Stocks mostly higher…Honda and GM to work together on batteries…Mortgage rates decline
NEW YORK (AP) – Stocks are mostly higher as gains for energy companies have the market on track for its fifth increase in a row. The price of crude oil rose about 1 percent. Industrial companies and retailers also edged higher. Packaged food company J.M. Smucker dropped after issuing a weak quarterly report and a disappointing forecast for the year.
BERLIN (AP) – German pharmaceutical company Bayer AG says it has completed its purchase of U.S. seed and weed-killer maker Monsanto. Bayer says it is now the sole owner of the company and Monsanto shares will no longer trade on the New York Stock Exchange. Bayer has put the cost of the deal at some $63 billion including debt.
TOKYO (AP) – Honda and GM are going to work together in developing batteries for electric vehicles, mainly for the North American market. Both sides say the companies have agreed to collaborate based on GM’s next-generation battery system. The companies said that will allow both manufacturers to continue to keep distinct products, while saving on costs for customers.
WASHINGTON (AP) – Long-term U.S. mortgage rates fell this week for the second straight week, providing a helpful jolt for potential home buyers. Last week’s decline followed weeks of increases that pushed long-term loan rates to their highest levels in seven years. Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac says the average rate on 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages was 4.54 percent, down from 4.56 percent last week.
NEW YORK (AP) – That Starbucks habit just got a little more expensive. Starbucks says it’s raising the price of a regular drip coffee by 10 cents to 20 cents this week in most U.S. stores. It says a small brewed coffee is now $1.95 to $2.15 in a majority of locations. The company says prices remain unchanged on drinks such as lattes and iced coffees in most stores. Overall, Starbucks Corp. says it has hiked prices by an average of 1 to 2 percent in the past year, though the hike may be higher for particular drinks.