Monday Evening Business Brief
June 23, 2014, 4:46 PM
- Wall Street got off to a bumpy start to the new week today as stocks fell for the first time in seven days. This ended a run that had pushed the indexes to all-time highs, as investors assessed corporate news. The Standard & Poor's 500 fell a fraction of a point, or less than 0.1 percent, to 1,962.61. The index closed at a record 1,962.87 last Friday.
- Sales of previously owned U.S. homes posted the best monthly gain in nearly three years in May, providing hope that housing is beginning to regain momentum lost over the past year. The National Association of Realtors reported today that sales of existing homes increased 4.9 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.89 million homes. The monthly gain was the fastest since August 2011, but even with the increase, sales are still 5 percent below the pace in May 2013.
- A special master has been appointed today to preside over negotiations between Argentina representatives and U.S. bondholders aimed at ending a long battle over $1.5 billion in debts. U.S. District Judge Thomas Griesa in Manhattan appointed Daniel A. Pollack to conduct and preside over the talks. Pollack is a Harvard Law School-trained litigator with decades of experience in financial cases.
- The backlog of grain shipments across the Plains has been reduced this spring, but U.S. regulators are requiring BNSF and Canadian Pacific railroads to provide weekly updates on their efforts to catch up before harvest. The U.S. Surface Transportation Board has told BNSF and Canadian Pacific to submit plans to address the backlog and begin filing weekly updates. The order is similar to the updates regulators required on fertilizer shipments this spring after farm groups complained.
- The Supreme Court today made it more difficult for investors to join together to sue corporations for securities fraud. The unanimous ruling could curb the number of multimillion dollar legal settlements companies pay out each year. But it was only a modest step. The justices stopped short of tossing out a quarter-century-old legal theory that might have ended securities class action lawsuits altogether.
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