Housing gloomy, despite uptick

Sales of previously owned homes nudged up in November, but that didn't improve the broader picture of a feeble U.S. housing market racked by record-high foreclosures and harder-to-get credit. Even with the small 0.4 percent increase, the sales pace was still the second-lowest on record. Home prices also dropped 3.3 percent from November 2006.


PHH's sale falls apart

PHH Corp. announced that a deal to sell itself fell through because of financing problems. PHH had agreed to sell out for $1.8 billion to General Electric Co., which wanted the company's Baltimore County vehicle leasing arm and was to resell PHH's mortgage unit to the Blackstone Group. PHH said Blackstone's financing fell apart.


Bill Miller fund lags again

Legg Mason Inc.'s Bill Miller, known for setting a record among mutual fund managers for benchmark-beating performance, lagged behind the market for a second consecutive year. Miller's Value Trust fund fell 6.7 percent in 2007, well behind a gain of 5.5 percent for the Standard & Poor's 500 stock index, according to data from Lipper Inc.

Md. rail line is acquired

Genesee & Wyoming Inc. has completed its $29.1 million deal to acquire a majority stake in Maryland Midland Railway Inc. Under the deal, Genesee owns 87.4 percent of Maryland Midland, a 70-mile short-line railroad that primarily serves Lehigh Cement Co. in Carroll County. Maryland Midland has 30 employees and is an interline carrier with CSX.

Md. to revamp global strategy

Maryland plans to capitalize on the ever-shrinking nature of the world by revamping its international business strategy this year in hopes it will draw more foreign investment, create higher-paying jobs and boost the state's place in the global economy. The new foreign focus comes as part of a directive by Gov. Martin O'Malley.