Stocks slightly lower…Jobless claims rise…Home sales up
NEW YORK (AP) – Stocks are slightly lower in morning trading on Wall Street after a surprise increase in the number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits gave investors pause. Investors have been nervous about how well the economy is recovering from the pandemic, with lingering concerns that the rapidly spreading delta variant of COVID-19 may cause businesses and cities to put restrictions into place yet again. But all three major U.S. indexes are still on pace to end the week higher after strong gains the past two days. Companies that will report their results after the market close include Intel and Twitter.
WASHINGTON (AP) – The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits rose last week from the lowest point of the pandemic, even as the job market appears to be rebounding on the strength of a reopened economy. The Labor Department says jobless claims increased to 419,000 from 368,000 the previous week. The weekly number of first-time applications for benefits, which generally tracks layoffs, has fallen steadily since topping 900,000 in early January. Americans are shopping, traveling and eating out more as the pandemic has waned, forcing businesses to scramble for more workers. Complaints by companies that they can’t find enough workers have led 22 states to prematurely end a $300-a-week federal unemployment benefit.
UNDATED (AP) – Sales of previously occupied homes rose in June, snapping a four-month losing streak, while strong demand for higher-end properties and ultra-low mortgage rates helped push prices to new highs. The National Association of Realtors says sales of existing homes rose 1.4% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.86 million units. Sales jumped 22.9% from June of last year. The median U.S. home price climbed 23.4% from a year earlier to a record $363,300. Home sales had been slowing as soaring prices and a limited number of available homes on the market discouraged many would-be buyers.
DALLAS (AP) – American Airlines and Southwest Airlines have both posted second-quarter profits, thanks to generous federal pandemic relief that covers most of their labor costs. Today’s reports underscore the progress that airlines are making in rebuilding after the coronavirus crushed air travel – and how much farther they must go to fully recover. Both carriers reported revenue far above 2020 levels. That reflects the rising number of people taking flights in the U.S. – now about 2 million a day, or about 80% of pre-pandemic levels. Domestic leisure travel is roughly back to normal, but business and international travelers are still mostly absent.
FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) – Luxury carmaker Mercedes-Benz is stepping up its move into electric cars. It says it can see a market scenario where all sales are electric by the end of the decade. For the shorter term the Stuttgart-based carmaker says it plans to raise its share of battery and plug-in hybrid cars to 50% of sales by 2025. That’s double the previous forecast. Mercedes is forecasting more electrics just as European Union authorities are calling for even lower limits on carbon dioxide car emissions in order to fight climate change. The latest EU proposal foresees eliminating all C02 emissions from cars by 2035, forcing a shift to electrics and other alternative drives.