Foreclosure filings increased 27 percent in August nationwide, compared with the same month a year ago, at a significantly slower year-over-year pace in August than in previous months, according to data released Thursday by RealtyTrac.

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Real estate

Foreclosure filings increased 27 percent in August nationwide, compared with the same month a year ago, at a significantly slower year-over-year pace in August than in previous months, according to data released Thursday by RealtyTrac.

In Washington state, filings rose sharply higher than the U.S. pace, although the rate of foreclosure filings to number of households is still well below the nation as a whole.

Statewide in Washington, foreclosure filings rose 64 percent in August from a year earlier and 15 percent from the previous month. With 3,172 filings last month, one household in every 851 was in some stage of foreclosure.

King County filings — which totaled 849 last month, or one in every 946 households — jumped 60 percent from August 2007 and 15 percent from July.

Snohomish County’s 336 filings, or one in every 805 households, rose 39 percent from the year before and 6 percent from the previous month.

Investments

Fidelity reportedly to settle in probe

Fidelity Investments said Friday it will buy back $300 million worth of auction-rate securities from its customers, becoming the first major retail brokerage to make restitution in a wide-ranging investigation.

Fidelity is the first so-called “downstream” distributor — rather than an underwriter — to settle an auction-rate securities probe, even though Fidelity didn’t conduct auctions, New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo said.

Economy

Wholesale prices fall, retail sales dip

The Labor Department reported Friday that wholesale prices declined 0.9 percent last month, nearly double the 0.5 percent drop that economists had expected, as the price of all types of energy from gasoline to natural gas fell sharply. It was the largest drop in wholesale prices in nearly two years.

Economists had expected that lower prices for gas might entice shoppers to spend more.

But the Commerce Department reported that retail sales dipped 0.3 percent last month. The August slump followed an even bigger 0.5 percent decline in July, the weakest performance in five months and much worse than the 0.1 percent decline originally reported.

Automotive

Chrysler will offer more buyouts

Chrysler said Friday it will make another round of early retirement and buyout offers to factory workers in the Detroit area to reduce the number who are on indefinite layoff due to slumping sales.

Employees will learn about the offers this month, company officials said during an event at a Warren factory where the automaker celebrated the launch of the new Dodge Ram pickup.

It wasn’t known yet how many of Chrysler’s 45,000 workers will be eligible.

Compiled from The Associated Press and Seattle Times staff