Increase in home prices helps push stocks higher

NEW YORK — Home sales gave stocks a boost Tuesday, helping major indexes recoup some losses from the day before. Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. surged after the media conglomerate said it may split into two companies.

PulteGroup, Lennar and other housing stocks climbed after news that a measure of national home prices rose 1.3 percent in April, the first increase in seven months. The Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller home price index showed a rise in 19 out of the 20 major cities tracked; Detroit was the only city where prices fell.

PulteGroup rose 49 cents to $9.72 and Lennar rose 81 cents to $27.39.

News Corp. jumped 8 percent. The company confirmed that it’s contemplating a breakup into two publicly traded companies. The split would divide its publishing from its entertainment businesses. The media empire includes The Wall Street Journal, Fox News Channel, and newspapers in Britain and Australia. News Corp.’s stock leaped $1.68 to $21.76.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 32.01 points to close at 12,534.67. The broader Standard & Poor’s 500 index gained 6.27 points to 1,319.99. The Nasdaq composite rose 17.90 points to 2,854.06.

 

Bangor Savings completes 11th straight year of growth

Bangor Savings Bank posted earnings growth for the fourth quarter and the fiscal year that ended March 31, marking its 11th consecutive year of growth.

For the quarter that ended March 31, net income rose to $4.18 million from $4.10 million in the year-ago quarter. For the full year, net income rose to $18.46 million, up from $17.68 million a year earlier.

Assets totaled $2.58 billion as of March 31, up from $2.48 billion a year earlier. For the year that ended March 31, the bank generated nearly $700 million in new in-state loan commitments.

Bangor Savings also said it expects to open a new branch in Augusta and make continued investments in online and mobile-banking capabilities.

The company announced its fiscal-year results at Monday’s annual meeting. The bank, founded in 1852, has 56 branches and employs nearly 700 workers.

 

Founder reportedly weighs taking Best Buy private

NEW YORK — Best Buy founder Richard Schulze may be considering a bid to take the electronics retailer private, according to a report by The Wall Street Journal.

The report, citing people familiar with Schulze’s thinking, sent Best Buy shares higher Tuesday afternoon. The stock closed up 5 percent.

Schulze, 71, founded the company in 1966 and is its largest shareholder by far with a 20 percent stake. The second-largest holder, the mutual fund manager Fidelity Management & Research Co., has 6.9 percent.

Schulze said earlier this month that he was considering options for his stake. The WSJ report reiterated that Schulze could still sell his stake. But it said his “preference” is to take the company private, although the process of finding potential buyout partners is in the early stages.

Shares of Best Buy rose 86 cents, or 4.7 percent, to close at $19.37. The stock slipped 11 cents in after-hours trading. The stock is down about 21 percent since the start of the year.