Business Briefs – August 2, 2016

Stressed Times for Europe’s Banks Despite Rosy Assessment

LONDON (AP) — The results of recent stress tests of Europe’s biggest banks should have reassured investors that the sector can withstand another crisis. But bank stocks across Europe — even those that were effectively given a clean bill of health— fell sharply Tuesday for the second day and weighed heavily on the wider market indexes.

The falls aren’t just confined to Italy, where concerns over the health of the banking sector have been the most acute. Britain’s Barclays dropped, while Germany’s Commerzbank slid as well.

U.S. Consumer Spending Grew A Solid 0.4 Percent In June

WASHINGTON (AP) — American consumers turned in another strong month of spending in June despite a decline in spending on autos. Consumer spending rose a solid 0.4 percent in June after an identical increase in May and a 1 percent surge in April, the Commerce Department said Tuesday. The strength in June came from a surge in spending on nondurable goods, which offset a drop in spending on autos.

Personal income grew a moderate 0.2 percent in June, matching May’s gain.

New Insurance Policy: Abandon ACA Exchanges To Avoid Losses

WASHINGTON (AP) – Aetna became the latest health insurer to cast doubt upon its future in the Affordable Care Act’s insurance exchanges after it called off a planned expansion Tuesday and suggested it could abandon that market completely.

Aetna said it has been swamped with higher than expected costs, particularly from pricey specialty drugs, and it will take a hard look at its current presence on exchanges in 15 states.

Pfizer Beats Street 2Q Forecasts Despite Big Drop in Profit

Rising sales of Pfizer Inc.’s key new medicines and prospects that more drugs will be approved soon have analysts speculating the drugmaker won’t break up after all.

For five years, the maker of fibromyalgia and pain treatment Lyrica has been mulling a split up that might enable the resulting pieces to grow faster.

Pfizer executives said they will decide by year’s end.

P&G Tops Forecasts As Company Cuts Costs, Steps Up Marketing

CINCINNATI (AP) — Procter & Gamble reported a quarterly profit Tuesday that topped Wall Street expectations as the world’s biggest consumer products company worked on slashing costs and pruning its product lineup to offset slow growth.

The maker of Tide detergent, Charmin bathroom tissue and Pantene shampoo said its sales declined for its fiscal fourth quarter, hurt by unfavorable currency exchange rates.

P&G has been trying to transform its struggling business to better focus on bigger brands with growth potential.

CVS Health Tops 2Q Profit Forecasts, Spurred by Acquisitions

CVS Health beat 2Q earnings expectations and nudged its 2016 forecast higher after the drugstore chain and pharmacy benefits manager reaped gains from a couple of deals and its sales of pricey specialty drugs rose.

The company said revenue from established stores rose 2 percent during the second quarter. Overall, CVS Health’s earnings plunged 27 percent to $924 million in the quarter that ended June 30. That was due mainly to a $542-million loss on the early retirement of some debt and $81 million in acquisition-related costs. Adjusted earnings came to $1.32 per share.