By Lucia Mutikani WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Sales of new U.S. single-family homes tumbled to their lowest level in eight months in March, dealing a setback to the housing market recovery. The Commerce Department said on Wednesday sales dropped 14.5 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 384,000 units, declining for a second consecutive month. The housing market has been slammed by an unusually cold and snowy winter, higher mortgage interest rates and a shortage of properties that is limiting options for potential buyers. Data on Tuesday showing a mild decline in home resales last month had offered hope the housing market could be stabilizing.
By Ryan Vlastelica NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. stocks edged lower on Wednesday as weakness in AT&T and biotech names inspired investors to take profits following six straight days of gains, though a rally in Boeing limited losses. AT&T Inc fell 3.4 percent to $35.07 a day after the Dow component reported adjusted earnings that beat expectations by a penny, though that was offset by weak service revenue growth. Verizon Communications fell 1.1 percent to $47.41 while the S&P telecom sector dropped 1.8 percent, by far the worst-performing sector on the day. ...
(Reuters) - Caterpillar Inc released unaudited dealer sales data on Wednesday that showed a deepening deterioration in global demand for its mining equipment but a continued, albeit modest, rebound in sales of construction equipment as well as reciprocating and turbine engines. The world's largest maker of construction and mining equipment said global dealer sales of its yellow earth-moving machines fell 12 percent year-over-year in March, after falling 8 percent in both January and February. Equipment demand from mining customers was especially weak, Caterpillar said, with global dealer sales of those high-margin products tumbling 46 percent in March after falling 37 percent in both January and February. The downturn in demand for mining equipment was especially dramatic in the Asia-Pacific region, where dealer sales slumped 65 percent in March after falling 55 percent in February and 53 percent in January.
Toyota Motor Corp kept its position as the world's best-selling car maker in the first quarter of 2014, beating rivals Volkswagen AG and General Motors Co after it sold record 2.58 million vehicles globally. The Japanese auto maker and its group companies saw worldwide sales in January-March rise 6.3 percent from a year ago, buoyed by strong demand in Japan as well as recovering sales in China and Europe, it said on Wednesday. During the same period, General Motors sold 2.42 million vehicles, up 2 percent year-on-year, while Volkswagen's group-wide global sales were 2.40 million vehicles, a 5.8 percent increase. Toyota also said on Wednesday that in the financial year ended in March, its global group sales topped 10 million vehicles for the first time.
(Reuters) - Some HBO shows and the Internet streaming service HBO Go will be available next month to Amazon Prime customers, the companies said on Wednesday in a move that could lure customers away from Netflix Inc. The companies said this was the first time HBO, the premium cable channel owned by Time Warner Inc, had licensed its programming to an online subscription streaming service. Netflix customers have not been able to watch HBO shows on that service. Amazon Prime customers will have access to the HBO programming on May 21, but most of it will first be older shows such as "The Sopranos" and "The Wire," or a smattering of earlier seasons from current series such as "True Blood." HBO said episodes of shows such as "Girls," "The Newsroom" and "Veep" will be not be available until three years after it shows them.