Headlines go here … Philip Morris, Altria end merger talks; Juul CEO steps down … New home sales jump in August
NEW YORK (AP) – Stocks are mixed today, as sharp gains in Nike and tobacco companies are offset by a decline in technology shares. Nike rose 5.6% after its first quarter profit beat analyst estimates. Shares of Altria and Philip Morris International are rising after the tobacco giants said they’ve ended discussions about a merger. Philip Morris gained 6.2%. Technology stocks were the biggest losers early. At 10:26 a.m. Eastern Time, the S&P 500 fell 6 points to 2,961. The Dow gained 28 points, to 26,837. And the Nasdaq dropped 33 points, to 7,961.
NEW YORK (AP) – E-cigarette maker Juul is shutting down broadcast, print and digital advertising and ending lobbying efforts in Washington as safety concerns over vaping intensify. The company says its CEO is stepping down and will be replaced by a senior executive from Altria, the maker of Marlboro. Altria took a 35% stake in Juul in December at a cost of $13 billion. Also, tobacco giants Altria and Philip Morris International say they’re calling off merger talks
NEW YORK (AP) – The CEO of eBay is stepping down as online retailer attempts to sell or spin off some of its major assets. CFO Scott Schenkel will become the interim chief executive as the company seeks a permanent replacement for CEO Devin Wenig. In March , eBay said it was considering the sale or spin-off its ticket-reselling site StubHub and its classified ads business after a push from activist investor Elliott Management. That review is ongoing and the company says it will provide an update on those efforts this fall.
UNDATED (AP) – U.S. new home sales jumped 7.1% in August, as low mortgage rates pull buyers into the housing market. The Commerce Department says new homes sales increased to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 713,000, up from a revised 666,000 in July. So far this year, sales have risen a healthy 6.4%. Much of August’s sales growth came from homes that have yet to be built, a sign that low mortgage rates are behind the surge in purchases. Freddie Mac says the 30-year mortgage rate averaged 3.73% last week, down from 4.65% a year ago.
FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) – The German and Polish units of collapsed tour operator Thomas Cook say they’re entering bankruptcy proceedings and shutting down normal business operations in the wake of the parent company entering liquidation in Britain. Germany’s Thomas Cook says it’s working with the Foreign Ministry and a travel insolvency insurer to help stranded travelers get home. The dpa news agency reports some 140,000 customers right now are travelling on trips purchased through the company.