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The Journal Gazette

Thursday, March 22, 2018 1:00 am

Briefs

Home sales rebound in February

News services

WASHINGTON – U.S. sales of existing homes rebounded in February after declining for the previous two months, a sign that many Americans are still looking to buy despite rising prices and a shrinking number of homes available on the market.

The National Association of Realtors said Wednesday that sales rose 3 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.54 million. This increase after declining sales in January and December suggests that competition will be heated during the traditional spring home-buying season.

“The upward trend in home sales remains intact, but there are headwinds in the way,” said Jennifer Lee, a senior economist at BMO Capital Markets.

The shortage of properties for sale is creating a challenge for would-be homebuyers. As sales listings have steadily declined, prices have been climbing at the same time as a stronger job market has elevated demand – and, also, competition – for purchasing homes.

General Mills has mixed 3rd quarter

General Mills' fiscal third-quarter results were mixed as the company dealt with rising freight and commodity costs. The maker of Cheerios cereal, Yoplait yogurt and other packaged foods also lowered its full-year adjusted earnings outlook.

For the period ended Feb. 25, General Mills Inc. earned $941.4 million, or $1.62 per share. A year earlier, the Minneapolis-based company earned $357.8 million, or 61 cents per share.

The company said the current quarter's performance primarily benefited from the recent tax overhaul.

Adjusted for one-time gains and costs, earnings came to 79 cents per share. That met the expectations of analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research..

EU OKs Monsanto buyout by Bayer

The European Union has approved Bayer's buyout of Monsanto in a massive agriculture business deal, but says they will have to shed over $7.4 billion in firms and other remedies to ensure fair competition in the market.

The $57 billion takeover has been watched by rivals and environmental groups, who are fearful that the number of players in the business of selling seeds and pesticides will shrink further and give one company a suffocating grip on the food chain.

EU Antitrust Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said Wednesday that the remedies proposed by Bayer and Monsanto are worth well over 6 billion euros in business and “meet our competition concerns in full.”

Monsanto in September accepted Bayer's offer, in which it also assumes $9 billion in debt, in a move affecting anything from tomatoes and cucumbers to the use of pesticides across the globe. The United States still needs to give its approval to the merger.

AT&T, feds heading to trial on takeover

Opening arguments are set for today in the federal government's case to block AT&T's efforts to gobble up Time Warner in a case that could shape how you get – and how much you pay for – streaming TV and movies.

AT&T says it needs to buy Time Warner to compete with the likes of Amazon, Netflix and Google.

The Justice Department's antitrust lawyers worry that consumers will end up paying more to watch their favorite shows, whether on a TV screen, smartphone or tablet.