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A reason for CEOs to be happy with less pay

Demonstrators outside a Wendy's restaurant in this file photo.
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Demonstrators outside a Wendy's restaurant in this file photo.

Recapping the day's news and newsmakers through the lens of CNBC.

Pay to stay


Ah, life at the top, it's such a breeze. A corner suite, corporate jet, courtside seats. ... And trouble always lurking. Over the past 20 years, about 40 percent of the highest-paid CEOs got the boot, were fined or agreed to settlements, or ran into so much trouble they needed a government bailout, according to a study by the Institute for Policy Studies.

Of course, CEOs are compensated for a lot of risk, earning 354 times as much as the average worker last year, up from 195 times in 1993. The left-leaning think tank says the figures show shareholders aren't getting their money's worth, and that compensation should be more transparent.


"We see CEO-worker pay ratio disclosure as an important step forward toward corporate compensation common sense."
—Institute for Policy Studies report

See, you can't trust GDP numbers


Has the economy turned a corner? Well, sort of ... maybe. Revised figures show GDP grew by 2.5 percent in the second quarter, not the 1.7 percent reported earlier. That 2.5 is not stellar, but it is double the first quarter's pace.

Meanwhile, unemployment claims fell by 6,000 last week, to about what economists had forecast: 331,000. The four-week average is holding at a pace economists associate with a strengthening job market.


"It means there's less firing going on in the economy. It doesn't tell us about hiring."
—CNBC's Steve Liesman

$130 billion transatlantic call


Got shares in U.K. telecom firm Vodafone? Then you had a good day. The shares were up big after Vodafone confirmed it is in talks with Verizon to sell the U.S. firm Vodafone's 45 percent stake in jointly owned Verizon Wireless. But Vodafone stressed that the deal is not done. The price could be about $130 billion. Verizon shares were up as well.


"Very welcome news for Vodafone—this disposal was an overhang in the stock price for some time given the speculation around this, and more importantly, it allows the group to pay down its debt."
—Joe Rundle, head of trading at ETX Capital

Treading water


One of the drags on the economy is the high number of "underwater" homeowners, who owe more than their homes are worth. They can't sell and can't move for better jobs. And this shadow supply of homes dampens prices.

Well, the situation is improving, slowly. About three million of these borrowers have moved above water this year thanks to rising home prices, the mortgage data firm Zillow reported. Still, that leaves about 12.2 million homeowners underwater, or 23.9 percent of those with a mortgage.


"Negative equity will be a factor in these markets for years to come, constraining the supply of homes for sale and keeping people out of the market who might otherwise get involved."
—Zillow Chief Economist Stan Humphries

Distressed properties


Another drag on home prices is also improving: foreclosures. About 49,000 were completed in July, down from 65,000 a year earlier, CoreLogic data shows. It's still well above the 21,000 monthly average from 2000 to 2006. Rising prices and demand from housing investors have helped trim foreclosures. But a rise in mortgage rates could slow the foreclosure decline.


"Of all the housing types in demand, stressed assets are a hot commodity and are often bought by cash investors who are less sensitive to mortgage rates."
— CoreLogic chief economist Mark Fleming

—By Jeff Brown, special to CNBC.com