Activity Highlights: Quiet Housing Market, Unemployment Insurance Claims

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Housing market cools as mortgage rates and prices spook buyers

NEW YORK (AP) — Rising mortgage rates have combined with already high home prices to discourage potential buyers. Mortgage applications fell sharply. Sales of previously occupied homes have fallen for five consecutive months, during what is typically the busiest time of the year in real estate. All signals point to the Federal Reserve continuing to raise interest rates to fight inflation, promising little relief to potential buyers, at least for the rest of the year.

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European Central Bank backs bigger-than-expected rate hike

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — The European Central Bank raised interest rates for the first time in 11 years by a bigger amount than expected. It joins steps already taken by the US Federal Reserve and other major central banks to target stubbornly high inflation. Thursday’s surprise ECB hike of half a percentage point for the 19 countries using the euro is expected to be followed by another hike in September. Bank President Christine Lagarde said forecasts did not point to a recession this year or next, but acknowledged the uncertainty ahead. The move raises new questions about whether the rush to make credit more expensive will push major economies into recession at the cost of fighting inflation.

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Stocks end higher as Wall Street’s winning week continues

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks ended higher on Wall Street on Thursday, building on their winning week. The gains came amid a deluge of news about the economy, interest rates and corporate earnings. The S&P 500 rose 1% after shaking off an early slide, returning to its highest level in six weeks. The Dow Jones rose 0.5% and the Nasdaq 1.4%. Much of the focus has been on Europe, where a year-long experiment with negative interest rates has come to an end. In the United States, reports suggest the economy is slowing more than expected, while a better-than-expected earnings report from Tesla featured a mixed set of earnings.

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Americans filing unemployment claims at highest level in 8 months

WASHINGTON (AP) — The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits last week hit its highest level in more than eight months, a sign that the labor market may be showing some weakness. Claims for unemployment assistance for the week ending July 16 rose by 7,000 to 251,000, from 244,000 the previous week, the Labor Department reported Thursday. That’s the most since Nov. 13, 2021, when 265,000 Americans applied for benefits. The first requests generally reflect layoffs. Analysts polled by data firm FactSet expected the number to hit 242,000.

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Amazon buys primary care provider One Medical for $3.9 billion

NEW YORK (AP) — Amazon announced Thursday that it will acquire primary care organization One Medical in a deal valued at approximately $3.9 billion, marking another expansion for the retailer into services. health care. One Medical operates primary care practices in multiple markets across the country and offers virtual care as well as in-person visits. As of last March, it had approximately 767,000 members and 188 medical practices in 25 markets. The deal marks one of Amazon’s largest acquisitions, following its $13.7 billion deal to buy Whole Foods and the $8.5 billion purchase of Hollywood studio MGM. Amazon will buy the care provider for $18 per share in an all-cash transaction. The total value of the transaction includes the debt of One Medical.

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CVS asks for verification on drugs with possibility of abortion

NEW YORK (AP) — CVS Health is asking pharmacists in some states to verify that some of the prescriptions they provide will not be used to terminate a pregnancy. A spokesperson said Thursday that the pharmacy chain had recently started doing so for methotrexate and misoprostol, two drugs used in medical abortions but also to treat other conditions. Spokesman Mike DeAngelis said the policy began the first week of July in Alabama, Arkansas, Idaho, Oklahoma and Texas. The Woonsocket, Rhode Island-based pharmacy chain’s request comes after the U.S. Supreme Court last month overturned Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that provided a constitutional right to abortion.

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YouTube to remove videos spreading lies about abortion

SAN BRUNO, Calif. (AP) — YouTube will begin removing misleading abortion videos in response to widespread lies about the procedure being banned or restricted in much of the United States. The decision announced Thursday by the Google-owned video site comes about a month after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, the case that had protected the legality of abortion in the country for nearly 50 years. YouTube said its crackdown will remove content promoting unsafe home abortions, as well as misinformation about the safety of undergoing the procedure at clinics in states where it remains legal.

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American Airlines earns $476 million on record Q2 revenue

DALLAS (AP) — American Airlines reported second-quarter profit of $476 million as summer travelers packed their planes. It was the first U.S. profit without government pandemic assistance in the COVID-19 era. American said Thursday it achieved record second-quarter revenue of more than $13 billion. CEO Robert Isom says he is encouraged by industry trends and the airline expects it to remain profitable in the third quarter.

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Facebook is giving users a new way to see all of their friends’ posts

MENLO PARK, Calif. (AP) — Facebook is rolling out an update that makes it easier for its 2 billion daily users to view their friends’ posts in chronological order. The feature is the company’s latest attempt to entice people back to its social network amid growing competition with its hipper rival, TikTok. The changes announced Thursday will offer two different perspectives. When Facebook users open the app for the first time, they first see the usual news feed containing posts selected by an algorithm. But a new “Stream” tab in the mobile app’s shortcut bar will now allow users to see all of their friends’ posts in the order they were shared.

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The S&P 500 added 39.05 points, or 1%, to 3,998.95. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 162.06 points, or 0.5%, to 32,036.90. The Nasdaq advanced 161.96 points, or 1.4%, to 12,059.61. The Russell 2000 Small Business Index rose 8.74 points, or 0.5%, to 1,836.69.

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