US stocks mostly higher ...US housing starts fall in April ... Philadelphia sues Wells Fargo

Posted May 16

— Stocks are mostly higher in morning trading on Wall Street as the market adds modest gains to its record high close the day before. Banks and consumer products makers have been among the biggest winners today. At 10:11 a.m. Eastern Time, the Dow was up 39 points at 21,021. The S&P 500 was up 1 point, at 2,404. And the Nasdaq was up 9 points, at 6,159.

Construction of new homes fell for a second straight month in April, pushing activity to the lowest point in five months. The Commerce Department says housing starts fell 2.6 percent in April to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.17 million units. That followed a 6.6 percent decline in March and left home building at its lowest point since last November. The weakness was led by a big drop in construction of apartments, a volatile sector.

American industry expanded production last month at the fastest pace in more than three years as manufacturers and mines recovered from a March downturn. The Federal Reserve says industrial production at U.S. factories, mines and utilities shot up 1 percent in April from March, the biggest gain since February 2014 and the third straight monthly gain. The increase was more than twice what economists had expected.

Philadelphia is suing Wells Fargo & Co., claiming the bank has overcharged more than 1,000 minority homeowners on mortgage loans since 2004. According to, the federal lawsuit cites six confidential informants who used to work for the bank, and says unnecessarily expensive loans drove black and Hispanic borrowers toward foreclosure. Wells Fargo says the city's allegations are "unsubstantiated" and "do not reflect how we operate in Philadelphia" and elsewhere.

Criminal and civil court records updated this week allege that executives of the most popular tuna brands in the U.S. — Chicken of the Sea, Bumble Bee and StarKist — conspired regularly to keep prices high for consumers. A typical can of tuna costs about $1.50 and the U.S. Department of Justice says that price may be the result of price fixing by Thai, South Korean and U.S. seafood dealers, while major retailers who are suing allege they've been ripped off.


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