Home sales drop 9.7% during May

U.S. existing home sales plunged 9.7% in May. It was the third straight monthly decline and further evidence of the harm the virus pandemic has done to the housing market.

The National Association of Realtors said Monday that the May decline pushed sales down to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 3.91 million, the slowest pace since a home buyers tax credit expired in October 2010.


Roper plant reports coronavirus worker

GE Appliances' Roper plant on Monday reported that a worker at its LaFayette, Georgia, factory has tested positive for the coronavirus.

MarySusan Abell, a company spokeswoman, said that based on Centers for Disease Control guidelines along with guidance from public health officials, there are no co-worker quarantines required after thorough contact tracing.

"The area where the employee worked has been thoroughly cleaned," she said.

Abell said the information was shared with employees at the oven production plant so that they will have the most accurate information about health concerns at the plant.

"We understand it's an unsettling time in our country with the growing number of cases and commit to being as transparent as we can during this time of crisis," she said.

In mid-May, the plant had an employee test positive for the coronavirus, the company said then.


Machinists strike Navy ship builder

More than 4,000 workers went on strike against one of the Navy's largest shipbuilders Monday after rejecting a three-year contract. It was the first strike by production workers at Bath Iron Works in 20 years.

Pickets formed at midnight when the old contract expired in a dispute that focused on subcontracting, work rules and seniority over wages and benefits.

Bath Iron Works already had fallen six months behind on ship construction, partly due to the coronavirus pandemic, and the strike threatened to further delay production of destroyers for the U.S. Navy, the company said.

The three-year contract proposal would have given production workers a 3% raise each year. But the shipbuilders' union objected to more than a dozen changes that it considered to be concessions — including hiring subcontractors.

Machinists Union Local S6, which represents 4,300 workers, voted 87% in favor of a strike.


Court rules SEC can recover fraud money

The Supreme Court has preserved an important tool used by securities regulators to recoup ill-gotten gains in fraud cases.

The justices said by an 8-1 vote Monday that the Securities and Exchange Commission can seek to recover the money through a process called disgorgement. Last year, the SEC obtained $3.2 billion in repayment of profits from people who have been found to violate securities law.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote for the court that the award must be limited to no more than "a wrongdoer's net profits." Justice Clarence Thomas dissented.


Tariffs cut whiskey sales 33% in Europe

A new report says American whiskey distillers have watched more than $300 million in export revenues evaporate since a trade dispute broke out between the U.S. and European Union.

Exports of American whiskey to the EU have fallen 33% since the EU started a retaliatory tariff on those products two years ago. That's according to a report issued Monday by the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States.

American whiskeys include bourbon, Tennessee whiskey and rye whiskey. The EU targeted American whiskey and other U.S. products in response to President Donald Trump's decision to impose tariffs on European steel and aluminum.