Business Briefs – August 23, 2016

U.S. New-Home Sales Climb To Best Level Since Late 2007

WASHINGTON (AP) — Americans stepped up their purchases of new homes in July to the fastest pace in nearly nine years, the latest sign that low mortgage rates and a solid job market are helping support the residential real estate market.

New-home sales jumped 12.4 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted rate of 654,000 annual units, the strongest level since October 2007, the Commerce Department said Tuesday. The demand has eclipsed the pace of construction. Just 4.3 months’ supply of new homes is available on the market, down from 5.2 months a year ago.

Lawmakers Demand Information On EpiPen Price Increase

WASHINGTON (AP) — Lawmakers are demanding more information on why the price for lifesaving EpiPens has skyrocketed.

EpiPens are used to ward off potentially fatal allergic reactions, and the price has surged in recent years. A two-dose package cost less than $60 nine years ago. The cost is now closer to $400.

Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) wrote to Mylan, the company that manufactures the devices, and asked for more information on why the prices have increased. Rep. Grace Meng (D-N.Y.) on Tuesday asked the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee to hold a hearing on the issue. (See related graph on page 30.)

Eurozone Business Resilient In Face of Brexit Uncertainties

LONDON (AP) — Business activity across the 19-country eurozone grew at a steady, moderate pace in August as the region continued to show little concern about the impact of a British exit from the European Union.

A gauge of activity in the services and manufacturing sectors in the eurozone, the so-called purchasing managers’ index, rose slightly to a seven-month high of 53.3 points from 53.2 in July. The index is on a 100-point scale, with the 50 mark separating contraction from growth in activity.

The result echoes the steady growth seen in July and confirms that businesses in the eurozone aren’t overly worried about Britain’s vote to leave the EU.

McDonald’s Recalls Millions Of Happy Meals Fitness Bands

NEW YORK (AP) — McDonald’s is recalling millions of fitness bands given away in Happy Meals because they might cause skin irritation or burns to children.

The fast-food chain said last week that it would stop distributing the bands in Happy Meals. Now it’s recalling 29 million of them in the U.S., and 3.6 million in Canada.

The company received more than 70 reports of incidents after children wore the bands, including seven reports of blisters, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission. The Step-It Fitness plastic wristbands look like watches and are supposed to track physical activity.