Stocks edge higher...New home sales tumble...Home Depot latest to announce one-time bonus
NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks are mostly higher in early Wall Street trading. Health care companies are gaining on earnings news, but airlines are falling. Technology stocks are mixed. Oil prices continue to move higher, while the dollar is weakening further. The U.S. currency remains at three-year lows.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Americans have cut back their purchases of new homes. The Commerce Department says new-home sales skidded 9.3 percent in December to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 625,000. It was the biggest drop since August 2016. November sales were revised lower — to 689,000 from an originally reported 733,000, but were still the strongest since October 2007. The median price of a new home hit a record $335,400 in December, up 2.6 percent from a year earlier.
ATLANTA (AP) — Home Depot is paying out one-time bonuses of up to $1,000 in cash to its hourly workers in the U.S., citing the recent tax overhaul. The home improvement retailer follows others doing the same, including Disney, Starbucks and Walmart. The Atlanta company anticipates an approximately $150 million fourth-quarter charge mostly tied to taxes on unremitted offshore earnings.
DALLAS (AP) — Southwest Airlines says its fourth-quarter profit jumped to $1.89 billion as the recent tax law reduced the company’s deferred tax liability and should boost 2018 earnings, too. The nation’s fourth-biggest airline also said that travel bookings so far in 2018 appear solid, and it gave a cautiously upbeat forecast of revenue in the first quarter. But the report indicated that Southwest continues to be dogged by rising costs for labor and fuel. Overall, costs are rising nearly twice as fast as revenue.
DALLAS (AP) — American Airlines and Delta have revived a deal that lets them put passengers on each other’s planes when travelers are stranded by disruptions like winter storms and computer outages. The nation’s two largest carriers stopped cooperating to handle each other’s stranded passengers in 2015. Delta complained that it was taking far more passengers who were rebooked from American than it sent the other way.