U.S. Homebuilder Sentiment Rises In August as Sales Improve
WASHINGTON (AP) – U.S. homebuilders are feeling more optimistic about the housing market this month, reflecting strong growth in new-home sales and prices.
The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo builder sentiment index released Monday rose two points to 60 following a downwardly revised reading of 58 in July. Readings above 50 indicate more builders view sales conditions as good rather than poor. The index has mostly held at 58 this year since rising to 61 in January.
Foreign Holdings of Treasury Debt Rose in June
WASHINGTON (AP) — Foreign holdings of U.S. Treasury securities rose in June after falling in the two previous months.
The Treasury Department reported Monday that total foreign holdings climbed 1.1 percent in June to $6.28 trillion after declining 0.5 percent in May and 0.8 percent in April.
Japan, the second-biggest foreign owner of Treasury securities, increased its holdings by 1.3 percent to $1.15 trillion. That helped offset a reduction by China, the top foreign owner of Treasury debt, which trimmed its holdings in June by 0.3 percent to $1.24 trillion.
Swiss Lonza Buys U.S. Diet Supplement Supplier InterHealth
BERLIN (AP) — Pharmaceutical supplier Lonza of Switzerland says it is buying InterHealth Nutraceuticals, Inc., a California-based company that makes ingredients for use in dietary supplements, in a deal worth up to $300 million.
InterHealth, a portfolio company of Kainos Capital, is based in Benicia, California. Lonza said Monday that the deal is expected to close in September and will have an immediate positive impact on its earnings.
Lonza says InterHealth has a range of over 15 branded ingredients and the acquisition will complement its own sports nutrition, weight-loss and pet health offerings among others.
Hotels in 10 States, DC, May Have Been Hit by Hackers
NEW YORK (AP) — An undisclosed number of people who used credit cards at 20 Hyatt, Sheraton, Marriott, Westin and other hotels in 10 states and the District of Columbia may have had their cards compromised as a result of hack of the hotels’ payment system.
HEI Hotels & Resorts, which operates just under 60 hotels and resorts under a variety of brands, said that after being notified by its credit card processor of a potential breach, it conducted an internal investigation that found malware on its payment processing systems at the 20 properties.
Japan’s Economy Slows As Exports Falter
TOKYO (AP) — Japan’s economy barely grew in the April-June quarter, as weaker exports and business investment weighed on the faltering recovery.
Growth for the world’s third-largest economy was flat on a quarterly basis, adding to pressure on the Bank of Japan to take further action to stimulate slack corporate spending.
The economy expanded at a 0.2 percent annual pace in the last quarter, compared with a revised 0.8 percent rate in January-March period. Economists had forecast that it would maintain or even slightly better that pace in April-June. But private demand, which accounts for nearly two-thirds of business activity, rose only 0.2 percent.
German Central Bank Suggests Raising Retirement Age to 69
BERLIN (AP) — Germany’s central bank is arguing that the country’s retirement age should ultimately be lifted another two years to 69, a call that received a frosty response from the government.
The government decided a decade ago to raise the retirement age from 65 to 67. The increase is being introduced gradually and will apply to all retirees by 2029.
Since then, there have been periodic calls for people in Europe’s biggest economy to work even longer.
Buffett’s Company Adds to Stakes in Apple and Phillips 66
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Warren Buffett’s company is taking an even bigger bite of Apple stock and adding to its sizeable stake in Phillips 66. Berkshire Hathaway filed an update with regulators Monday on its roughly $130 billion U.S. stock portfolio.
Berkshire said it held 15.2 million Apple shares at the end of June, up from the 9.8 million share stake it first disclosed in the spring. Berkshire now owns 78.8 million shares in oil refiner Phillips 66, up from 75.6 million.