Stocks mixed…New home sales rise…FTC fines Facebook $5B, adds oversight for privacy mishaps
NEW YORK (AP) – Stock indexes are mixed in morning trading on Wall Street as a steep decline by health insurers counteracted sharp gains for technology companies. Anthem sank 4.7% after the insurer’s latest financial report showed a rise in costs. UnitedHealth Group lost 2.7%. The entire health care sector was dragged down. Communications companies were weighed down by Facebook as it faces a steep fine for privacy violations. Alphabet, Google’s parent company, also fell.
WASHINGTON (AP) – New home sales rose at a modest pace in June but remain below sales levels earlier this year, suggesting low mortgage rates and a healthy job market are having a limited impact. The Commerce Department says new home sales increased 7% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 646,000. That is up from 604,000 in May but below April’s figure of 658,000. Through the first half of the year, purchases of new homes have increased just 2.2% compared with the same period last year.
WASHINGTON (AP) – Federal regulators are fining Facebook $5 billion for privacy violations and instituting new oversight and restrictions on its business. But they are only holding CEO Mark Zuckerberg personally responsible in a limited fashion. The fine is the largest the Federal Trade Commission has levied on a tech company, although it won’t much dent a company that had nearly $56 billion in revenue last year. Zuckerberg must personally certify Facebook’s compliance with its privacy programs. The FTC says false certifications could expose him to civil or criminal penalties.
WASHINGTON (AP) – Medical device maker Allergan is recalling a type of breast implant linked to a rare form of cancer. The company Wednesday announced a worldwide recall of implants with a textured surface. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said it called for the removal after new information showed Allergan’s Biocell breast implants account for a disproportionate share of rare lymphoma cases. The FDA is not recommending women with the implants have them removed if they are not experiencing problems.
WASHINGTON (AP) – An executive at one of the nation’s largest drug distribution companies said in a legal proceeding that the business does not have an obligation to the public when it comes to shipping prescription opioid painkillers. That’s one of the exchanges contained in thousands of pages of court documents made public this week in lawsuits between two county governments in Ohio and a group of drugmakers and distributors over the toll exacted by opioids, which have been blamed for more than 400,000 deaths in the U.S. since 2000.