Americans stepped up purchases of new homes in August after cutting back in July, suggesting that higher mortgage rates are not yet slowing the housing recovery.
Sales of new homes increased 7.9 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 421,000, the Commerce Department said Wednesday. That comes after sales plunged 14.1 percent in July to a 390,000 annual rate.
The rebound in sales could ease worries that higher mortgage rates have started to dampen sales. It coincided with the best month of sales for previously occupied homes in more than six years. And homebuilders remain more confident in the market than they’ve been in eight years.
Still, some buyers may be racing to close deals before rates rise further.
Orders up slightly for durable goods
Companies placed slightly more orders in August for U.S. long-lasting manufactured goods, stepping up demand for cars, trucks and machinery. Even with the gain, business spending on factory goods may not be strong enough to accelerate economic growth in the July-September quarter.
Orders for durable goods, items expected to last at least three years, increased 0.1 percent in August, the Commerce Department said. That comes after orders plummeted 8.1 percent in July, which was largely because of a steep drop in volatile commercial aircraft orders.
The August orders were held back by a decline in demand for defense aircraft and other military goods. That could be related to steep government spending cuts that took effect in March. Excluding defense spending, orders rose 0.5 percent.
Stryker buying Mako in $1.41 billion deal
Stryker will spend $1.41 billion to acquire Mako Surgical and all of its robotic assisted surgery technology.
The medical device maker will pay $30 per Mako share, an 86 percent premium to its $16.17 closing price Tuesday. The companies put the deal’s value at $1.65 billion.
Shares of Mako soared 84 percent to $29.73 before the opening bell Wednesday.
Mako Surgical Corp., of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., has an estimated 47 million outstanding shares, according to FactSet.
The company’s products include its Rio robotic arm interactive orthopedic system and its Restoris implants.
The deal is subject to approval by Mako shareholders.
iPhone 5S teardown reveals cost of $199
While the iPhone 5S includes a handful of new features that set it apart from Apple’s previous model, the actual cost to make the phone hasn’t changed very much, according to a new study.
An IHS Inc. teardown of the new smartphone found that the components that make up a 16-gigabyte iPhone 5S cost $190.70. Manufacturing costs add another $8, bringing the total production cost to $198.70.
In comparison, the iPhone 5, which hit the market a year ago, cost $197 to make.
Andrew Rassweiler, IHS’ senior director for cost benchmarking services, said the 5S includes features new to the smartphone world, such as a 64-bit apps processor and a fingerprint identification sensor, without a significant jump in costs.
The firm also dissected a 16-gigabyte iPhone 5C, putting its production cost at $173.45, plus $7 in manufacturing costs.