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Stocks edge higher...Macy’s surges...Home building slides...Factory production rises

May 16, 2018

NEW YORK (AP) — Stock indexes are edging higher in early trading on Wall Street. Macy’s is leading a retail sector rally. Food and beverage stocks and other consumer goods companies have also posted gains. Energy stocks are lagging as crude oil prices declined. Bond prices are little changed.

NEW YORK (AP) — Macy’s shares are surging after the retailer surpassed all profit and revenue expectations for the first quarter of the year and raised its outlook. Macy’s results follow government data released yesterday showing that retail sales rose a solid 0.3 percent in April, after weak spending earlier this year.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Housing starts have fallen to their lowest level since December. The Commerce Department says builders broke ground on fewer apartment buildings last month, pushing overall home construction down 3.7 percent from March. Apartment construction tumbled 12.6 percent to 374,000, while construction of single-family homes edged up a tenth of a percent to 894,000. Still, housing starts are up 10.5 percent from April of last year.

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. factories cranked out more appliances, computers and aircraft last month, lifting manufacturing production for only the second time in five months. The Federal Reserve says factory output rose half a percent in April after a flat reading in March. In the past year, production has increased a modest 1.8 percent. A broader measure of industrial production, which includes mining and utilities, rose 0.7 percent. Mining output jumped 1.1 percent, lifted by higher oil prices.

GENEVA (AP) — Novartis says its top lawyer is retiring over the Swiss pharmaceuticals company’s relationship with a firm owned by President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, Michael Cohen. Company spokesman Eric Althoff said last week that Novartis had entered into a one-year agreement with Cohen’s firm, Essential Consultants, in February 2017 — a month after Trump’s inauguration — to focus on health care policy.

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