Real Estate Daily News Buzz is designed to give news snippets to readers that our (yet to be award winning) editors thought you could use to start your day. They come from various business perspectives, real estate, government, the Fed, local news, and the stock markets to save you time. Here you will find the headlines and what the news buzz for the day will be.
Friday, the Dow Jones Industrial average gained 18 points, or 0.1%, to close at 16,717 Friday, three points above its previous high. The Standard & Poor’s 500 rose three points, or 0.2%, to 1,923. The S&P 500 is also at a record high. The NaASDAQ fell five points, or 0.1%, to 4,242. Benchmark U.S. crude for July delivery fell 87 cents to close at $102.71 a barrel in New York.
DOW, S&P, CLOSE OUT MAY AT RECORD HIGHS
NEW YORK — The stock market closed out May on a mostly higher note Friday, sending two out of the three major U.S. indexes to record highs. Trading was uneven, and indexes moved between small gains and losses for most of the day. A late push higher left the Dow Jones industrial average and Standard & Poor’s 500 at all-time highs, but just barely. May was the best month for investors since February. The S&P rose 2.1% for the month, while the Dow Jones industrial average rose 0.8% and the NASDAQ rose 3.1%.
ZUCKERBERG, WIFE GIFT $120M TO CALIFORNIA SCHOOLS
MENLO PARK, Calif. (AP) — Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, are donating $120 million public schools in the San Francisco Bay Area. The gift, which the couple discussed Tuesday in an exclusive interview with The Associated Press, will be spread over the next five years. It is the biggest allocation to date of the $1.1 billion in Facebook stock the couple pledged last year to the non-profit Silicon Valley Community Foundation. The first $5 million of the $120 million will go to the San Francisco, Ravenswood and Redwood City school districts and will focus on principal training, classroom technology and helping students transition from the 8th to the 9th grade. The couple and their foundation, called Startup: Education, determined the issues of most urgent need based on discussions with school administrators and local leaders.
HOW GOOGLE GOT STATES TO LEGALIZE DRIVERLESS CARS
MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. (AP) — About four years ago, the Google team trying to develop cars driven by computers — not people — concluded that sooner than later, the technology would be ready for the masses. There was one big problem: No state had even considered whether driverless cars should be legal. And yet this week, Google said it wants to give Californians access to a small fleet of prototypes it will make without a steering wheel or pedals. The plan is possible because, by this time next year, driverless cars will be legal in the tech giant’s home state. And for that, Google can thank Google, and an unorthodox lobbying campaign to shape the road rules of the future in car-obsessed California — and maybe even the rest of the nation — that began with a game-changing conversation in Las Vegas.
UK TO COUNT PROSTITUTION, DRUGS WHEN MEASURING GDP
LONDON (AP) — Britain is putting a price on vice. Prostitution and the import, manufacture and consumption of illegal drugs like crack cocaine and heroin will be included in the official estimates of the country’s economy, the national statistics agency said Friday. Some of these activities, like prostitution, are legal in certain European Union countries, and comparable figures are needed. All member states need the same standard because they are used to assess a member state’s contribution to the EU budget. The new estimates also simply seek to get a more realistic picture of the economy — warts and all. At the moment, the only illegal activities included in Britain’s GDP are estimates on alcohol and tobacco smuggling.
FDA TO UPDATE SEAFOOD GUIDANCE FOR PREGNANT WOMEN
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Food and Drug Administration is updating its advice for pregnant women on the appropriate levels of mercury in seafood but Commissioner Margaret Hamburg said Friday that it won’t require mercury labels on seafood packages. In a wide-ranging interview Friday with The Associated Press, Hamburg said the agency will update guidance on mercury in different varieties of seafood and what that means, a long-awaited move aimed at helping women better understand what to eat when they’re pregnant. Eating fish is part of a heart-healthy diet, and many types are good sources of omega-3 fatty acids that are important for brain development. But fish also can absorb small amounts of mercury, a neurotoxin, from streams and oceans — and a small number of varieties harbor higher levels.
VALEANT SWEETENS OFFER FOR ALLEGAN AGAIN
Valeant Pharmaceuticals International has sweetened its offer to buy Botox maker Allergan for the second time this week. The Canadian drugmaker said Friday it will now offer $72 cash and a portion of its stock for each Allergan share. That’s up from an offer of $58.30 per share that Valeant extended on Wednesday. The latest bid could be worth more than $53 billion, based on Thursday’s closing price for U.S.-traded shares of Valeant. But it’s contingent on Allergan engaging in a prompt, good-faith negotiation of a merger agreement, Valeant said. Shares in Allergan, based in Irvine, California, jumped nearly 6% in afternoon trading Friday, while Valeant shares added 1.5%.
FEDS: ARCH COAL WORKERS TOOK $2M IN KICKBACKS
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — Arch Coal employees at a West Virginia mine are charged with pocketing almost $2 million from vendors in a pay-to-play kickback scheme, federal prosecutors said Friday. U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin said the widespread setup required vendors to pay kickbacks to Arch Coal employees to do business with the coal company. Four employees at Arch Coal’s Mountain Laurel mining complex in Logan County are accused of taking kickbacks from 2007 to 2012. Prosecutors said the mine’s former general manager, David E. Runyon, was at the center of the setup. Prosecutors said some companies spent more than $400,000 to maintain lucrative contracts with Arch Coal, one of the biggest coal producers and marketers worldwide.
CHINA FINES EYE-CARE COMPANIES ON PRICING CHARGES
BEIJING (AP) — China has fined Johnson & Johnson, Nikon Corp. and five other makers of eyeglasses and contact lenses on price-fixing charges in its latest effort to use anti-monopoly law to control consumer prices. Manufacturers were fined a total of 19 million yuan ($3.1 million) for setting minimum prices for retailers and limiting their ability to offer discounts, the Cabinet’s planning agency said Thursday. Other companies fined included Essilor International SA of France, Germany’s Car Zeiss AG, Hoya Corp. and Bausch + Lomb, owned by Canada’s Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc. One Chinese company was fined, Shanghai Weicon Optics Co.
McDONALD’S TO THAIS: NO ARCHES IN PROTEST SIGNS
BANGKOK (AP) — McDonald’s is not loving it in Thailand. The burger chain’s famous golden arches have become part of the iconography of anti-coup protests and it is warning activists to “cease and refrain” from using its trademark. One of the McDonald’s stores in Bangkok has become a gathering place for protests following the May 22 military takeover because of its central location. Some protesters have used the McDonald’s logo in their anti-coup signs, replacing the “m” in democracy with the yellow arches. McThai, which operates McDonald’s restaurants in Thailand, said it is maintaining a “neutral stance” amid political turbulence in the Southeast Asian kingdom famous for its ornate temples, vibrant nightlife and white sand beaches.
GOOGLE FACES UP TO IMAGE PROBLEM IN EUROPE
AMSTERDAM (AP) — As Google bowed to a European court ruling to consider users’ claims to remove embarrassing search results, the company took the first step toward preventing any more such punishing decisions — acknowledging it has an image problem in Europe. The company was stunned in May when a court said it would have to accept Europeans’ “right to be forgotten” online and field their requests to delete links to personal information in search results. It opened the doors to such applications on Friday, and took the opportunity to offer a new, humbler message to European authorities.