Stocks edge higher…New York Life to buy Cigna…Fiat Chrysler and Peugeot sign merger deal
NEW YORK (AP) – Stock indexes are slightly positive in morning trading on Wall Street as the recent rally shows signs of facing. But the S&P 500 was still clinging to a chance for its longest winning streak in eight months. After five straight days of gains, the S&P 500 has less fuel to push higher. FedEx is slumping sharply after it cut its profit forecast for its fiscal year and reported weaker quarterly earnings than analysts expected.
UNDATED (AP) – New York Life is spending more than $6 billion in cash to buy the group life and disability coverage business of the insurer Cigna. The life insurer said Wednesday that the deal will add millions of customers to its business. It also gives Cigna cash to buy back stock and pare its debt. New York Life has been operating for more than 174 years and is among the nation’s oldest life insurers. The company is owned by policy holders and does not trade publicly. The deal is expected to close in next year’s third quarter.
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – A federal bankruptcy judge has approved two Pacific Gas & Electric settlements totaling $24.5 billion to help pay the losses suffered by homeowners, businesses and insurers in the aftermath of catastrophic Northern California wildfires that sent the nation’s largest utility into a financial morass. Tuesday’s decision by U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Dennis Montali bolsters PG&E’s chances of following its preferred path for getting out of bankruptcy by a make-or-break June 30 deadline. Montali also handed the utility another victory by rejecting attempts by a competing group to offer an alternative proposal to steer PG&E out of bankruptcy instead of the company’s plan.
BERLIN (AP) – German Chancellor Angela Merkel is criticizing a U.S. move to impose sanctions related to a new Russian-German gas pipeline. She signaled today that she wants discussions with Washington but declined to threaten retaliation. The U.S. has been an outspoken opponent of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which will transport natural gas under the Baltic Sea from Russia to Germany. Along with eastern European countries that also oppose the project, the U.S. government argues that it will increase Europe’s dependence on Russia for energy.
NEW YORK (AP) – A judge has thrown out Paul Manafort’s New York mortgage fraud case on double jeopardy grounds. Judge Maxwell Wiley ruled that state law precludes prosecution. Manafort wasn’t in court for Wiley’s ruling today because of a health problem. Manafort’s lawyers had argued that the state charges should have been dismissed because they involve some of the same allegations as federal cases that have landed Manafort behind bars. Manafort was President Donald Trump’s campaign chairman in 2016. He was later convicted in two federal cases stemming from his business dealings and is serving a 7 1/2-year prison sentence.