. All but 215 of them will be horses.

Plans call for the removal of 1,535 horses in Wyoming, 285 in Nevada, 200 in Utah, 75 in Oregon, 50 in California and 35 in Idaho.

The bureau also plans to gather 140 burros in Arizona, 50 in California and 25 in Oregon.

The BLM says it removes excess horses and burros each year to maintain the ecological health of public rangelands.

Suzanne Roy of the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign said wild horses aren't overpopulating the West, and the problem is rangelands are being overrun by privately-owned livestock instead.

Wild horse takeover

RENO, Nev. (AP) -- A Utah congressman has introduced legislation to allow Western states and American Indian tribes to take over management of wild horses and burros from the federal government.

Rep. Chris Stewart said the U.S. Bureau of Land Management has failed to properly manage horses and burros in the West, and states should have the ability to manage them because each state faces unique challenges.

The Republican lawmaker said an overpopulation of wild horses is pushing cattle off the range and leading to destruction of important habitat for native species.

Anne Novak of the group called Protect Mustangs criticized the legislation, saying it would lead to states and tribes killing the animals or selling them off for slaughter for human consumption.

Huge bond auction

(Bloomberg) -- Mortgage-bond buyers, facing a supply shortage as their market shrinks and trading slows, get a chance Tuesday to bid for securities at the largest auction of its type since at least 2010.

BlackRock Inc. (NYSE: BX) is managing an “all or nothing” sale of $3.7 billion of debt mostly tied to U.S. subprime loans, according to a report by JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM) analysts.

Dealers must bid on the entire block of bonds, either to hold on their own books or to fill client orders.

The sale would represent about twice the $1.9 billion of U.S. home-mortgage securities without government backing offered in widely marketed auctions last week, according to Wells Fargo & Co. (NYSE: WFC) data. It's almost equal to the $3.9 billion that traded, based on a Wells Fargo report last week.

Holders of U.S. mortgage securities bought before the 2008 financial crisis have been unloading large blocks during the past few years to benefit as prices rallied.

A European bank may be the seller, Wells Fargo analysts said last week.

Tuesday's offering is the largest widely marketed auction of non-agency securities being sold in a single block since at least 2010, according to Empirasign Strategies LLC, which tracks securitization market trading. Including sales where bonds could be bought individually, it would be the 10th largest since then.

The Netherlands sold $11.5 billion of mortgage bonds acquired from ING Groep NV (NYSE: ING) in February, while Lloyds Banking Group Plc (NYSE: LYG) sold $8.7 billion of securities in 2013.

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York also used large offerings to unload debt it acquired during the credit crisis.

Subprime-mortgage securities returned 7.1 percent in the first half of 2014, after climbing 15.4 percent in 2013 and 16 percent in 2012, according to Bank of America Corp. (NYSE: BAC) data.

Citigroup settlement

(AP) -- Citigroup will pay roughly $7 billion to settle an investigation into risky subprime mortgages, the type that helped fuel the financial crisis.

The agreement announced Monday comes weeks after talks between the two sides broke down, prompting the Justice Department to warn that it would sue one of the nation's biggest banks.

The settlement stems from the sale of securities made up of subprime mortgages which fueled the boom and bust that triggered the Great Recession in 2007.

Citigroup (NYSE: C), among other banks, downplayed the risks of subprime mortgages when packaging them selling them to mutual funds, investment trusts and pensions, as well as other banks and investors.

J.P. Morgan (NYSE: JPM) is the only other major U.S. bank to settle so far, though Bank of America is reportedly in talks to do so.

Canadian prices reignite

(Bloomberg) -- Canadians are the most optimistic about the country's real estate market in more than six years as prices reignite.

The share of Canadians predicting higher home prices over the next six months rose to 47 percent last week, according to polling by Bloomberg and Nanos Research Group, the highest level since the survey began in 2008.

That figure has risen 10 percentage points since April.

The data suggest Canadians are brushing off forecasts of a slowdown in a market some analysts have warned is unsustainable.

Home prices rose 8.1 percent through the first five months of the year, according to the Canadian Real Estate Association, compared with a 1.3 percent gain over the same period in 2013, and prices may be poised for further gains if expectations for rising home values continue to whet demand.

The behavior of buyers today would be “completely ridiculous, unless there's an implicit assumption that there’s going to be capital gains involved, and that’s a mentality that you see in these long upswings in prices,” Ben Rabidoux, president of North Cove Advisors Inc., a research firm that specializes in housing, said last week.

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