Stocks mixed…Home construction rebounds…Aunt Jemima being retired
NEW YORK (AP) – Stocks are mixed in early trading on Wall Street, taking a pause after yesterday’s rally. The major indexes are little changed. The S&P 500 has climbed back within 8% of its record set in February, after earlier being down nearly 34%, as a recent reports have raised hopes that the economy can pull out of its recession relatively quickly. Unprecedented amounts of aid from the Federal Reserve are also helping to support markets. The central bank’s chair will offer a second day of testimony on Capitol Hill later today.
WASHINGTON (AP) – Home construction rebounded 4.3% in May after steep declines caused by shutdowns due to the coronavirus. The Commerce Department says new homes were started at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 974,000 last month after steep declines in April and March. Home builders are hoping that as the nation re-opens, housing will post a strong recovery, helped by super-low mortgage rates. But some analysts caution that the fledgling rebound could be derailed if cases of the coronavirus spike again, causing potential buyers to put off looking for a new home.
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) – The Florida golf course President Donald Trump owns near his Mar-a-Lago getaway is seeking a break on its rent because of lost business caused by the coronavirus outbreak. Trump International Golf Club wants Palm Beach County to defer some of its $88,000 monthly rent. Trump leased the land the private club sits upon from the county two decades ago under a 99-year agreement. Palm Beach County ordered the closure of golf courses in March as part of its pandemic response and they weren’t allowed to reopen for more than a month. The county has taken no action on the rent request.
NEW YORK (AP) – Netflix CEO Reed Hastings and his wife, Patty Quillin, are donating $120 million toward student scholarships at historically black colleges and universities. The couple is giving $40 million to each of three institutions: the United Negro College Fund, Spelman College and Morehouse College. The organizations said it is the largest individual gift in support of student scholarships at HBCUs. Hastings has a history of supporting educational causes, including charter schools. He launched a $100 million education fund in 2016, beginning with money toward college scholarships for black and Latino students. Business leaders have pledged solidarity with the black community amid ongoing protests over police brutality.
NEW YORK (AP) – Quaker Oats is retiring the 131-year-old Aunt Jemima brand, saying the company recognizes the character’s origins are “based on a racial stereotype.” Quaker said its overhauled pancake mix and syrup will hit shelves by the fourth quarter of 2020. The company will announce the new name at a later date. Quaker Foods North America says the company has worked over the years to update the brand, but realizes that it hasn’t been enough. Earlier this year, Land O’Lakes said it would removed images of a Native American woman from its packaging.