U.S. stock prices generally ended mixed today as Amazon Inc.’s announcement that it would acquire Whole Foods Markets pressured prices for consumer staples stocks. The Dow added 23 points, with 15 of its 30 components advancing; the S&P 500 Index added less than a point; and the Nasdaq fell 13 points. Advancers led decliners by almost 4 to 3 on the NYSE while decliners led advancers by nearly 6 to 5 on the Nasdaq. The prices of Treasuries strengthened. Gold futures gained $1.90 to close at $1,256.50 an ounce, and the price of crude oil increased $0.29 to settle at $44.97 a barrel for today’s most actively traded contract.
For the week, the Dow added 0.56% and the S&P 500 added 0.08%, while the Nasdaq was 0.87% lower.
In business news:
- Amazon.com Inc. announced that it will acquire Whole Foods Market Inc. for $42 per share in an all-cash transaction of about $13.7 billion, including Whole Foods’ debt. Whole Foods will continue to operate under the Whole Foods brand. Both companies expect the transaction to close during the second half of 2017. Consumer staples stock prices broadly, and supermarket stock prices particularly, suffered following the announcement on concerns about future product pricing as Amazon moves into the grocery business on a larger scale. Amazon shares (AMZN) were up 2.37% and Whole Foods shares (WFM) rose 29.10%.
- The Bank of Japan (BOJ) Governor Haruhiko Kuroda said the central bank will lag the Federal Reserve in dialing back its stimulus program. Inflation has yet to reach Japan’s 2% target. The yen retreated versus the U.S. dollar on the news. The BOJ, which also signaled it believes the country’s export-driven economic recovery is gaining momentum, will hold short-term interest rates at -0.1% and the 10-year government bond yield around zero.
- The European Union’s statistics agency said wages increased 1.4% during the first quarter of 2017 compared with a year earlier. That is a smaller increase than the 1.6% recorded in the final three months of 2016. The slowdown in pay growth may reinforce the European Central Bank’s caution about removing monetary stimulus measures, because policy makers see a pickup in pay as essential to meeting their inflation target, according to analysts.
- The Russian central bank cut its benchmark interest rate to 9.00% from 9.25%, its third rate cut this year. The bank also said there is room to cut rates again in the second half of 2017. The central bank increased its forecast for economic growth to 1.3% to 1.8% in 2017 from 1% to 1.5% in an earlier forecast. The ruble strengthened versus the U.S. dollar after the rate decision.
- The Commerce Department said housing starts fell 5.5% during May to an annual rate of 1.09 million, the lowest in eight months. Economists surveyed by MarketWatch had been expecting a 5.1% rise to 1.23 million. Homebuilder stocks dropped in trading, with shares (LEN) of Lennar Corp. down 0.36%, D.R. Horton Inc.’s shares (DHI) down 0.50%, shares of Toll Brothers Inc. (TOL) down 0.03%, and PulteGroup Inc.’s stock (PHM) down 0.29%.
Wondering what to do this weekend? You may be surprised to learn that your pet cat, if you have one, may be wondering…and hoping…about your plans for adventure, too. Cats have a reputation for pursuing their adventures on a solitary basis but there is enough evidence to the contrary to support a website, a recently published book, and a growing line of products serving adventure cats and their humans.
As testimony to the growth of the adventure cat phenomenon, an Instagram search for #adventurecats yielded more than 51,000 photos. They feature adventure cats at the beach, in canoes, on hiking trails, or peeking out at a mountain vista alongside their adventure humans from the warmth of a tent.
Journalist Laura J. Moss launched adevnturecats.org two years ago, which gets more than 150,000 visitors each month. She has more than 63,000 followers of her adventure cat Instagram account. Workman Publishing Company published Moss’s book “Adventure Cats” last month.
The adventure cat concept is beneficial because health experts say that the physical activity is good for the cat and for the human. Not every adventure has to include climbing a mountain or fording a stream. A walk in the park can be enough excursion and exercise to yield physical and mental health benefits. June 15 was National Take Your Cat on an Adventure Day, according to adventurecats.org, which partnered with Purina to host a cat-hiking media event in Central Park.
Those who are familiar with the concept explain that there is a process involved in getting ready to embark on adventures with a cat. They suggest introducing a cat to a harness in the house to learn how a cat reacts to it and a leash. Some cats are not interested. Initiating outdoor activities close to home and frequent car rides to assess any potential for motion sickness are also helpful in gauging a cat’s interest-level in more adventurous activities.
Once one has established that a cat is interested in joining in on adventures, it is important to understand that a good time requires some gear. Suggesting just how extensive the preparations can be, consider this article headline, “What to pack: 14 essentials for hiking and camping with a cat.” The gear generally is sensible. It includes the things well-prepared outdoor enthusiasts would reasonably gather before an outing. My favorite on the list was a compass and map. This was definitely intended for the human in the adventure cat duo because I know that the cat would be fine. I, on the other hand, tend to get misdirected easily.