FINANCIAL MARKETS

Tech stocks pull US indexes lower

NEW YORK (AP) — Another slump in technology stocks is pulling major U.S. indexes lower, offsetting gains in energy companies.

Twitter fell another 6.4 percent in midday trading today, following a 20.5 percent nosedive on Friday after the company reported a decline in monthly users.

Heavy machinery maker Caterpillar rose 2.4 percent after reporting a strong quarter. Asset manager Affiliated Managers Group jumped 4.2 percent after its own results surpassed analysts' estimates.

At 12:51 p.m. Eastern Time, the S&P 500 index fell 20 points, to 2,799.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 127 points, to 25,324. The Nasdaq composite fell 131 points, to 7,607.

Bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.97 percent.

PENDING HOME SALES

US pending home sales rose 0.9 percent in June

WASHINGTON (AP) — More Americans signed contracts to purchase homes in June compared to May, but the volume of pending sales has slipped over the past year.

The National Association of Realtors says its pending home sales index rose 0.9 percent last month to 106.9. But on a yearly basis, pending home sales have fallen 2.5 percent.

There are signs that home-buying has stalled in recent months due to the mix of rising prices, higher mortgage rates and a dearth of sales listings.

On a monthly basis, pending sales increased in all four geographic regions: Northeast, Midwest, South and West. But pending sales have also tumbled in all four regions during the past year, especially in the Northeast and West where homes are generally more expensive.

CBS-FUTURE IN LIMBO

CBS shares falling amid uncertainty over CEO Les Moonves

NEW YORK (AP) — Shares of CBS Corp. are falling on multiple reports that the CBS board is meeting to decide the fate of CEO Les Moonves as the company investigates sexual harassment claims against him.

The stock is down $2.44, or roughly 4.5 percent, to $51.56.

The claims, that Moonves harassed six women over decades, surfaced Friday in a report from the New Yorker. The CBS chief has been a prominent figure in television for decades, credited with turning around a network that had been mired for years at the ratings bottom.

Among other things, Moonves has had a knack for picking hit shows like "Survivor" and "The Big Bang Theory."

The drop in CBS shares follows a 6 percent decline on Friday when the report first surfaced.

BUCKNELL-MOONVES

Bucknell drops references to Moonves in wake of allegations

LEWISBUG, Pa. (AP) — Bucknell University has removed references on its website to alumnus and CBS chief executive Les Moonves amid sexual harassment allegations against him.

The New Yorker magazine published the allegations from several women Friday.

PennLive.com is reporting that Bucknell President John Bravman said in a letter to the university community that the school "will not stand for sexual misconduct — on campus or beyond."

According to the school's website, Moonves, a 1971 graduate, gave the school's commencement address in 2016.

HARLEY DAVIDSON-BIGGER TENT

Harley-Davidson rebels with an electric motorcycle

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Harley-Davidson says it will roll out some new products and stores to broaden its audience and invigorate sales.

The American motorcycle company, facing dwindling sales in its home market, is introducing smaller bikes, electric engines, online sales and urban storefronts.

Next year, Harley will introduce an electric motorcycle called LiveWire, with no clutch and no gears. It's promising to expand that line over the next few years.

With sales rising in Asia and India, Harley-Davidson says it's developing smaller bikes with 250 to 500 cubic centimeter engines, to make the more accessible, but it has no plans to pull back on manufacturing its big bikes.

SPORTS BETTING

Caesars launching sports betting in New Jersey, Mississippi

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) — Two Atlantic City casinos owned by Caesars Entertainment are starting to take sports bets, and another two in Mississippi will do so in mid-August.

Caesars Entertainment tells The Associated Press its Bally's casino in Atlantic City started taking bets today. Its sister casino in Atlantic City, Harrah's will start taking sports bets on Wednesday.

The company says it soon will offer mobile sports betting, as well.

By mid-August, Harrah's Gulf Coast in Biloxi and Horseshoe Tunica, both in Mississippi, will begin taking on-premises sports bets.

The company says it may expand the mobile betting app to other states besides New Jersey.

Bally's and Harrah's will become the third and fourth Atlantic City casinos with sports betting, joining Borgata and Ocean Resort.

IRAN-SANCTIONS

In Iran, economic worries grow as new US sanctions loom

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran's currency has dropped to a record low ahead of the imposition of renewed American sanctions, with many fearing prolonged economic suffering or possible civil unrest.

The rial dropped to 122,000 to the dollar on the thriving black market exchange today, from the previous low set the day before of 116,000.

Already last month, protesters clashed with police outside parliament in Tehran amid three days of demonstrations sparked by the currency's plunge, and worries are growing about what might happen once the new sanctions kick in Aug 6.

The central bank today blamed the currency's free fall on "the enemies' conspiracies."

President Donald Trump's administration announced the restoration of sanctions after he withdrew the U.S. from the Iran nuclear deal in May.

GERMANY-RYANAIR STRIKE

German union says Ryanair pilots vote to strike over pay

BERLIN (AP) — A German labor union says pilots at budget airline Ryanair have voted to stage a strike unless a dispute over pay is resolved in the coming days.

The union, Vereinigung Cockpit, says that 96 percent of pilots voted in favor of industrial action.

It accuses the airline of "playing for time" in talks since January with pilots over a collective pay agreement. The union says it is "offering Ryanair a final deadline to submit a workable proposal by Aug. 6, 2018."

Ryanair has seen staff in Ireland, Portugal, Spain and Belgium go on strike over pay in recent months.

Europe's second biggest airline by passenger numbers didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

A strike next week would affect thousands of German passengers returning from summer holidays.

SPAIN-TAXI STRIKE

Spain in talks with cabs protesting ride-hailing services

MADRID (AP) — Striking taxi drivers in Spain brought traffic in parts of major cities to a standstill today by stopping their vehicles in major thoroughfares in protest against ride-hailing services.

Representatives of taxi driver unions and Spain's government have been meeting to find a way out of the open-ended strike.

The Ministry of Development says it also will hold talks with representatives of drivers working for apps like Uber and Cabify.

Taxi drivers are angered by a court's decision to temporarily suspend Barcelona's move to curb the operation of private companies. They also demand a ratio of 1 to 30 private versus public taxi licenses.

BIG MAC-TURNING 50

50 years on, McDonald's and fast-food evolve around Big Mac

NEW YORK (AP) — McDonald's is fighting to hold onto customers as the Big Mac turns 50, but it's not messing with the makings of its most famous burger.

The company is celebrating the 1968 national launch of the double-decker sandwich, whose ingredients of "two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions and a sesame seed bun" were seared into American memories by a TV jingle. But the milestone comes as the company reduces its number of U.S. stores and customers visit less often. Other more trendy burger options are reaching into the heartland.

The "Golden Arches" still have a massive global reach, and the McDonald's brand of cheeseburgers, chicken nuggets and french fries remains recognizable around the world. But on its critical home turf, the company is toiling to stay relevant.