Stocks gain …Trump cancels travel plans amid shutdown…Pending home sales slip
NEW YORK (AP) – Stocks have opened higher as U.S. markets try to maintain the momentum from a late-day rally on Thursday. On Thursday, the Dow erased a 600 point loss and finished with a gain of 260 points. The swing was indicative of the volatility that has gripped the stock market throughout December. Even with recent gains, the Dow and S&P 500 are down around 9 percent for the month. U.S. benchmark oil rose 1.1 percent and was just above $45 a barrel, giving a modest boost to energy stocks.
WASHINGTON (AP) – President Donald Trump has canceled his New Year’s plans and will not be traveling to Florida amid of a partial government shutdown that is expected to continue into the new year. Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney says during a Friday morning appearance on Fox News Channel that the president was in D.C. “all weekend, all Christmas” and is “staying in Washington D.C. over New Year’s.” Trump’s private Mar-a-Lago resort typically hosts a large, ticketed New Years’ Eve party for dues paying members and their guests.
WASHINGTON (AP) – Fewer Americans signed contracts to buy homes in November as higher mortgage rates and prices continued to squeeze would-be buyers out of the market. The National Association of Realtors said Friday that its pending home sales index dipped 0.7 percent last month to 101.4. The index based on contract signings has dropped 7.7 percent over the past year and has recorded 11 straight year-over-year decreases. The rate on benchmark 30-year, fixed rate mortgages was 4.55 percent this week, down from 4.62 percent last week but up from 3.99 percent a year ago.
NEW YORK (AP) – Tesla named Oracle’s Larry Ellison and an executive from Walgreens to its board Friday as part of a settlement with U.S. regulators who demanded more oversight of CEO Elon Musk. Ellison and Kathleen Wilson-Thompson, an executive vice president at Walgreens Boots Alliance, join the board as independent directors, effective immediately. Musk got into trouble with the Securities and Exchange Commission in early August when he said in a tweet that he had “funding secured” to take the electric car company private at $420 per share.
CHELMSFORD, Mass. (AP) – The Army is looking for a few good robots. Not to fight – not yet, at least – but to help the men and women who do. These robots aren’t taking up arms, but the companies making them have waged a different kind of battle. At stake is a contract worth almost half a billion dollars for 3,000 backpack-sized robots that can defuse bombs and scout enemy positions. Competition for the work has spilled over into Congress and federal court.