NEW YORK (CNN) -- CNN Money's Maribel Aber has your top business and financial news on this Friday, January 24.
Wal-Mart to launch $10M innovation fund
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. of Bentonville and its Walmart Foundation on Thursday pledged $10 million toward funding innovation in American manufacturing. The announcement of the innovation fund's creation was made by Wal-Mart president and CEO Bill Simon at the U.S. Conference of Mayors winter meeting in Washington D.C. The five-year program will work with the U.S. Conference of Mayors and launch in March. The fund will provide grants to innovators in the manufacturing sector and seek to "create new processes, ideas and jobs that support America's growing manufacturing footprint," according to a news release.
Home sales: Best year since 2006
Homeowners sold 5 million homes in 2013, a rebound year for the industry that marked the highest level of sales since the housing boom year of 2006. The report from the National Association of Realtors showed that there were 5.1 million previously owned homes sold in the year, up 9.2% from 2012 and up nearly 20% from 2011. December sales were up slightly from November, the first month-over-month rise in the reading since July. Mortgage rates have been rising steadily since hitting record lows in May, raising the cost of purchases for home buyers.
Immigration reform? There's an app for that
In an effort to promote immigration reform, advocacy group FWD.us launched Push4Reform, a Web application aimed at helping supporters connect with Congress members and urge them to take action. Push4Reform gathers information about members of Congress and their stances on immigration. People who use the app can enter their ZIP code to learn whether their representatives and senators support particular immigration reforms, what their reps have said publicly about the topic and find the best ways to connect with them.
Oscar Mayer is giving away a wienermobile
At 27-feet-long and 14,050 pounds, the Wienermobile is the largest hunk of rolling meat on the road. And it can be yours for a day. Oscar Mayer is handing over one of its iconic vehicles (there are a total of six) to the winner of a social-media contest that the hot dog brand is billing as "the first time ever a vehicle of any kind is available for lease exclusively through Twitter." To enter fans must tweet using the hashtag "#Tweet2Lease." On Feb. 7, Oscar Mayer will randomly pick a winner. But there is one catch: While the winner will get "hand's-on access to the Wienermoble," they won't be able to drive it. That duty will be left to a "Hotdogger," one of the 12 specially trained full-time Wienermobile drivers who will act as a personal chauffeur for an eight-hour day.