Business Briefs – September 26, 2016

Sales of New Homes Tumbled 7.6 Percent in August

WASHINGTON (AP) – Sales of new homes retreated in August, one month after surging to the highest level in nearly nine years.

New home sales dropped 7.6 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 609,000 units, the Commerce Department reported Monday. That followed a surge in sales in July when they jumped 13.8 percent to a rate of 659,000, the fastest pace since 2007. Sales had been expected to slow following the July surge.

Even with the August decline, sales of new homes are up a solid 20.1 percent from a year earlier.

Drugmaker Pfizer Decides Not to Break Up Business

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) – Drug giant Pfizer says it won’t split into two publicly traded companies, despite pressure from investors.

The biggest U.S.-based drugmaker said Monday it believes it is best positioned to maximize shareholder value in its current form, but it reserves the right to split in the future if the situation changes. For several years, the drugmaker has been under growing pressure from analysts and investors who argued that by splitting up, the resulting two companies might grow faster than one.

Lands’ End CEO Leaves Company After Less Than 2 Years

DODGEVILLE, Wis. (AP) – The CEO of Lands’ End, recruited from the high-fashion house Dolce & Gabbana in a bit of a culture clash, has stepped down after less than two years on the job.

Federica Marchionni was brought to the Dodgeville, Wisconsin, company with its button-down shirts and casual clothing in February 2015. The company said Monday that Marchionni’s departure was effective immediately.

Deutsche Bank Shares Fall Sharply After Report

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) – Shares in Deutsche Bank fell sharply Monday after a report that the German government won’t intervene with U.S. officials who are pressing the bank to pay $14 billion to settle an investigation into its sales of mortgage-backed securities.

A report from Focus magazine, which cited “government circles” as its source, also said the government had made it clear the bank would not receive any state bailout.

Deutsche Bank said it hasn’t asked for help with the U.S. and isn’t seeking a bailout. The bank has said it expects to pay less than $14 billion after negotiations.

Europe Bank Head Calls Markets ‘Resilient’ After Brexit Vote

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) – The president of the European Central Bank says both markets and the economy have been “resilient” in the wake of Britain’s vote to leave the European Union.

But Mario Draghi cautioned members of the European Parliament in Brussels on Monday that the long-term effects of the breakup “will be much more difficult to foresee.”

Draghi says much will depend on how long it takes Britain to negotiate a new relationship with the bloc that covers future trade conditions and other matters. He added that “the longer the uncertainty about the outcome lasts, the more relevant the consequences will be.”

U.K. CEOs Consider Pulling Up Stakes Because of Brexit

LONDON (AP) – A survey of company CEOs in Britain suggests that a majority is considering moving away from the U.K. amid concerns about the country’s future outside the European Union.

Research by KPMG shows that three-fourths of the 100 executives questioned would consider moving their headquarters or some operations outside Britain in order to keep a link to the EU’s common, tariff-less market.

The British government is likely to take months to trigger the official negotiations to leave the EU, leaving the details of any exit uncertain for years. Some companies, however, may start shifting operations abroad with little fanfare.

New Car Mileage Estimates Drop As EPA Changes Test Formula

DETROIT (AP) – Highway gas mileage estimates for about one-third of all new vehicles sold in the U.S. will fall by one mile per gallon because of a change in how the government calculates the figure.

The change, which begins with the 2017 model year, comes largely because people are loading up cars with more options that use electricity and drag on engines. They’re also running air conditioning more often and driving faster, which cut into mileage.

It could make it hard for buyers to compare the mileage of vehicles from one model year to the next, although the government will update numbers soon so older cars reflect the change.

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