NEW YORK (AP) – Stock indexes are slightly lower in early trading on Wall Street. Trading has been relatively quiet across markets, with Treasury yields, gold and crude oil all making only modest moves. Homebuilders and construction-material companies are gaining after a report showed a bigger jump in home construction during June than economists expected.
WASHINGTON (AP) – The Federal Reserve has opened one of its lending programs to nonprofit groups, including hospitals, educational institutions, and social service organizations. The Fed said today that its Main Street Lending Program, which is targeted to mid-sized businesses, will now extend credit to nonprofits with at least 10 employees and endowments of less than $3 billion. Under the program, banks make loans to borrowers that meet the Fed’s criteria, and the central bank then purchases 95% of the loans to reduce the risk to the bank and enable it to engage in more lending. It’s the first time since the Depression that the Fed has lent directly to companies. Main Street’s goal is to lend to businesses that were successful before the pandemic struck but are now struggling.
SILVER SPRING, Md. (AP) – Construction of U.S. homes jumped 17.3% in June as some states opened back up, but still lags behind last year’s pace after this spring’s massive slowdown in building activity due to the coronavirus outbreak. The Commerce Department reports that new homes were started at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,186,000 in June after a modest recovery in May followed steep declines in April and March. Even after a second straight month of increases, construction activity remains 4% below last year’s pace. Applications for building permits, a good indication of future activity, rose 2.1% to 1.24 million units.
UNDATED (AP) – The leading manufacturer of N95 masks in the U.S. says it has investigated 4,000 reports of fraud, counterfeiting and price gouging in connection with the product and filed 18 lawsuits. 3M is among the largest global producers of the N95 mask, which has been approved by the U.S. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. 3M says courts have issued six temporary restraining orders and four preliminary injunctions so far to stop N95 sales that it says are unlawful. The company says in some cases, it has led to criminal charges. In one case filed in U.S. District Court in Minnesota, 3M sued Legacy Medical Supplies and four people connected with the company, claiming they were trying to sell 3M brand N95 respirators at huge markups, the Star Tribune reported.
NEW YORK (AP) – A person is in custody in connection with the killing of a 33-year-old tech entrepreneur found dismembered inside his luxury Manhattan condo. A law enforcement official says the person in custody has been Fahim Saleh’s personal assistant. Saleh was found dead in a gruesome scene Tuesday afternoon inside his apartment on the Lower East Side. Saleh was the CEO of a ride-hailing motorcycle startup called Gokada that began operating in Nigeria in 2018. Authorities say a relative called police after going to check on Saleh and making the gruesome discovery.