Apartments propel April’s surge in home construction

Home construction in the U.S. surged in April to its highest pace in five months with almost all of the gains coming from the volatile apartment sector, a sign that Americans are still struggling to buy single-family homes.

The Commerce Department said Friday that builders started work on 1.07 million homes at a seasonally adjusted annual rate in April, up 13.2 percent from March. The gains were driven by a 42.9 percent jump in the construction of apartments and condominiums. The rate of building single-family homes rose just 0.8 percent.

 

Pfizer can apply for early OK for new breast cancer drug

Pfizer Inc. said Friday that the Food and Drug Administration will let the drugmaker apply for approval of its heavily touted experimental breast cancer medicine based on midstage patient testing results. That means Trenton, N.J.-based Pfizer won’t have to do bigger – and very expensive – late-stage patient studies to apply for approval of palbociclib.

Having to run those additional studies could have delayed Pfizer’s application by up to a couple of years, keeping patients and doctors waiting and ultimately reducing how much money the drug could bring Pfizer before its 20-year patent expires.

Break up Google? Official in Germany wants to consider it

A senior German official has warned that Google may have such a dominant market position that a breakup of the company should be considered.

Such a move – which would be difficult to enforce because Google is based in the United States – could be a last resort for countries seeking to prevent it from crowding out competitors.

The comments by Sigmar Gabriel, Germany’s economy minister and vice chancellor, reflect fears that the continent’s Internet industry risks being smothered by American rivals. On Thursday, some 400 companies – including major German and French publishers – announced they were submitting a new anti-trust complaint against Google.

 

Jury: Anheuser-Busch didn’t discriminate against executive

Anheuser-Busch did not discriminate against a former executive by paying her significantly less than a male predecessor, a jury in St. Louis decided Friday.

The panel of seven women and five men deliberated for more than 10 hours over two days before siding with the company, a one-time family business now owned by Belgium-based brewer InBev.

Counting bonuses and stock options, Francine Katz earned about $1 million annually after her 2002 promotion to senior management at the company. But she argued that her salary was half that of her predecessor.

— From news service reports