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Morning Market Roundup: New Greek Finance Minister, News Corp. Considers Split, U.S. Home Prices Up

Morning Market Roundup: New Greek Finance Minister, News Corp. Considers Split, U.S. Home Prices Up

Here’s what’s important in the business world this morning:

Greece: Greece named prominent economist Yannis Stournaras, who was involved in the country's negotiations to join the euro, as its new finance minister Tuesday.

Prime Minister Antonis Samaras' office made the announcement a day after the banker previously named to the position, Vassilis Rapanos, resigned for health reasons.

Stournaras, 55, is currently the head of the Foundation for Economic and Industrial Research, a think tank and research body that advises the government. A professor of economics at the University of Athens, he spent several years heading the Finance Ministry's Council of Economic Advisors.

Yannis Stournaras has been appointed Greece's new finance minister on Tuesday, June 26, 2012. (AP Photo/Eurokinissi, Giannis Panagopoulos,File)

Coke: The Coca-Cola Co. plans to invest an additional $3 billion in India through 2020 as it looks to capitalize on the growing market.

The world's biggest beverage maker, whose brands include Minute Maid and its namesake soda, has seen some of its biggest gains come from emerging markets as growth at home has stalled.

In April, Coca-Cola said its first-quarter volume in India rose 20 percent. In the region encompassing India, Russia, the Middle East and Africa, volume grew 9 percent, compared with a 2 percent increase in North America.

Including the new cash infusion, Coca-Cola said Tuesday that it now plans to invest $5 billion in India from 2012 to 2020. That's on top of the more than $2 billion it invested since re-entering the country in 1993.

News Corp.: Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. is reportedly considering splitting its publishing and entertainment businesses into two companies.

The Wall Street Journal, citing people familiar with the matter it did not name, reported late Monday that a split would put the 20th Century Fox film business and the Fox TV networks into a separate company from News Corp.'s newspaper and book publishing businesses.

The Journal reported late Monday that a final decision has not yet been made. The newspaper is owned by News Corp.

News Corp. shares rose $1.02, or 5 percent, to $21.30 in premarket trading Tuesday. If the gains carry over into regular trading, the share price would surpass its 52-week high of $20.94 set in mid-May.

The entertainment business would also include the Fox News, Sports and Business channels, the report said. The Publishing businesses also include the New York Post, The Times and Sun of London, the Dow Jones news service and the Harper Collins publishing imprints.

Home Prices: Home prices rose in nearly all major U.S. cities in April from March, according to the Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller home price index. The same data shows increases in 19 of the 20 cities tracked. That's the second straight month that prices have risen in a majority of U.S. cities.

And a measure of national prices rose 1.3 percent in April from March, the first increase in seven months.

San Francisco, Washington, and Phoenix posted the biggest increases. Prices fell 3.6 percent in Detroit, the only city to record a drop.

The month-to-month prices aren't adjusted for seasonal factors. Still, prices in half of the cities are up over the past 12 months.

Prices are increasing as other parts of the housing market are strengthening. Sales of new and previously occupied homes are up over the past year, in part because mortgage rates have plunged to the lowest levels on record. Builders are more confident and are starting to build more homes.

The S&P/Case-Shiller monthly index covers roughly half of U.S. homes. It measures prices compared with those in January 2000 and creates a three-month moving average. The April figures are the latest available.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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