Consumer spending posted a moderate 0.6 percent gain in April, the government said in a report that analysts saw as another sign that the sluggish economy will avoid a recession.
The U.S. trade deficit shrank to $26.4 billion in the first quarter, the smallest quarterly imbalance in more than six years. The Commerce Department said the 8.2 percent improvement in the trade balance in the January-March period was a result of record export sales that offset the highest volume of oil imports in more than 12 years.
Existing home sales fell 2.1 percent in April, their third drop in four months, as they continued to lose momentum due to high mortgage rates, the National Association of Realtors said. Resales of single-family homes totaled a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 3.33 million units, down from the March rate of 3.40 million.
Mortgage rates fell this week. Rates on 30-year fixed mortgages fell to an average of 10.33 percent from 10.37 percent last week, while one-year adjustable-rate mortgages dipped to 8.53 percent from 8.56 last week, the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp. said.
Walt Disney Co. said U.S. investors will soon be able to buy bonds whose return will be linked to the performance of stock in Euro Disneyland SCA, the $2.5 billion theme park and resort under construction near Paris. Disney, which owns 49 percent of Euro Disneyland, hopes to raise $600 million through the sale of the bonds.
Anheuser-Busch will end production of LA, its poor-selling, reduced-alcohol beer, on June 30. The beer was introduced six years ago.
Kay Jewelers's junk bonds were downgraded by Standard & Poor's. The Alexandria-based jewelry chain's $100 million of senior subordinated notes were dropped from single-B-plus to single-B-minus based on the decision last week by some lenders to cut Kay's borrowing capacity by a third.
Donald Trump's Taj Mahal Casino Resort in Atlantic City, N.J., and the Trump Shuttle airline announced they are eliminating a total of about 370 jobs as part of streamlining efforts.
The International Monetary Fund agreed to resume lending to Argentina and to back possible reduction of the country's debt to U.S. and other commercial banks.
The World Bank approved two loans totaling $76.6 million to help South Korea strengthen technological institutes and universities. The World Bank also approved $32 million in loans for development projects in the Caribbean.
Club Mediterranee SA of France said it made a pact with the Bulgarian government to transform a 600-bed Black Sea resort into one of its trademark Club Med villages.
Lockheed won a $550 million NASA contract to design and build a solid-rocket booster plant in northeast Mississippi.