SILVER SPRING, Md. – The number of Americans signing contracts to buy homes rebounded a record 44.3% in May after a record-breaking decline the previous month, as the coronavirus pandemic sidelined both buyers and sellers.
The National Association of Realtors said Monday that its index of pending sales rose to 99.6 in May, the highest month-over-month gain in the index since its inception in January 2001. The pending home sales index plunged 21.8% from March to April to a level of 69.
The contract signings – a barometer of finalized purchases over the next two months – have fallen 5.1% over the past year, but Monday's better-than-expected pending home sales data offers some optimism for the housing market, which was severely hampered by the coronavirus pandemic.
BP petrochemicals business sold off
Oil and gas company BP has sold its global petrochemicals business to Ineos for $5 billion, part of its plan to shift activities to renewable sources of energy.
The company said in a statement Monday that the overlap of the petrochemicals business with the rest of the company is “limited” and that it takes “considerable capital” to grow these businesses.
Petrochemicals are derived from oil and gas production and used to make industrial products like plastics or paints, among other things.
CEO Bernard Looney said the sale represents “another deliberate step in building a BP that can compete and succeed through the energy transition.”
Nissan CEO takes pay cut amid losses
Nissan Chief Executive Makoto Uchida told shareholders Monday he is giving up half his pay after the Japanese automaker sank into the red amid plunging sales and plant closures in Spain and Indonesia.
Uchida apologized for the poor results and promised a recovery by 2023, driven by cost cuts and new models showcasing electric-car and automated-driving technology.
“We will tackle these challenges without compromise,” he said at a live-streamed meeting. “I promise to bring Nissan back on a growth track.”
All the world's automakers have been hurt by nose-diving sales caused by the coronavirus pandemic.