Mixed emotions: Joy at Pixar and the National Association of Realtors, disgust at health insurer Cigna Corp., and anxiety in the European Union.
Existing Home Sales Exceed Expectations in May
Sales of existing homes rose 5.1 percent in May to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.35 million, the fastest pace since November 2009, MarketWatch reports. According to the National Association of Realtors report on Monday, first-time buyers were encouraged by the strengthening jobs market and better access to mortgages. this year is on track to be the best for home sales since 2007.
Greece Offers “11-Hour Proposals” in Advance of Meeting
The European Union welcomed new proposals from Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras as a “good basis for progress” at talks on Monday. Creditors are seeking 11th-hour concessions to bring Athens back from the brink of bankruptcy, Reuters reports. Officials worked late into the night to produce a deal of a summit of euro zone leaders in Brussels. Tsipras’s leftist government is showing a new willingness to make concessions that would unlock frozen aid to avert default and keep Greece in the currency bloc.
Apple Gives In Swiftly
Less than 24 hours after Taylor Swift posted an open letter decrying Apple for not paying artists royalties during the free three-month trial period of its new streaming music service, Apple said, "You Belong with Me." Apple executive Eddy Cue announced on Twitter Sunday night that the company had changed its mind and that artists would be paid. According to Re/code, Cue said Swift's letter was instrumental in Apple's change of policy.
“Jurassic” Holds at No. 1, but “Inside Out” Scores 2nd Biggest Pixar Opening
“Inside Out” is the first Pixar animated film to not open at No. 1, but its $91.1 million opening weekend is the second-highest in the studio’s history. “Jurassic World” retained its spot atop the weekend box office with $102 million, the second-biggest haul in history for a movie in its second week of release. And thanks to “Spy,” “San Andreas” and the new release, “Dope,” the box office was 65 percent higher than it was in the same weekend last year. “Spy,” in third place, added $10.5 million in its third weekend, while “San Andreas” came in fourth with $8.2 million. The critically acclaimed “Dope” scored $6 million in its opening weekend.
Cigna Rejects Anthem $47 Billion Takeover Bid
Calling its bid “woefully skewed,” Bloomfield, CT-based health insurer Cigna Corp rejected a $47 billion offer to be acquired by its larger rival, Anthem Inc., the Associated Press reports. The rejection came just one day after Anthem went public with its cash-and-stock offer. Anthem has said that the combined companies would have annual revenue of more than $115 billion and provide insurance for about 53 million people. Cigna has registered several complaints about the bid, including Anthem’s lack of a growth strategy. Anthem has been in talks with Cigna since last summer. Four earlier bids were rejected.
Italian Prosecutors Seek Indictment against Bank of China
The Associated Press reports that Italian prosecutors are seeking to indict the Bank of China and 297 people in connection with a massive money-laundering investigation. The suspects are mostly Chinese migrants living in Italy, including four senior managers of the Chinese state bank’s branch in Milan. The case, according to the AP, highlights the large underground Chinese economy in Europe and the failure of the judicial and legal cooperation to keep pace with both legal and illegal economic ties that bind China with the West.
LOT Cancels Flights Following Hacker Attack
Poland’s LOT airline has been forced to cancel about 10 foreign and domestic flights after a cyber attack on its computers, the Associated Press reports. The hacker temporarily paralyzed LOT’s computers at Warsaw’s Frederic Chopin airport on Sunday. Some 1,400 passengers were affected by the cancellations.