Last Update on April 22, 2014 17:07 GMT
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Sales of existing U.S. homes slipped in March to their lowest level since July 2012 as rising prices and a tight supply of available homes discouraged many would-be buyers.
The National Association of Realtors says sales edged down 0.2 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.59 million. It was the seventh drop in the past eight months.
Sales rose in the Northeast and Midwest, suggesting that cold winter weather did not slow sales. And the Realtors' group says the scant decline shows that sales are stabilizing and may strengthen in the coming months as the spring buying season picks up. Many Realtors report seeing more potential buyers at open houses.
Fewer homes for sale, higher mortgage rates and rising prices have contributed to lower sales since last summer.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The job market for new college graduates is brightening but remains weaker than before the Great Recession began.
The Labor Department reports that the unemployment rate for 2013 college graduates -- defined as those ages 20 to 29 who earned a four-year or advanced degree -- was 10.9 percent. That was down from 13.3 percent in 2012 and was the lowest rate since 7.7 percent in 2007.
Female graduates fared better than men: 9 percent were unemployed as of October last year, compared with 13.7 percent of men. The economy has been generating jobs in many low-wage fields -- such as retail and hotels -- that disproportionately employ women.
Unemployment for recent grads was slightly above the overall 9.6 percent rate for Americans ages 20 to 29 in October.
NEW YORK (AP) -- Valeant Pharmaceuticals and activist investor Bill Ackman have unveiled details of their offer to buy Botox maker Allergan, proposing a cash-and-stock deal that could be worth about $45 billion.
Each Allergan share would be exchanged for $48.30 in cash and 0.83 shares of Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc. common stock. Shareholders can choose a mix of cash and stock.
Allergan Inc. stockholders will own 43 percent of the combined company.
Ackman's Pershing Square Capital Management LP -- Allergan's biggest stockholder at 9.7 percent -- has agreed to take only stock in the transaction.
Valeant is one of Canada's largest pharmaceutical companies. Allergan is based in Irvine, Calif.
McDonald's profit slips; Comcast, Harley-Davidson earnings surge
NEW YORK (AP) -- This morning's earnings reports are mixed.
McDonald's says its profit slipped as global sales remained weak. While global sales edged up 0.5 percent, in the U.S., sales fell 1.7 percent as customer traffic declined. The company cites "challenging industry dynamics and severe winter weather" and predicts a rebound starting this month.
Harley Davidson and Comcast, on the other hand, both saw profits surge in the first quarter.
Harley-Davidson's earnings were 18.7 percent higher than a year ago as motorcycle sales grew worldwide and efficiency efforts took hold.
Comcast saw its net income increase 30 percent as ad revenue surged at NBC, helped by the Winter Olympics in Sochi and Jimmy Fallon's elevation as host of "The Tonight Show."
SUPREME COURT-TV ON THE INTERNET
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Supreme Court justices are weighing whether they can side with broadcasters in a copyright challenge to an Internet startup company without threatening the burgeoning world of cloud computing.
The high court heard arguments Tuesday in the dispute between television broadcasters and Aereo Inc., which takes free television signals from the airwaves and allows subscribers to watch the programs on laptop computers, smart phones and other portable devices.
Several justices expressed concern that a ruling for the broadcasters could hamper the continuing development of cloud computing, which gives users access to a vast online computer network that stores and processes information.
Justice Stephen Breyer said the prospect makes him nervous.
DETROIT (AP) -- General Motors Co. has filed suit in a U.S. bankruptcy court asking a judge to protect the company from legal claims for actions that took place before it emerged from bankruptcy in 2009.
The suit was filed yesterday in the Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York. A hearing has not yet been set.
The filing asserts that the "numerous lawsuits" recently filed throughout the United States dealing with GM's recall of cars with possible ignition switch problems are "retained liabilities" of the old GM, not the new company.
It says the recall involves vehicles "manufactured and sold by Old GM" and asks Judge Robert Gerber to protect the "new GM" from claims.
GM has said at least 13 deaths have been linked to the ignition problem.
DETROIT (AP) -- General Motors is adding 35 product safety investigators as part of a larger restructuring in response to a series of safety recalls.
GM says the new investigators will more than double the size of its current team, to 55.
The company is also dividing its global vehicle engineering organization into two sections. A product integrity section will oversee vehicle and engine engineering as well as safety, while a separate department will oversee parts engineering and advanced vehicle development.
GM's product development chief Mark Reuss says the changes were made to ensure that potential problems are spotted and handled more quickly.
The government is investigating why it took GM more than a decade to recall small cars with a defective ignition switch.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Food and Drug Administration is proposing to speed up development and approval of medical devices that treat life-threatening diseases and debilitating conditions.
Under the Expedited Access Program, companies developing devices for critical and unmet medical needs would get earlier access to FDA staff to discuss their products. The agency says the earlier contact with regulators should result in "earlier access to safe and effective medical devices."
The FDA already has a fast-track program for medical devices that are well-established, such as wheelchairs and hip implants. The agency's new proposal is intended to accelerate approval for high-risk devices, generally those that support or sustain life.
Devices moving through the new review path would have to be medical breakthroughs or treatments for conditions that have no other treatments.
AMSTERDAM (AP) -- Unilever PLC, the producer of countless disposable containers that clutter the landfills of the world, says it is adopting technology that will cut the amount of plastic it needs to use in each bottle by 15 percent.
The technology, developed with Zotefoams PLC of Britain, injects tiny gas pockets into bottle walls, reducing the weight and amount of plastic used, without sacrificing robustness.
Unilever is introducing the technique first in its Dove body wash bottles, which -- over the 33 million sold in Europe in 2013 -- would mean a savings of 275 tons of plastic.
A company spokesman says the company will expand the technique to other product lines, then relinquish patent rights by 2015 so other companies that wish to employ the method can do so.