US stocks edging higher ... Second straight monthly drop for US housing starts ... Toys R Us files for bankruptcy protection
NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stock indexes have edged higher in early trading today, extending the market’s gains from a day earlier. Banks and technology companies are among the biggest gainers. Energy stocks also are up. Health care and consumer-focused stocks are lagging the most. At 10:33 a.m. Eastern Time, the S&P 500 was up 2 points at 2,506. The Dow was up 24 points, at 22,355. And the Nasdaq was up 5 points at 6,459. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks was down less than 1 point to 1,440.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Homebuilders slowed their pace of construction by 0.8 percent in August, the second straight monthly decline. The Commerce Department says housing starts fell last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.18 million. A 5.8 percent drop in groundbreakings for multi-family buildings, such as apartments, accounted for the decrease. Starts for single-family houses rose 1.6 percent.
NEW YORK (AP) — Toys ‘R’ Us has filed for bankruptcy protection ahead of the key holiday shopping season, but it says its stores will remain open for business as usual. The toy retailer, which has been struggling with $5 billion in debt and intense online competition, says the bankruptcy proceedings are a way for Toys ‘R’ Us to work with its creditors on restructuring the debt beleaguering it.
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Bob Evans Farms is being sold to cereal maker Post in in a deal worth about $1.53 billion. Bob Evans makes things like refrigerated potato, pasta and frozen convenience food items under a number of brands other than Bob Evans, which will strengthen Post’s position in packaged foods. Bob Evans also has a foodservice business. It sold its restaurant chain in April.
WASHINGTON (AP) — The deficit in the broadest measure of U.S. trade rose to the highest level in more than eight years this spring, reflecting in part a drop in fines and penalties paid by foreign companies. The Commerce Department says that the deficit in the current account increased to $123.1 billion, up 8.5 percent from an imbalance of $113.5 billion in the first quarter. It was the biggest deficit since a gap of $150 billion in the fourth quarter of 2008.