Money Minute: U.S. Millionaires Club Grows; Inventory Woes Hamper Home Buying

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More Americans belong to the millionaire's club than ever before.

The number of millionaires in the U.S. increased by 7 percent last year. That's another 640,000 people. The Spectrum Group says that brings the total number of millionaires to a record high 9.6 million. The group's definition of a millionaire is net worth topping $1 million, not counting their primary home.

Millions of Americans say they want to buy a home this year, but the online real estate website Zillow (Z) says most won't be able to do so because there's a limited supply of homes for sale, prices are soaring and there are higher standards to qualify for a mortgage. On average, home prices jumped by 11 percent last year.

Safety problems are mounting for General Motors (GM).
A private watchdog group claims more than 300 deaths may be related to air bags that failed to deploy in some of the same compact cars GM recently recalled for ignition problems. The group blames GM and federal regulators for failing to investigate the defect trend.

Here we go again: another round of talk that stocks are headed for a correction. We haven't had one in quite a while. S&P Capital IQ says the market fell by nearly 10 percent in 2012 -- a 10 percent drop is the widely accepted definition of a correction -- and by 19.4 percent in 2011. The S&P 500 has reached a series of record highs during the past month.

Here on Wall Street yesterday, the Dow Jones industrial average (^DJI) tumbled 231 points Thursday, the Nasdaq composite (^IXIC) dropped 63 and the Standard & Poor's 500 index (^GPSC) slid 22 points.

Finally, a group of workers at McDonald's (MCD) has filed suit alleging the company failed to pay them for all of the hours they worked or for overtime. They filed class action lawsuits in California, New York and Michigan. It's the same group that's been pushing for higher wages and union representation.

-Produced by Drew Trachtenberg.


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