6 housing trends in a still-shaky market and Summer job outlook is cloudy

The big fall-off in home values, which has taken the median price of a house down almost 30% since 2006, looks to be in its final stages in most places: Three-quarters of the nation’s 384 metropolitan areas will see prices down less than 5% a year from now, according to projections from Fiserv and Moody’s Economy.com; 10% seem poised for modest increases. Meanwhile, Uncle Sam is lending a steadying hand with programs designed to prop up the market — at least for a while yet.

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In this quieter environment lie new challenges and opportunities for homebuyers, sellers, owners, and investors. For the first time in years you aren’t completely at the mercy of market forces: You can really affect how much you make (or lose).

To come out on top, though, you need to understand the key trends shaping the shifting market. You’ll find them outlined below, along with smart moves that should help you exploit them. [Read the full article]

Almost half of hiring managers — 47% — don’t plan to hire any seasonal workers this summer, said a survey from hourly job site SnagAJob.com. That’s about the same as last summer’s 46%.

The majority of respondents, 54%, said they think it will be "difficult" for teens to find a summer job this year. The survey did not ask that question last year.

Just like last summer, employers have a wide range of [applicants] this year," said Shawn Boyer, chief executive of SnagAJob.com. When managers can pick from the cream of the crop, it makes it tough for those applying.

Teens were likely hoping for a sunnier outlook this year, since 2009’s summer job openings were slim amid a churning economy. But even as the recession has begun to abate this year, the unemployment rate remains at 9.7%.

Anyone who does score a summer job shouldn’t expect to make much more than last year. [Read the full article]

In February concerns about the Greek government’s deficits — and then Italy’s, and then Spain’s — had global stock markets spooked, and stoked anxieties about the value of the euro.

U.S. investors took a hit, but it was worse if you had money abroad. The MSCI EAFE index of foreign stocks is down 5.2% so far this year. Europe, it turns out, is a lot like the U.S.: too much debt, too few jobs, cratering real estate, and lots of noisy squabbling over fiscal policy.

Advisers as well as financial gurus like Wharton’s Jeremy Siegel have long urged Americans to invest abroad. And people were finally listening: Last year $68 billion flowed into foreign stock funds as money left domestic funds.

Foreign investing is supposed to offer diversification as well as a shot at better growth. Right now it doesn’t feel as if you’re getting either. So is the new conventional wisdom bunk?

Not exactly. Going abroad makes sense. [Read the full article]

Starbucks will serve shareholders a cash dividend for the first time ever, the coffee chain announced Wednesday.

The Seattle-based company will payout a dividend of 10 cents per share on April 23 to investors on record when the market closes April 7.

Starbucks’ (SBUX, Fortune 500) board of directors will have to approve the exact amounts of future quarterly dividends, but Starbucks said it plans to pay dividends valued between 35% and 40% of its net income.

The board also approved the repurchase of 15 million shares of the company’s common stock, in addition to the 6.3 million shares it has remaining from an earlier buyback plan.

We are confident in the overall financial strength of our business and the strong cash flow it continues to generate said the company’s chief financial executive Troy Alstead in a statement. [Read the full article]

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