Factory output rises for 5th straight month
Factory production rose 0.1 percent in June, the Federal Reserve said Wednesday, down from a gain of 0.4 percent in the previous month. May’s data were revised slightly lower, but April’s reading was revised much higher. Overall industrial production — which includes manufacturing, mining and utilities — edged up 0.2 percent in June, down from a 0.5 percent gain in May.
Homebuilder confidence surges in July
Homebuilders’ confidence in the housing market surged in July to the highest level since January, reflecting a pickup in sales of new homes and heightened expectations for sales the second half of the year. The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo builder sentiment index released Wednesday rose to 53, up four points from a revised reading of 49 in June.
Higher gasoline costs raise producer prices
A 6.4 percent jump in gasoline costs pushed up the prices U.S. companies receive for their goods and services in June, but overall inflation remains tame. The Labor Department said Wednesday that the producer price index, which measures the cost of goods and services before they reach the consumer, rose 0.4 percent last month.
Foreign holdings of Treasury debt rise in May
Foreign buyers of U.S. Treasury securities increased their holdings in May to another record high. The Treasury Department reported Wednesday that total foreign holdings rose 0.3 percent to $5.98 trillion, up from $5.96 trillion in April. China, the top foreign buyer of U.S. Treasury debt, increased its holdings for the first time since January, raising them by 0.6 percent to $1.27 trillion.
BMW recalls 3-Series cars for air bag problem
BMW is expanding a recall of its most popular models to fix an air bag problem. The German automaker says it will recall 1.6 million 3-Series cars from model years 2000 to 2006. The company said Wednesday that it’s a precaution because other automakers using similar systems have reported problems.
Lay’s newest flavor could be cappuccino
Frito-Lay, the snack division of PepsiCo Inc., said cappuccino-flavored chips are one of the four finalists for its second annual “Do Us a Flavor” contest, which gives people a chance to create a new potato chip and win $1 million. The other finalists are Cheddar Bacon Mac & Cheese, Mango Salsa and Wasabi Ginger.