Portland home sales up in July

July brought some zip to a Portland area housing market that had been in the doldrums relative to the past few years, but the rally might prove short-lived.

Sales jumped 7.6% compared with the same month a year earlier, according to the local listing service RMLS, and the surge in sales helped bring down the previously growing number of homes on the market.

Accepted offers, however, dropped compared with the year prior, suggesting August’s numbers for closed sales might disappoint.

The median sale price, meanwhile, rose to $411,600, up 2.5% compared with a year earlier.

The spike in sales might be tied to a dip in mortgage rates. The average fixed rate for a 30-year mortgage has been falling since November, but it dropped below 4 percent in June. Last week, the average hit 3.6%, a low not seen since 2016.

Retail sales jump, other data mixed

U.S. retail sales rose by the most in four months on a surge in online purchases, offering some comfort for the economic growth picture amid increasing concern a downturn is coming, though other data Thursday was mixed.

Ten of 13 major retail categories increased, led by a 2.8% jump for nonstore sellers, which include online shopping. Retail sales in July may have been propped up by Amazon.com Inc.’s 48-hour Prime Day event, which the company said surpassed sales from the previous Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined. The promotion also likely drove shoppers to rivals Walmart Inc. and Target Corp.

Stocks slumped this week and yields on two-year U.S. Treasuries rose above 10-year notes for the first time since the financial crisis, an inversion widely viewed as a sign of coming recession.

GE accused of accounting fraud

A whistleblower who warned regulators about Bernard Madoff’s Ponzi scheme is now accusing General Electric of misleading investors, sending the company’s stock on a downward spiral.

Investigator Harry Markopolos accused GE on Thursday of engaging in accounting fraud worth $38 billion, saying the company is hiding massive losses and heading for bankruptcy.

The issues he outlined lie primarily in GE’s troubled Capital unit, a financial services division often seen as a black hole in the company. GE called Markopolos’ claims unsubstantiated and meritless, saying its reserves are well-supported and the company undergoes rigorous testing annually to ensure its reserves are adequate.

Boston-based GE’s shares closed Thursday down $1.02, or more than 11%, at $8.01.

23852219