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The U.S. Census Bureau reported Monday morning that construction spending in August rose by 0.5% to an estimated seasonally adjusted annual rate of about $1.2183 trillion, above the upwardly revised estimate of $1.2123 trillion in July. Compared with August 2016, total spending is up 2.5%.
For all of 2016, new construction spending rose 4.5% to an estimated total of $1.1624 trillion, compared with the 2015 total of $1.1124 billion. For the first eight months of 2017, construction spending totaled $806.2 billion, up 4.7% year over year.
The consensus estimate by economists surveyed by Bloomberg News called for a month-over-month rise of 0.3% in construction spending for August and a year-over-year spending increase of 1.8%.
For the month of August, private residential construction rose 0.4% month over month to $520.9 billion. Private nonresidential construction rose 0.5% month over month and total private construction spending on a seasonally adjusted annual basis rose 0.4% to $954.84 billion, compared with a revised July total of $950.5 billion.
In the private sector, single-family residential construction is 11.1% higher than it was a year ago and multifamily construction is up 2.3% from August 2016. Private, nonresidential construction is down 2.5% year over year.
In the public sector, seasonally adjusted total spending rose 0.7% compared with July and is 5.1% lower compared with August 2016. Spending on educational facilities increased by 3.5% month over month, and it is down 2.8% from last August’s spending. Public residential construction rose 1.1% month over month and dropped 16.3% compared with August 2016.
Seasonally adjusted annual total public and private construction spending remains well below the year-to-date peak of $1.2367 trillion posted in May.
ENGINE CHIEF ARRESTED
The investigation into Volkswagen AG's emissions cheating scandal took a dramatic turn Thursday, when the former engine chief of the auto maker was arrested in connection with its rigging of diesel powered cars to dupe regulators. Wolfgang Hatz was arrested on Wednesday and arraigned before a judge in Munich on Thursday, after which he was held in pretrial detention. It was not immediately clear whether Mr Hatz would be released on bail. The arrest is significant because Mr Hatz oversaw engine development at the time Volkswagen engineers devised a plan to install illegal software on some diesel engines to make them appear as though they could meet strict restrictions on tailpipe emissions in the US
Mr Hatz, the most senior executive to be arrested in the investigation was also a confidant of Martin Winterkorn, the former chief executive of Volkswagen who resigned days after the scandal was make public. Mr Winterkorn has denied any knowledge of the use of illegal engine software to game emmissions tests.
A motor racing enthusiast, Mr Hatz joined Volkswagen in 2001 and spent much of his career in engine development with earlier stints at BMW, Opel and Fiat. He ran Audi's engine development program from 2001 to 2007 when he also served as Volkswagen's engine chief
In 2011, he was made a board member at Porsche AG. At Porsche he was instrumental in research development of the engine with which Porsche wont the 24 hour Le Mans in 2015
Though authorities are not calling the horrific massacre in Las Vegas a terrorist attack, the atrocity might have a negative impact on a city built on gambling and entertainment.
At least 50 people were killed and more than 200 were injured when a gunman fired an automatic weapon from the roof of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino Sunday night at those attending a large outdoor concert festival in the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history. SWAT units killed the gunman, 64-year-old Stephen Paddock.
CNN reported that hospital officials said 104 patients were receiving care at the University Medical Center of Southern Nevada.
Thousands of people fled in horror during the performance of country singer Jason Aldean, who was on stage outside at the Route 91 Harvest Festival, a three-day country music event.
McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas said that some flights bound for the airport were diverted because of police activity. The airport is just east of the Mandalay hotel. The hotel was placed on virtual lockdown after the shooting, according to guests.
The stakes are high for Las Vegas. Tourism supports 407,000 jobs, or 44% of the work force in southern Nevada, according to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority.
Through August, the desert resort has had 28,541,867 visitors, down 0.9% from a year ago.
Hotel occupancy in Las Vegas is averaging over 90% and revenue per available room, a key measure of profitability in the hospitality industry, was up 4.4% to $116.42. The average daily room rate price was $129.44, an increase of 4.3% from a year ago.
Gaming revenue in Clark County, where Las Vegas is located, has risen 4.3% to $6,687,769,000 for the period ended in August
ON THE RISE
Less than 25% of Chinese consumers who plan to purchase a new smartphone would buy an Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) iPhone. More than 30% say their top choice is Huawei.
The data were reported Sunday by the Financial Times, based on a survey of 1,000 Chinese consumers conducted by an investment research group owned by the paper.
According to the Financial Times survey, “In China, Apple’s new models as a whole are underperforming previous launches.”
The percentage of Chinese consumers who plan to buy a new iPhone 8, 8 Plus or X dropped to 65.1% among those who plan to buy a new iPhone. Last year 75.7% said they planned to purchase a new iPhone 7 or 7 Plus following the new product launches.
Price is significant factor, according to the report:
Apple’s decline in relative popularity in China is partly because market growth is becoming concentrated in mid-range phones that cost Rmb2,000-Rmb2,999 ($300-$450) rather than the more expensive end where Apple aims its models, according to FTCR data on consumer budgets. Costing Rmb8388 (about $1,263) in China, the iPhone X is Apple’s priciest handset yet.
The delayed launch of the iPhone X also plays a role. Taiwan-based investment firm Yuanta estimates that Apple will ship 49 million iPhone 8 and 8 Plus units this year, sharply lower than the 80 million iPhone 7 and 7 Plus units launched a year ago.
Apple stock traded up about 0.2% Monday morning, at $154.42 in a 52-week range of $104.08 to $164.94. The stock’s 12-month consensus price target is $173.15.
Shares of Rigel Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: RIGL) saw a solid gain to start off the week after the company gave an update from its meeting with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Rigel has suffered over the past year, but it seems this update may be the catalyst it has been looking for.
During the meeting, the FDA said that it is not planning to hold an Oncology Drugs Advisory Committee (ODAC) meeting to discuss the New Drug Application (NDA) for fostamatinib in patients with chronic or persistent immune thrombocytopenia (ITP).
With ITP, the immune system attacks and destroys the body’s own blood platelets, which play an active role in blood clotting and healing. People suffering with chronic ITP may live with increased risk of severe bleeding events that can result in serious medical complication, or even death.
Additionally, the FDA indicated that it anticipates meeting the Prescription Drug User Fee Act (PDUFA) action date for the application review, which is April 17, 2018. Earlier, the FDA had conditionally approved the proprietary name Tavalisse.
Anne-Marie Duliege, M.D., executive vice president and chief medical officer of Rigel, commented:
Since we submitted our NDA this spring, we have worked collaboratively with the FDA to answer routine questions as they arise. Our positive interactions with the FDA, including their customary biomedical monitoring (BIMO) inspections at our facilities and clinical sites, are in-line with our expectations and have progressed well. We will continue to work closely with the agency and remain committed to bringing fostamatinib to patients with ITP who are in need of new treatment options.
Excluding Monday’s move, Rigel had underperformed the broad markets, with the stock up 6.7% year to date. Over the past 52 weeks, the stock is down about 29%.
Shares of Rigel were last seen up about 20% at $3.05, with a consensus analyst price target of $5.25 and a 52-week range of $1.94 to $4.38.