Argentina’s economy minister, Axel Kicillof, joined a meeting with a court-appointed mediator in New York as the country tries to resolve a dispute with holdout creditors before a bond-default deadline Wednesday.
Kicillof arrived about seven hours after an Argentine delegation led by Finance Secretary Pablo Lopez began meeting with mediator Daniel Pollack. Tuesday’s talks, the fifth with Pollack since a U.S. judge named him to the post in late June, lasted longer than all the previous meetings.
U.S. District Judge Thomas Griesa blocked Argentina from making a June 30 debt payment because the country didn’t comply with a court ruling that it pay the holdout creditors at the same time. Those investors, led by Paul Singer’s Elliott Management, had refused to accept the terms of the country’s debt restructurings in 2005 and 2010.
If Argentina doesn’t pay the notes Wednesday by the end of a 30-day grace period, it will default for the second time since 2001, when it reneged on a record $95 billion of debt. This time Argentina stands to default on $29 billion of foreign currency, issued under international laws.
● Confidence among U.S. consumers soared in July to the highest level in almost seven years as Americans grew more upbeat about the labor market and the outlook for the economy. The Conference Board’s index rose to 90.9, the highest since October 2007, from a revised 86.4 in June, the New York-based private research group said.
● A dispute over a tanker carrying $100 million in Iraqi Kurdish crude took a surprising turn when a U.S. judge said she lacked jurisdiction given the ship’s distance from the Texas shore and urged that the case be settled in Iraq. Federal magistrate Nancy K. Johnson said that because the tanker was some 60 miles offshore and outside U.S. territorial waters, an order she issued late Monday for U.S. Marshals to seize the cargo could not be enforced. Iraq’s lawyers had laid claim to the oil in a lawsuit filed Monday, saying the autonomous region of Kurdistan sold the crude without permission from the central government in Baghdad.
● Homeownership in the United States hit a 19-year low in the second quarter as tight finances continued to drive Americans toward renting. The seasonally adjusted homeownership rate fell to 64.8 percent, the lowest level since the second quarter of 1995, the Commerce Department said Tuesday. That compared with 65 percent in the first three months of 2014 and 65.1 percent a year ago.
● U.S. home prices rose in May from a year earlier at the weakest pace in 15 months as sales remain modest in the spring buying season. The Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller 20-city home price index increased 9.3 percent in May from 12 months earlier. That’s down from 10.8 percent in the previous month and the smallest annual gain since February 2013. Yearly price gains slowed in 18 of the 20 cities. They accelerated in Charlotte and were flat in Tampa.
● United Parcel Service lowered its full-year profit outlook to $4.90 from $5 per share as the company plans to spend $175 million on improving its shipping during the holiday crush. UPS said it would expand operations on the day after Thanksgiving and make improvements to its Orion software that helps drivers plot routes. Last year, harsh winter weather and a last-minute surge in online orders caused UPS to miss some Christmas deliveries. UPS shares fell 3.7 percent to $98.86, their biggest drop since July 2013.
— From news services
● 8:30 a.m.: Second-quarter gross domestic product.
● 2 p.m.: Federal Open Market Committee meeting announcement.
● Earnings: Booz Allen Hamilton, Whole Foods Market, Yelp.●