U.S. consumer spending increase strongest in over six years

U.S. consumer spending recorded its biggest increase in more than six years in April as households stepped up purchases of automobiles, suggesting an acceleration in economic growth that could persuade the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates soon. Fed Chair Janet Yellen said on Friday an interest rate hike would probably be appropriate in the “coming months,” if the economy continued to pick up and the labor market added jobs.

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U.S. consumer spending increase strongest in over six years

Dow and S&P edge lower; health stocks prop up Nasdaq

Stronger-than-expected April consumer spending data on Tuesday bolstered Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen's stance on Friday that a rate hike in the coming months would likely be appropriate given an improvement in the economy. “I think this is a classic wait-and-see the data kind of week,” said Philip Blancato, chief executive officer of Ladenburg Thalmann in New York. At 11:35 a.m. ET (1535 GMT) the Dow Jones industrial average was down 69.73 points, or 0.39 percent, at 17,803.49, .

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Dow and S&P edge lower; health stocks prop up Nasdaq

Carl Icahn acquires ‘large position’ in Allergan, backs CEO

(Reuters) – Billionaire investor Carl Icahn said on Tuesday he had acquired a “large position” in Botox-maker Allergan Plc and that he was very supportive of Chief Executive Officer Brent Saunders. Shares of Allergan rose 0.8 percent to $237.85 in mid-morning trading. Icahn, who did not disclose details of the stake, said in a statement on his website that he was confident in Saunders' ability to enhance value for all Allergan shareholders.

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Carl Icahn acquires ‘large position’ in Allergan, backs CEO

Oil up as U.S. summer draws beckon; set for fourth month of gains

Oil prices rose on Tuesday, heading for the four straight monthly gain, with investors betting on higher U.S. fuel demand as peak driving season arrived in the No. 1 oil consumer. Data from market intelligence firm Genscape showed a drawdown of 686,700 barrels at the Cushing, Oklahoma delivery point for U.S. crude futures in the week to May 27, traders said, a report that provided further support to oil. Strong U.S. consumer spending data also supported oil prices, despite concerns that a robust economy could encourage the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates soon.

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Oil up as U.S. summer draws beckon; set for fourth month of gains

Cost squeeze helps VW brand back to profit after diesel debacle

By Andreas Cremer BERLIN (Reuters) – Volkswagen's mass-market VW brand returned to profit in the first quarter, in a sign deep cost cutting is starting to revive the business at the heart of the German carmaker's emissions test cheating scandal. Europe's biggest motor manufacturer said on Tuesday group underlying operating profit fell 5.9 percent to 3.1 billion euros ($3.5 billion) in the quarter. Volkswagen plunged to a record loss last year after making provisions at a group level to cover the costs of the diesel emissions scandal and ditched its long-standing CEO after it admitted in September to cheating tests in the United States.

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Cost squeeze helps VW brand back to profit after diesel debacle

U.S. home prices rise more than expected in March

Annualized U.S. single-family home prices rose more than expected in March, a survey showed on Tuesday. “The economy is supporting the price increases with improving labor markets, falling unemployment rates and extremely low mortgage rates,” said David M. Blitzer, managing director and chairman of the index committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices. Home prices in three U.S. cities, Denver, Seattle and Portland, Oregon, showed the highest year-over-year gains, the survey showed.

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U.S. home prices rise more than expected in March

Verizon, unions agree to pay raises, new jobs to end strike

One analyst called the deal “very rich” for workers at Verizon, the No. 1 U.S. wireless provider, which reached the tentative pact with the Communications Workers of America (CWA) on Friday. The CWA said Verizon agreed to provide a 10.9 percent raise over four years while Verizon put the increase at 10.5 percent. According to the CWA, both numbers are correct, with the union's calculation including compounded interest as subsequent raises are determined from a new base salary.

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Verizon, unions agree to pay raises, new jobs to end strike

New credit card scrutiny sends Indonesians back to cash

By Gayatri Suroyo and Fransiska Nangoy JAKARTA (Reuters) – Indonesia's plan to track all credit card transactions in a bid to crack down on rampant tax evasion is pushing people back to cash, stifling government efforts to track illicit money flows. A new government decree requiring credit card providers to submit transaction details – including customer and merchant identities – to the tax office as of May 31 appears to be spooking consumers with card activity falling in April. The return to paper currency in the already heavily cash-based economy is a temporary setback not only for the government's drive to boost tax revenues but also its fight against money laundering, corruption and terrorism finance.

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New credit card scrutiny sends Indonesians back to cash

China bets on duty-free paradise to keep luxury spenders at home

China's efforts to lift local consumption, spur domestic tourism and keep within its borders citizens that splurge in Milan or Seoul have spawned a duty-free paradise on the southern island of Hainan that it hopes will satisfy a lust for luxury. Firms such as the owner of the world's biggest duty-free shopping center, China International Travel Service Corp Ltd (CITS) , are capitalizing on a relaxation of duty-free spending restrictions in February, with HNA Group Co Ltd [HNAIRC.UL] reporting a 160 percent surge in sales. Government initiatives, including 19 more duty-free shops nationwide, come as sales of the types of luxury goods that line duty-free shelves fell 2 percent last year.

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China bets on duty-free paradise to keep luxury spenders at home

Suncor ramping up operations after Canada wildfire

By Ethan Lou TORONTO (Reuters) – Suncor Energy Inc's facilities north of Fort McMurray, Alberta, are expected to partially restart by the end of the week, the company said on Sunday, the latest sign Canadian oil sands producers are coming back online after a massive wildfire. The start-up of Suncor's base plant and MacKay River sites is under way, with “initial production” expected by the end of the week, the company said in a statement, which noted initial production at its Firebag site began early last week. A spokeswoman declined to specify the production volume expected as operations resume.

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Suncor ramping up operations after Canada wildfire