Markets rally on better-than-expected housing news. Learn more about this and other top business news stories of the day.
Tiffany & Co. Sales Beat Wall Street Expectations
Tiffany & Co. reported Monday its first quarter net income increased 3 percent, USA Today reports. The high-end jewelry company earned $83.6 million, or 65 cents per share, for the period ended April 30. The results exceeded Wall Street expectations, and its shares rose 6 percent in premarket trading. Tiffany’s, with its signature blue gift box, is an indicator of luxury spending. Tiffany & Co sales received boosts from promotional events tied to the company’s 175thanniversary, as well the release of the feature film, “The Great Gatsby,” for which the company designed the jewelry. In the Americas, sales climbed 6 percent to $408 million. European sales also increased 6 percent to $93 million, while sales in Japan rose 2 percent to $145 million.
A Fast & Furious Memorial Day Weekend at the Box Office
Fueled by the release of “Fast & Furious 6,” which earned $120 million in its opening weekend, the movie industry broke Memorial Day box office records, with estimated receipts of $316 million. The latest model in the "Fast & Furious" line enjoyed the biggest opening weekend ever for a Universal Pictures release, Hollywood.com noted. In addition to its domestic grosses, it earned an addition $158 million internationally. In second place at the box office was the R-rated comedy, “The Hangover Part III,” which earned $51.2 million. “Star Trek: Into Darkness,” in its second week of release, earned $47 million. All three films are sequels, which has become typical of summer movie releases. The animated film, “Epic,” a non-sequel, came in fourth with $42.6 million.
The Eyes Have It: Bausch & Lomb Purchased
Valeant Pharmaceuticals, Canada’s largest drug maker, said Monday it was purchasing eye care giant Bausch & Lomb from private equity firm Warburg Pincus. The deal is worth $8.7 billion, CNN reports. Bausch & Lomb, founded in 1853, now employs more than 12,000 people worldwide providing contact lenses, treatments for eye conditions such as glaucoma, and surgical instruments in more than 100 countries. The company expects revenues this year of about $3.3 billion and adjusted operating profit of about $720 million. Valeant said it was looking to take advantage of growing global demand for eye-care solutions generated by an aging population, rising rates of diabetes and new markets in emerging economies, CNN reports.
Late Corn and Soybean Season Further Delayed
Recent rains across the Midwest are the latest weather delay for late-season corn and soybean plantings, Reuters News reports. The U.S. Department of Agriculture last week reported that corn planting is behind its five-year average seeding pace, and is 71 percent complete. Soybean planting is 24 percent complete.
Rain is expected to continue through mid-week preventing farmers, pushing to catch up from weather delays in April and early May, from completing their planting.
New Strain of Bird Flu Appears Drug-Resistant
The first official confirmation of resistance to the antiviral drug Tamiflu was reported in the medical journal Lancet, Bloomberg News reports. A gene mutation known to make Roche Holding AG’s anti-viral drug ineffective was found in two patients infected with the H7N9 bird flu virus in China. One of the patients appears to have become resistant after receiving Tamiflu, a finding that suggests the drug may have fostered the mutation. Tamiflu belongs to a class of drugs that includes Relenza produced by GlaxoSmithKline Plc.
U.S. Stock Markets Rally
U.S. stock markets rallied on better-than-expected housing market news and increased investor optimism, USA Today reports. The Dow Jones Industrial Average surged more than 200 points Tuesday morning, and all three indexes rose 1.5 percent in the first hour of trading. Continued gains throughout the trading period would make today the 20th consecutive Tuesday in 2013 that the Down has closed higher.