It is Wednesday, August 19th and stock futures are slightly higher today after Target & Lowe’s reported blowout earnings. USPS chief DeJoy says he is suspending some of the changes he implemented to the post office until after the 2020 election. Housing starts soar as many Americans re-enter the market and weekly mortgage refinances drop as rates move slightly higher.
U.S. stock futures were higher as Target and Lowe’s reported blowout earnings Wednesday morning, one day after Walmart and Home Depot did the same. The S&P 500 was pacing to add to Tuesday’s record close, which wiped out all the coronavirus stock market losses.
USPS chief Louis DeJoy says he is suspending some changes to the post office until after the 2020 election
Postmaster General Louis DeJoy said Tuesday that he is suspending certain changes at the U.S. Postal Service until after the 2020 election in order to “avoid even the appearance of any impact on election mail.” DeJoy, whose sweeping cost-cutting measures at USPS have raised alarms about widespread mail delays that could impact the November vote, said in a statement that he is temporarily halting “some longstanding operational initiatives” that “predate my arrival at the Postal Service..
Home-building activity has staged a significant turnaround from the coronavirus-related slowdown. U.S. home builders began construction on homes at a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 1.496 million in July, up 22.6% from the previous month and 23.4% from a year ago, the U.S. Census Bureau reported Tuesday. The pace of home building is now 7% down from the pre-coronavirus high.
Mortgage application volume down 3.3% from the previous week, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. Refinance demand to drop 5% for the week. Mortgage applications to purchase a home increased just 1% for the week but were a remarkable 27% higher compared with one year ago.
Johnson & Johnson will buy Momenta Pharmaceuticals for about $6.5 billion in cash to bolster its portfolio of treatments for autoimmune diseases. The deal gives J&J’s Janssen unit access to Momenta’s experimental therapy, nipocalimab, being tested for myasthenia gravis, a neuromuscular disease that causes weakness in muscles. The drug is being developed to treat diseases where the body’s own antibodies attack or damage proteins and cells.