Alexa

Business Highlights

Business Highlights

___

Low rates and heavy buyer demand send US home sales surging

SILVER SPRING, Md. (AP) — Spurred by ultra-low mortgage rates, home buyers rushed last month to snap up a limited supply of existing houses, causing the pace of purchases to jump by a record-high 24.7%. The July surge in purchases reported Friday by the National Association of Realtors marked the second straight month of accelerating sales. The back-to-back increases have helped stabilize the home buying market, which all but froze early this spring when the viral pandemic erupted across the United States. With July’s increase, to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.86 million, purchases are now up 8.7% from a year ago.

___

S&P 500 ticks higher to record, powered again by tech stocks

NEW YORK (AP) — The S&P 500 ticked higher to close at another all-time high Friday, powered by strength for technology stocks and better-than-expected reports on the U.S. economy. The index rose 0.3%, even though the majority of stocks in it weakened. It followed up on losses across Europe after more discouraging reports there indicated a slowdown in its economies. Despite its record-setting week, the market’s momentum has slowed recently after roaring back from its nearly 34% plunge from late February into March. The S&P 500 clinched its seventh gain in the last eight weeks, but the last two have been the most modest of that stretch.

___

Longtime Amazon executive Jeff Wilke to retire next year

NEW YORK (AP) — Amazon retail chief Jeff Wilke, who has helped Amazon transform itself from an online bookstore into a global colossus, is retiring early next year. The 53-year-old executive has been with Amazon for more than two decades and was regarded as a potential successor to founder and CEO Jeff Bezos. His oversight at Amazon grew along with the company, running not just Amazon.com, but the Whole Foods grocery chain and its physical book stores. Wilke is referred to within Amazon as “The other Jeff” to differentiate him from Bezos. The two have worked closely together since Wilke joined the company in 1999, four years after Amazon.com started selling books online.

___

EU agrees to cut taxes on US lobsters in modest trade pact

WASHINGTON (AP) — Maine lobsters should soon be returning to European pots under a modest trade agreement announced Friday. In a big win for Maine’s beleaguered lobster industry, the European Union agreed to drop its 8% tariff on U.S. lobsters for the next five years and to work to make the move permanent. For its part, the United States agreed to cut in half tariffs on EU imports worth about $160 million a year, including some prepared meals, crystal glassware and cigarette lighters. The tariff cuts are retroactive to Aug. 1. U.S. lobster imports to the EU came to about $111 million in 2017 before falling off in the face of rising tensions.

___

European economic rebound slows as virus cases rise

LONDON (AP) — The European economy’s rebound from coronavirus lockdowns slowed in August, suggesting the reopening of businesses is proceeding slowly and the outlook for jobs is precarious. An indicator of business activity published Friday by research firm IHS Markit fell back to a level that suggests the economy is barely growing after a relatively strong burst in July. Many countries last month had phased out the restrictions on public life that had been imposed in the spring to contain the pandemic. The economy’s drop in momentum coincides with a new rise in confirmed virus cases that has forced some governments to put limits on travel and to order lockdown restrictions on some communities.

___

Turkey discovers large natural gas reserve off Black Sea

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has announced the discovery of a large natural gas reserve off the Black Sea coast that will help ease the country’s dependence on imports. Erdogan said the amount of gas discovered is 320 billion cubic meters. Industry analysts say that is notable but not a “game-changer” that might turn the country into a regional energy hub or materially alter its financial fortunes. If confirmed as recoverable, the reserves could ease the country’s dependence on costly energy imports, which last year totalled $41 billion.

___

Weinstein seeks to pursue arbitration over firing

DOVER, Del. (AP) — Disgraced Hollywood film mogul Harvey Weinstein is asking a bankruptcy judge in Delaware to allow him to pursue arbitration in New York over what he claims is his wrongful termination from the company he co-founded. An attorney for Weinstein cited “newly discovered information and facts” in asking the judge presiding over The Weinstein Co. bankruptcy for permission to pursue the arbitration case. The Weinstein Co. sought bankruptcy protection in 2018 amid a sexual misconduct scandal that triggered a nationwide movement to address predatory sexual behavior and harassment. A New York jury convicted Weinstein in February of rape and sexual assault.

___

The S&P 500 index rose 11.65 points, or 0.3%, to 3,397.16. The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 190.60, or 0.7%, to 27,930.33, and the Nasdaq composite added 46.85, or 0.4%, to 11,311.80. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks ended down 11.83 points, or 0.8%, at 1,552.48.


Updated : 2020-12-02 21:16 GMT+08:00