AP NEWS

Business Highlights

November 26, 2019

___

Ad business a boon for Amazon but a turn-off for shoppers

NEW YORK (AP) — Amazon’s fast-growing advertising business is becoming a problem for some shoppers. Sponsored ads are flooding Amazon’s search results, making it harder to find the products customers are searching for. Amazon has turned its online store into an advertising powerhouse in just a few years. It overtook Microsoft last year as the third largest ad platform in the U.S. following Google and Facebook, according to eMarketer.

___

US home prices rose 2.1% from a year ago

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. home prices increased modestly in September from a year ago, as roughly seven years of rising home values have hurt affordability. The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller 20-city home price index rose 2.1% in September from a year ago. Prices have so steadily outpaced wage growth that the market is now constrained by how much money can be charged. Home values have tumbled 0.7% in San Francisco and increased just 0.8% in New York and 1.7% in Seattle.

___

Trump campaign, GOP groups criticize Google’s new ad policy

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign and the Republican National Committee are harshly criticizing tech giant Google for making it harder for political advertisers to target specific types of people. They say the change will lead directly to suppressing voter turnout. Google has said that, beginning in January, advertisers will only be able to target U.S. political ads based on broad categories such as gender, age and postal code.

___

New home sales slipped 0.7% in October but remain solid

WASHINGTON (AP) — Sales of new homes dipped slightly in October compared with September but remain well above levels of a year ago, with lower mortgage rates helping spur a rebound in purchases. Sales of single-family homes slipped 0.7% last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 733,000. But that decline followed robust gains of 4.5% in September and 7% in August.

___

Best Buy cruises into the holidays

NEW YORK (AP) — Best Buy is entering the critical holiday season with good cheer, raising its profit expectations for the current quarter. The nation’s largest consumer electronics retailer on Tuesday joined a handful of other big box stores like Target and Walmart which are putting up strong sales numbers from the third quarter. Best Buy, once under severe threat from Amazon.com, is holding its own after aggressively expanding its online operations, speeding up deliveries and making visits to its stores for customers a better experience.

___

Consumer Confidence still high despite November decline

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. consumer confidence declined for a fourth straight month in November, but remains high as the holiday shopping season ramps up. The Conference Board said Tuesday that its consumer confidence index ticked down to 125.5 in November from October’s 126.1 in October.

___

Italian government scrambles for deal to save Alitalia

MILAN (AP) — The Italian government is scrambling for a new solution to save struggling airline Alitalia, after a plan involving an international consortium failed. Premier Giuseppe Conte said Tuesday they were evaluating alternatives, adding, “we do not have a market solution within reach.”

___

Dollar Tree, citing tariffs, cuts outlook and shares plunge

CHESAPEAKE, Va. (AP) — Dollar Tree reported weak third quarter profits and trimmed its full-year guidance citing higher tariffs. Dollar Tree said if fully implemented, the tariffs will increase their costs by $19 million in the fourth quarter, or 6 cents per share.  The U.S.-China trade stalemate has led to higher costs across a number of industries, including retail. Retailers must weigh whether to eat those costs or pass them onto consumers, which can be risky.

___

E-commerce giant Alibaba’s shares jump 7% in Hong Kong debut

HONG KONG (AP) — Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba’s shares have jumped 6.6% in their debut on the Hong Kong stock exchange. Alibaba closed at 187.60 Hong Kong dollars ($23.96) after trading as high as 189.50 Hong Kong dollars ($24.21) per share. Its listing price was 176 Hong Kong dollars. Alibaba is already traded in New York. This offering of 500 million new shares raised more than $11 billion in Hong Kong’s biggest listing since 2010 — a rare boost for the city after months of political unrest.

___

Major US stock indexes hit record highs amid trade optimism

NEW YORK (AP) — More encouraging signs that trade talks between the U.S. and China are on track kept investors in a buying mood Tuesday, nudging the major stock indexes to record highs for the second straight day. China said Tuesday that both sides have agreed to more talks. Retailers and other companies that rely on consumer spending helped power the modest rally, which adds to the market’s solid start to the week. Only energy, banks and health care sector stocks ended with losses. Bond prices rose.

___

The S&P 500 index rose 6.88 points, or 0.2%, to 3,140.52. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 55.21 points, or 0.2%, to 28,121.68. The Nasdaq composite added 15.44 points, or 0.2%, to 8,647.93. The Russell 2000 index of smaller company stocks picked up 2.33 points, or 0.1%, to 1,624.23.