Dollars & Sense

More flights arriving late in United States

A quarter of domestic flights failed to arrive on time in 2007 -- the industry's second poorest performance on record -- and analysts say it is likely to get worse. More than 26 percent of commercial flights in the United States arrived late or were canceled last year as rising passenger demand and an industry preference for smaller planes intensified congestion in the skies and on runways. The air-travel logjam, reported Tuesday by the Department of Transportation, comes as a growing number of air traffic controllers near retirement age -- a trend the controllers' union says will magnify the problem. The only time passengers had more difficulty getting to their destinations on time was in 2000, when more than 27 percent of flights were tardy or canceled. Back then, there were 31 percent fewer flights than in 2007, when carriers operated nearly 7.5 million one-way trips.

Some see bubble in Treasury market

Investors' raging demand for safe assets over the past six months may have created a bubble in the Treasury market -- and some onlookers expect to hear a bursting sound any minute. A market bubble exists when asset prices are driven well above their intrinsic value, as occurred with stocks in 1999 and housing prices in many parts of the country in 2006. Often, the end of a bubble is marked by disruptively sharp price declines as investors abruptly conclude assets are overvalued. There are mixed views about whether the recent buying spree in the Treasury market has driven prices up to unjustified bubble levels. The rally, which also has sent bond yields plunging to multiyear lows, was fed first by fallout from the subprime mortgage crisis and then by growing worries about a recession.

Lender blames loss on housing slump

GMAC LLC said Tuesday it lost $724 million in the final quarter of 2007 as the housing slump and disruptions in the credit and capital markets battered the lender's home mortgage division. The Detroit-based lender has taken "aggressive actions" to stem the unit's drag and forecasts a return to profitability in 2008. The company said its mortgage business, Residential Capital LLC, or ResCap, lost $921 million during the quarter, marking its fifth- straight quarterly loss. Losses skyrocketed from write-downs on credit residuals and mortgage-backed securities, restructuring charges and higher funding costs.

Coming Thursday

A video-gaming entrepreneur revives the likes of Pac-Man, Pong and Centipede.