US FINANCIAL MARKET
U.S. stocks rose at the open, after data showed consumer confidence rose more than forecast and sales of new homes climbed last month by the most in 22 years.
- The Nasdaq enjoyed stronger gains, thanks to Vertex Pharmaceuticals, the S&P 500’s biggest gainer by far, which soared 40 % in heavy volume to lift the Nasdaq Biotech index.
- Investors also continued to eye geopolitical tensions in Iraq and Ukraine. Price of Brent oil was flat today.
AT&T Tells Congress DirecTV Takeover Means Lower Prices
- The committee is examining the implications of the AT&T deal announced last month.
- DirecTV is in every state, and AT&T sells U-Verse, its bundled broadband and television product, in parts of 21 states.
- AT&T would gain 38 million video subscribers in the U.S. and in Latin America to compete as cable-TV providers such as Comcast.
- AT&T said it will commit to abiding by the principles of net neutrality for three years, meaning it won’t block websites or selectively speed or slow Internet traffic.
Monsanto Said to Have Weighed $40 Billion Syngenta Deal
- Monsanto, the world’s largest seed company worth $64 billion, recently explored a takeover of $34 billion Swiss rival Syngenta in a transaction that would have allowed the U.S. firm to move its tax location to Switzerland.
- The deal is another sign of how U.S. firms in many sectors are trying to avoid corporate taxes by moving their headquarters overseas.
Apple’s Big IPhones Said to Start Production Next Month
- Apple is ramping up on two bigger devices.
- One model will have a 4.7-inch display, compared to the 4-inch screen of the current iPhone 5s, which may be available to ship to retailers around September.
- A 5.5-inch version is also being prepared for manufacturing and may be available at the same time.
- The new iPhones will also be rounder and thinner than previous models.
Amazon Resumes Warner Bros. DVD Preorders
- Amazon has been locked in disputes with media companies as it seeks to use its heft to impose better terms from its vendors.
Walgreen posts disappointing profit, withdraws 2016 forecast
- Net income rose to $722 million from $624 million a year earlier.
- Sales rose 5.9 % to $19.40 billion.
- Analysts had expected a revenue of $19.48 billion.
- Customer traffic in comparable stores decreased 0.7 %.
Allergan plans to raise earnings outlook: CEO
- Allergan will raise its earnings outlook when it reports second-quarter results, said Chief Executive Officer David Pyott.
US ECONOMY & POLITICS
Consumer Confidence Index in U.S. Increased to 85.2 in June
- The median projection of 70 economists called for a reading of 83.5 in June. Estimates ranged from 81 to 86.
- The expectations index rose to 85.2 in June from 83.5 in May, while the present situation index increased to 85.1 versus 80.3 last month.
Sales of New U.S. Homes Surged in May to Highest Since 2008
- Purchases of new homes in the U.S. rose in May by the most in 22 years, indicating the industry is rebounding from a winter-induced lull at the start of the year.
- Sales increased 18.6 %, the biggest one-month gain since January 1992, to a 504,000 annualized pace. Estimates ranged from 415,000 to 462,000.
- The median sales price increased 6.9 % from May 2013 to reach $282,000.
- The number of houses for sale (inventories) at the end of the month held at 189,000.
Home prices in 20 U.S. cities rose at a slower pace than forecast in the year as declining affordability put a lid on appreciation
- The S&P/Case-Shiller index of property values increased 10.8 % from April 2013, the smallest 12-month gain in more than a year, after rising 12.4 % in March.
The Richmond Fed manufacturing index was a bit weaker than expected
- By component, shipments (-8pt to +2) and employment (-7pt to +3) fell, while new orders (+1pt to +4) improved a bit.
- Six-month ahead cap-ex plans fell a bit (-3pt to +16).
- With Empire, Philly Fed, the preliminary Markit PMI and Richmond Fed in hand for June, manufacturing surveys have been consistent with a solid rate of expansion in manufacturing activity.
Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia President Plosser Sees Growth Exceeding 2.4% amid More Job Gains
- The expansion will probably slow to a 2.4 % trend rate after 2015.
- Consumption will probably rise as household balance sheets improve and unemployment declines to 5.8 % by the end of this year and 5.6 % by the end of 2015, he said.
EUROPE & WORLD
European Stocks Drop as German Business Confidence Slips
- The Ifo institute’s business climate index, based on a survey of 7,000 executives, fell to 109.7 in June from 110.4 in May.
- Economists in a Bloomberg News survey predicted a drop to 110.3.
Australia says China free trade deal likely by end of year
- Free trade talks have been stymied by Beijing’s concerns over opening markets to Australian food. There are fears in Australia that an influx of cheap Chinese goods could threaten domestic producers facing a strong local currency and high costs.
- Trade in goods and services between the two countries reached about $150 billion in 2013, according to the Australian government.
TODAY in HISTORY
- Henry VIII was crowned king of England (1509)
- The Soviet Union began a blockade of Berlin. Allied forces responded with what would be known as the Berlin Airlift flying in more than 2 million tons of supplies over the next year (1948)
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