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US stocks mostly lower ... Housing starts drop for 3rd straight month ... Amazon is buying Whole Foods

June 16, 2017

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks are mostly lower this morning as Amazon’s $13.4 billion deal for Whole Foods Market is sending grocery stores, big retailers and food distributors sharply lower. Amazon and Whole Foods are both climbing. Industrial and utility companies are rising and smaller companies are down. At 10:47 a.m. Eastern Time, the Dow was down 33 points at 21,327. The S&P 500 was down 6 points at 2,426. And the Nasdaq dropped 24 points to 6,142. The Russell 2000 index of smaller company stocks shed 7 points, or 0.5 percent, to 1,403.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Homebuilders slowed down the pace of construction for the third straight month in May, a possible sign that the shortage of houses for sale might worsen. The Commerce Department says housing starts fell 5.5 percent in May to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.09 million units. This comes after a 2.7 percent monthly decline in April and a 7.7 percent drop in March. Home construction is still 3.2 percent higher year-to-date, but that increase has been too modest to address the dwindling supply of homes.

NEW YORK (AP) — Online juggernaut Amazon is buying Whole Foods in a deal valued at about $13.7 billion, including debt. Amazon.com will pay $42 per share of Whole Foods Market Inc. The deal is targeted to close in the second half of the year.

NEW YORK (AP) — Walmart says it’s buying online men’s clothing retailer Bonobos for $310 million in cash, showing that its appetite for hip clothing brands shows no sign of abating as it looks for ways to gain on Amazon. Bonobos, which started out selling pants online, caters to male shoppers looking for help putting together a wardrobe. It’s a sign of the aggressive direction Wal-Mart is taking since buying Jet.com last year and keeping that company’s founder as head of its online division.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has taken to Twitter to ask the public for suggestions on how he can give away some of his fortune to charity. Bezos says he’s looking for ideas that would “be helping people in the here and now — short term — at the intersection of urgent need and lasting impact.” This morning, Bezos tweeted that he’s already received more than 18,000 replies, 6,000 retweets and 11,000 “likes.”

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