Talk of U.S.-China meeting boosts stocks
U.S. stocks jumped Thursday as China and the U.S. said they will hold their first trade discussions in months, a potential sign of progress in the trade war. Energy and metals prices and shares of industrial companies turned higher. The S&P 500 index climbed 22.32 points, or 0.8 percent, to 2,840.69. The Dow industrial jumped 396.32 points, or 1.6 percent, to 25,558.73 as Walmart and Boeing made big gains. The Nasdaq composite rose 32.41 points, or 0.4 percent, to 7,806.52. Target added 1.7 percent to $82.07, Procter & Gamble rose 1.7 percent to $83.69, and McDonald’s climbed 1.2 percent to $161.73.
Walmart Q2 sales growth best in a decade
Walmart on Thursday said its second-quarter sales grew at the fastest clip in more than 10 years as Americans spent more in stores and online. The retail giant Thursday said U.S. same-store sales rose 4.5 percent in the second quarter. Online sales grew 40 percent as consumers bought more groceries, apparel and seasonal items such as swimming pools, air conditioners and gardening supplies. A low unemployment rate also helped boost consumer spending, the company said. Shares of the world’s largest retailer soared more than 10 percent following the news, boosting the overall retail market.
Ford commits $740M to Detroit tech site
Ford will spend nearly $740 million to renovate the Michigan Central Station and other sites the automaker purchased in Detroit’s Corktown neighborhood, the company said. Ford announced in June that it had bought the properties to form a new tech campus that would focus on self-driving vehicles. When Ford announced its plans for the train station, to much public fanfare, it said it envisioned as many as 5,000 people working there when the project is complete.
Banks clamping down on farm loans
More farm loan applications are being rejected in rural parts of 10 Plains and Western states in reaction to weak farm commodity prices and income. The latest Rural Mainstreet survey says nearly one-third of bank CEOs reported rejecting a higher percentage of farm loans, while nearly 55 percent indicated their banks had raised collateral requirements. Creighton University economist Ernie Goss says the recent trade disputes have weakened “already anemic grain prices.” Bankers from Minnesota, Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming were surveyed.
Seniors file bankruptcy in record numbers
Despite an economic boom, Americans 65 and older are filing for bankruptcy in record numbers, and the trend is likely to continue, according to new research that warns that seniors are facing a financial crisis with “increasing force and urgency.” It’s a concern, some experts say, that hasn’t significantly hurt economic growth but presents a serious social problem that has been getting worse for more than two decades as debt and medical costs go up and seniors’ savings and pension benefits go down.