___US home prices rise at fastest pace since 2006 WASHINGTON (AP) a¿¿ U.S. home prices rose in August from a year earlier at the fastest pace since February 2006. But the price gains slowed in many cities from July, a sign that the spike in prices over the past year may have peaked. The Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller 20-city home price index rose 12.8 percent over the 12 months ending in August. That's up from 12.4 percent in July from a year earlier. All 20 cities showed year-over-year gains. However, a measure of month-over-month prices for the 20 cities rose just 1.3 percent in August. That's' down from a 1.8 percent month-over-month gain in July. And 16 of the 20 cities reported more modest price increases in August than in July. ___ US consumer confidence plunges on gov't shutdown WASHINGTON (AP) a¿¿ Americans' confidence in the economy fell this month to the lowest level since April, as many worried about the impact of a 16-day partial government shutdown. The decline could weigh on spending and economic growth. The Conference Board said Tuesday that its index of consumer confidence dropped to 71.2 in October, down from 80.2 the previous month. September's figure was slightly higher than initially reported. Consumers grew particularly pessimistic in their outlook on the economy six months from now, while their assessment of current economic conditions declined by much less. They also expect less hiring in the months ahead. Consumers' confidence is closely watched because their spending accounts for 70 percent of economic activity. ___ Dutch bank paying $1 billion to settle LIBOR charges WASHINGTON (AP) a¿¿ Rabobank of the Netherlands has agreed to pay about $1 billion to settle U.S., British and Dutch charges of manipulating a key global interest rate. The bank's chairman resigned as it became the fifth financial firm sanctioned in the international rate-rigging scandal.