Business Highlights: Cool housing market, jobless claims
Housing market chills as mortgage rates, prices scare buyers
NEW YORK (AP) — Rising mortgage rates have combined with already high home prices to discourage would-be buyers. Mortgage applications have declined sharply. Sales of previously occupied homes have fallen for five straight months, during what is generally the busiest time of year in real estate. All signals point toward the Federal Reserve continuing to raise interest rates to combat inflation, promising little relief for potential buyers at least for the rest of the year.
Europe’s central bank backs larger-than-expected rate hike
FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — The European Central Bank has raised interest rates for the first time in 11 years by a larger-than-expected amount. It’s joining steps already taken by the U.S. Federal Reserve and other major central banks to target stubbornly high inflation. The ECB’s surprise hike Thursday of half a percentage point for the 19 countries using the euro currency is expected to be followed by another increase in September. Bank President Christine Lagarde says the forecasts don’t point to a recession this year or next but acknowledged the uncertainty ahead. The move raises new questions about whether the rush to make credit more expensive will plunge major economies into recession at the price of fighting inflation.
Stocks end higher as Wall Street’s winning week rolls on
NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks ended higher on Wall Street Thursday, building on their winning week. The gains came amid a deluge of news about the economy, interest rates and corporate profits. The S&P 500 rose 1% after shaking off an early stumble, returning to its highest level in six weeks. The Dow rose 0.5% and the Nasdaq rose 1.4%. Much of the focus was on Europe, where a yearslong experiment with negative interest rates came to a close. In the U.S., reports suggested the economy is slowing more than expected, while a better-than-expected profit report from Tesla headlined a mixed set of earnings.
Americans filing jobless claims at highest level in 8 months
WASHINGTON (AP) — The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits last week rose to its highest level in more than eight months, a sign the labor market may be showing some weakness. Applications for jobless aid for the week ending July 16 rose by 7,000 to 251,000, up from the previous week’s 244,000, the Labor Department reported Thursday. That’s the most since Nov. 13, 2021 when 265,000 Americans applied for benefits. First-time applications generally reflect layoffs. Analysts surveyed by the data firm FactSet expected the number to come in at 242,000.
Amazon to buy primary care provider One Medical for $3.9B
NEW YORK (AP) — Amazon announced Thursday it will acquire the primary care organization One Medical in a deal valued roughly at $3.9 billion, marking another expansion for the retailer into health care services. One Medical runs membership-based primary care practices in several markets around the country and offers virtual care as well as in-person visits. As of this March, it had about 767,000 members and 188 medical offices in 25 markets. The deal marks one of Amazon’s biggest acquisitions, following its $13.7 billion deal to buy Whole Foods and $8.5 billion purchase of Hollywood studio MGM. Amazon will purchase the care provider for $18 per share in an all-cash transaction. The total deal value includes One Medical’s debt.
CVS seeks verification on drugs with possible abortion use
NEW YORK (AP) — CVS Health is asking pharmacists in some states to verify that a few of the prescriptions they provide will not be used end a pregnancy. A spokesman said Thursday that the drugstore chain recently started doing this for methotrexate and misoprostol, two drugs used in medication abortions but also to treat other conditions. Spokesman Mike DeAngelis said the policy started the first week in July in Alabama, Arkansas, Idaho, Oklahoma, and Texas. The request from the drugstore chain based in Woonsocket, Rhode Island, comes after the U.S. Supreme Court last month overturned Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that had provided a constitutional right to abortion.
YouTube to remove videos spreading abortion falsehoods
SAN BRUNO, Calif. (AP) — YouTube will begin removing misleading videos about abortion in response to falsehoods being spread about the procedure that is being banned or restricted across a broad swath of the U.S. The move announced Thursday by the Google-owned video site comes about a month after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, the case that had protected the legality of abortion in the country for nearly 50 years. YouTube said its crackdown will expunge content promoting unsafe at-home abortions, as well as misinformation about the safety of undergoing the procedure in clinics located in states where it remains legal.
American Airlines earns $476 million on record revenue in 2Q
DALLAS (AP) — American Airlines reported a $476 million profit for the second quarter as summer travelers pack planes. It was American’s first profit without government pandemic aid in the COVID-19 era. American said Thursday that it achieved record revenue of more than $13 billion in the second quarter. CEO Robert Isom says he’s encouraged by trends in the business, and the airline predicts it’ll remain profitable in the third quarter.
Facebook gives users new way to see all their friends’ posts
MENLO PARK, Calif. (AP) — Facebook is rolling out an update that enables its 2 billion daily users to more easily view their friends’ posts in chronological order. The feature is the company’s latest attempt to keep people coming back to its social network amid intensifying competition with its trendier rival TikTok. The changes announced Thursday will offer up two different perspectives. When Facebook users first open the app, they will initially see the usual news feed featuring posts selected by an algorithm. But a new “Feed” tab in the shortcut bar of the mobile app will now allow users to see all their friends’ posts in the order they were shared.
The S&P 500 added 39.05 points, or 1%, to 3,998.95. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 162.06 points, or 0.5%, to 32,036.90. The Nasdaq advanced 161.96 points, or 1.4%, to 12,059.61. The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies rose 8.74 points, or 0.5%, to 1,836.69.