PROPERTYNew sales upNew home sales edged up for the third straight month in June following the Reserve Bank's most recent interest rate cut in the same month. The Housing Industry Association's new home sales report showed a 2.8 per cent rise in sales, driven by a 15.7 per cent surge in apartments and townhouses.MININGFlinders bidFlinders Mines says it can now start developing its flagship $1.1 billion Pilbara iron ore project after a bid for the miner by a Russian steel maker fell through this month. Flinders announced recently that Magnitogorsk Iron & Steel Works OJSC had terminated its $554 million proposed takeover.BANKSHSBC liftsHSBC Holdings, Europe's largest bank, says first-half profit has risen 10 per cent, lifted by gains on asset sales. Pre-tax profit rose to US$12.7 billion, the London-based bank said yesterday. "We have made substantial and encouraging progress in key areas, increasing revenues in faster-growing markets such as Asia and continue to reshape the organisation," chief executive Stuart Gulliver said.BLACKROCKIron ore vowOne of the world's biggest and most important investors, BlackRock, has pledged its continuing support to iron ore stocks, despite the sector slumping badly in recent times. BlackRock is among the biggest stakeholders in BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto and the chairman of its World Mining Trust, Anthony Lea, said it would stick with iron ore despite recently reviewing how best to invest.RETAILCentro trustThe remaining piece of the Centro class action has fallen into place with the issue of 86.7 million shares into the new Centro Retail Australia trust. The new securities form the compensation package that was part of the settlement of the Class Action True-up Securities with some investors before Centro aggregated its business in its rescue deal.