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Update on the latest in business:

June 21, 2017


Energy stocks dive anew, offset tech gains; US indexes mixed

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stock indexes were mixed in midday trading today after another dive for energy stocks offset gains for health care and technology stocks.

Bond yields held steady, while stocks in mainland China got a small boost after they got the OK to join a widely followed index of emerging-market stocks.

At 12:55 p.m. Eastern Time, the S&P 500 index was down 2 points at 2,435.

The Dow Jones industrial average was down 48 points, at 21,419.

And the Nasdaq composite rose 35, to 6,224.


Home sales up in May, but buyers face sharply rising prices

WASHINGTON (AP) —Americans bought homes at a quicker pace in May, but the housing market may soon face turmoil because of a shortage of properties for sale and surging prices.

The National Association of Realtors says sales of existing homes edged up 1.1 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.62 million units. Sales have risen 2.7 percent over the past 12 months.

But homebuyers are facing greater financial and time pressures due to shrinking inventories. Sales listings have plummeted 8.4 percent over the past 12 months to 1.96 million. Homes are staying on the market for a median of just 27 days, the shortest period since the Realtors began tracking the measure in 2011.

The median sales price has risen 5.8 percent from a year ago to $252,800.


LONDON (AP) — Oil prices fell further to a new 7 month low today, with the international benchmark for crude sliding below $46 a barrel.

That is just below the price seen in November, when OPEC and 10 other oil-producing countries agreed to cut their production to combat a growing supply glut.

While Russia, Saudi Arabia and other nations involved in the deal have met their targeted cuts, an unforeseen increase in U.S. supply countered those efforts.

With the glut persisting, the outlook for oil prices has been dampened.

Analysts at Commerzbank predict that persistent negative investor sentiment about oil prices could push the international benchmark, Brent, below $45 per barrel.


Ivanka Trump to talk workforce issues with lawmakers

WASHINGTON (AP) — Ivanka Trump is heading back to Capitol Hill to discuss workforce issues with Republican lawmakers. A spokesman for House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy says she’ll meet with McCarthy and other lawmakers for “a discussion on improvements to our workplace and workforce.”

Ivanka Trump appeared with President Donald Trump last week to promote a White House effort to expand apprenticeships.

This is her second visit to the Capitol this week. On Tuesday she met with Sen. Marco Rubio and other GOP lawmakers for a conversation that included expanding the child tax credit and paid family leave.


Trump’s Dubai business partner signs Oman development deal

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — The Trump Organization’s business partner in Dubai has signed an agreement to help develop a waterfront project in Oman valued at $1 billion.

The state-run Oman News Agency reports that DAMAC Properties’ chairman (Hussain Sajwani) signed the deal in Oman’s capital today.

The deal with the Oman Tourism Development Co. calls for DAMAC to help redevelop Port Sultan Qaboos in Oman’s capital by building both commercial and residential units. The project also will include hotels.

DAMAC Properties has built one Trump golf course in Dubai and plans another.

Donald Trump signed the deal with DAMAC before becoming America’s 45th president. His sons helped open the first Dubai course in February.


Fidget spinners named among possible summer hazards for kids

BOSTON (AP) — Thinking of getting your kid the wildly popular fidget spinner? A consumer watchdog group is warning parents to think again.

Boston-based World Against Toys Causing Harm says in unveiling its summer safety report that the ubiquitous spinners, already banned in many schools, can fall apart and the small pieces can create a choking hazard

W.A.T.C.H. says children in Texas and Oregon have been taken to hospitals recently after choking on fidget spinner pieces.

W.A.T.C.H. President Joan Siff says just because a toy is popular does not mean it is safe.

The group also is warning about the fire dangers posed by lithium batteries in hoverboards; the potential for blunt force injuries from plastic weapons based on superhero movies; and impact injuries from non-motorized scooters.


Is Nike joining the Amazon roster?

NEW YORK (AP) — Shares a several major sports chains are hitting 52-week lows on word that Nike may soon be selling its gear directly on Amazon.com.

In the past week, sporting goods stores, big grocery chains and department stores have all been walloped over fears that Amazon would soon become a disrupting force in those sectors.

Amazon said Friday that it would buy Whole Foods for $13.7 billion, pummeling shares of grocers. Retail clothing companies, already in danger as people shop online, took a dive Tuesday when the online behemoth announced its Amazon Wardrobe program for Prime members.

Shares in Dick’s, Foot Locker and Finish Line all tumbled today after Goldman Sachs reported indications that Nike was closing in on a direct sales deal with Amazon.


Intel signs up as top Olympic sponsor through 2024

LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) — The International Olympic Committee says it has signed a deal with technology provider Intel, one week after McDonald’s ended its long-standing sponsorship three years early.

The IOC says Intel will bring its expertise with virtual reality and drones to the games for four Summer and Winter Games through 2024.

At the announcement in New York, the Olympic committee says Intel will focus on “infusing its 5G platforms, VR, 3D and 360 content development platforms, artificial intelligence platforms and drones, along with other silicon solutions to enhance the Olympic Games.”

The IOC says the Santa Clara, California-based firm will “provide real-time virtual reality viewing” of the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics.

Intel restores the IOC’s slate of top-tier sponsors to 13 following the loss of McDonald’s.


Former Uber CEO described as having a combative personality

DETROIT (AP) — Travis Kalanick’s combative personality created the culture that let Uber grow from startup to behemoth in just eight years. But under his direction the ride-hailing company had trouble growing up, leading to his downfall.

Kalanick stepped down late Tuesday, saying in a statement that his departure would help Uber return to growth “rather than be distracted by another fight.” This time the fight was with investors and his board, with several big players pushing for him to move aside.

Ferdinand Dudenhoeffer, director of the Center for Automotive Research at the University of Duisburg-Essen, says, “When you’re at war with customers, employees, service suppliers, you can’t build up a business model and Kalanick was at war with everyone.” Dudenhoeffer says, “There is no business model in being at war.”


Croatian taxi drivers in protest against Uber

ZAGREB, Croatia (AP) — Hundreds of Croatian taxi drivers blocked one of the capital’s main boulevards with their cars today to protest against Uber services in the country.

They demanded that the U.S.-based ride-hailing company’s app be banned, claiming it has been operating illegally in the country for two years.

The Croatian government discussed the protesters’ demands today, and the country’s prime minister said that the use of Uber’s app is illegal and must be regulated.


Rhode Island debates paid sick days for private workers

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Line chefs and waiters who help power Rhode Island’s food industry are at odds with their employers on legislation that would require businesses to provide paid days off when workers call in sick.

Democratic state lawmakers have been negotiating with worker advocates and business groups over a sick leave mandate similar to what’s been adopted in seven other states, as well as cities from New York to Minneapolis.

Some food workers argue that if they can stay home when they’re sick, they’re less likely to spread their illness to fellow employees, and customers.

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