Update on the latest in business:

FINANCIAL MARKETS

Stocks edge lower on Wall Street

NEW YORK (AP) _ Stocks moved slightly lower on Wall Street as President Donald Trump ramped up criticism of China just as negotiators began a new round of trade talks. The latest tweets injected anxiety into the markets in an already busy week.

Technology and health care stocks led the market lower. Apple, which reports its financial results after the market closes, fell 1%. Pfizer slid 5.1%.

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Capital One fell 7% after reporting a data breach.

The Federal Reserve is expected to cut interest rates tomorrow and a government jobs report is due out Friday.

TRUMP TRADE

Trump threatens to get ‘much tougher’ with China on trade

WASHINGTON (AP) _ President Donald Trump is threatening to get “much tougher” with China on trade if he wins reelection in 2020. Trump is tweeting his frustration as negotiations between the two countries resume today, two months after talks aimed at ending a tariff war broke down.

Trump complained that China’s leaders always change the deal to their benefit — and he says that if he wins re-election, the deal the Chinese would get will be much tougher than what is being negotiating now, or he tweets… “no deal at all.” Trump also suggested that the Chinese should wait out the election to see if a Democrat wins.

Talks will be held Tuesday and Wednesday in Shanghai to try to resolve disagreements, including those over China’s tech giant Huawei (WAH’-way).

HOME PRICES

US home prices climbed just 2.4% from a year ago

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Home prices rose at a slower pace in May, a sign that affordability pressures are weighing on would-be buyers. The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller 20-city home price index increased 2.4% in May from a year earlier. That marks a slight deceleration from the 2.5% annual gain in April. The sluggish growth largely stems from the most expensive markets where years of price growth have undermined affordability.

Home prices rose less than 2% in Los Angeles, New York, San Diego and San Francisco. Prices in the typically hot market of Seattle fell 1.2% from a year ago, a sharp reversal from an annualized gain of 13.6% in May 2018.

There are signs in the National Association of Realtors report on existing home sales that lower mortgage rates might lift prices.

PENDING HOME SALES

More Americans sign contracts to buy homes in June

WASHINGTON (AP) _ More Americans signed contracts to purchase homes in June, marking the second straight month of growth. The National Association of Realtors says that its pending home sales index rose 2.8% to 108.3 in June, up from 105.4 in May.

Pending home sales are up 1.6% from their pace a year ago, snapping a 17-month streak of annual declines. Sales have likely been helped by lower interest rates, which are on average under 4% on a 30-year mortgage.

All four regions saw contracts up from May and last year, with the West seeing the biggest jump in June at 5.4%. The West is also up the most year-over-year with gains of 2.5%.

Pending sales is a measure of home purchases that are usually completed a month or two later.

CONSUMER SPENDING

Consumer spending up 0.3% in June while incomes rise 0.4%

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Consumer spending rose a healthy 0.3% in June, slightly below the strong gains of the past three months, while incomes turned in a solid 0.4% gain for the fourth straight month.

The Commerce Department said Tuesday that the spending increase followed strong gains of 1% in March, 0.6% in April and 0.5% in May as the consumer rebounded following a lackluster start to the year.

Meanwhile, an inflation gauge favored by the Federal Reserve showed prices rising 1.4% over the past year, well below the Fed’s 2% inflation target.

Fed officials are widely expected to reduce their benchmark interest rate for the first time in a decade at this week’s meeting, in part because of the continued short-fall in inflation despite strong economic growth and unemployment near a 50-year low.

CONSUMER CONFIDENCE

US consumer confidence rebounds sharply in July

WASHINGTON (AP) — American consumer confidence rebounded this month to the highest level since November after drooping in June. The Conference Board, a business research group, says its consumer confidence index rose to 135.7 in July from 124.3 in June. The bounce back from last month’s drop was much stronger than economists expected.

The index measures consumers’ assessment of current economic conditions and their expectations for the next six months. Both rose substantially in July as consumers shrugged off trade tensions with China and a slowing U.S. economy.

Economists keep a close watch on consumers’ spirits because consumer spending accounts for about 70% of U.S. economic activity.

BREXIT

Pound slumps as PM Boris Johnson’s Brexit rhetoric toughens

LONDON (AP) _ British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is visiting Wales on a national tour to reassure voters that his push for Brexit “come what may” won’t hurt the economy and rip apart the U.K. The move has failed to persuade currency markets, as the pound slid to a new 28-month low.

In Parliament last week, Scottish National Party lawmaker Ian Blackford mockingly welcomed Johnson as “the last prime minister of the United Kingdom.” Then, a day after Johnson was booed by protestors in Scotland, he faced another tough reception from farmers _ a group central to the Welsh economy _ who fear economic havoc if Britain leaves the European Union without a divorce deal.

Johnson also plans to visit Northern Ireland, the only part of the U.K. to share a land border with the EU. The status of that currently invisible frontier with the Republic of Ireland has become the main stumbling block to a Brexit deal.

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