This Morning's Top Financial Stories

Home sales, Groupon, and the Bank of Japan lead the news this morning.

Hope Nelson
Hope Nelson
Sep 19, 2012 at 12:00AM

Good morning, Fools! Let's dig into today's top news.

U.S. home sales rise in August
Sales of existing homes rose 7.8% in August to an adjusted annual rate of 4.82 billion, The Associated Press reported today. This marks the highest rate of sale in more than two years, the AP said. The government also reported that homebuilders began work on more new homes in August compared with months prior.

However, all is not rosy. The number of first-time homebuyers has declined from 34% to 31%, the AP said.

Groupon announces mobile-payment service
Groupon (Nasdaq: GRPN) announced today that it has created a payment service for Apple's iPhone and iPod Touch, MarketWatch reported. Groupon Payments will enter the mobile-payment space currently dominated by PayPal and Square, among other providers, and will receive card payments "at a lower rate than other providers," Groupon said in a statement.

Bank of Japan follows U.S. into monetary easing
The Bank of Japan, the country's central bank, took additional steps toward boosting economic growth today, AP reports. The bank said it would increase both the size and the duration of its bond-buying program in an effort to kick-start borrowing and spending. The central bank also removed a minimum required interest rate on government bonds in an effort to stabilize the economy, the AP reported.