WASHINGTON — U.S. homebuilders’ confidence held steady in April, reflecting an overall optimistic outlook in the market for new homes even as a gauge of current sales fell slightly.
The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo builder sentiment index released Monday was unchanged at 58. It hasn’t budged in three months.
Readings above 50 indicate more builders view sales conditions as good, rather than poor. The index had been in the low 60s for eight months until February.
Builders’ outlook for sales over the next six months and a measure of traffic by prospective buyers edged higher. But builders’ view of current sales conditions fell.
The U.S. housing market looks more tempered after strong growth in 2015, with sales in the first two months of 2016 running below last year’s pace.
WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court is turning away a challenge to Google’s online book library from authors who complain that the project makes it harder for them to market their work.
The justices Monday let stand lower court rulings in favor of Google and rejected the authors’ claim that the company’s digitizing of millions of books amounts to “copyright infringement on an epic scale.” Lower courts have said that Google can provide small portions of the books to the public without violating copyright laws.
The Authors Guild and individual authors first filed their challenge to Google’s digital book project in 2005. Google Inc. has made digital copies of more than 20 million books from major research libraries and established a publicly available search function.
PANAMA CITY — The Panama Canal is taking reservations for ships to transit the waterway’s new locks beginning June 27, the day after a $5.25 billion expansion is inaugurated. The Panama Canal Authority says it processed 25 slots in the first hours since reservations opened.
Four per day are reserved for super-large “New Panamax” vessels, as are the usual 25 a day for “Panamax” ships that pass through the old locks.
The first slot went to a Japanese vessel carrying liquefied natural gas. Gas shipping between Asia and the United States is one of the new businesses that canal authorities are targeting with the expansion.
Canal administrator Jorge Luis Quijano said Monday that officials are pleased with the initial response and hope more and more vessels will pass through the expanded canal.
PURCHASE, N.Y. — PepsiCo’s profit and sales dipped in the first quarter, stung by a strong dollar and some weakness overseas.
But the maker of Mountain Dew, Gatorade and Naked Juice said that when excluding the unfavorable impact of currency exchange rates and an impairment change, its sales and profit rose.
For the period ended March 19, PepsiCo said sales declined 3 percent to $11.86 billion, shy of the $11.9 billion that analysts expected, according to Zacks Investment Research.
The company earned $931 million, or 64 cents per share. A year earlier, it earned $1.22 billion.
Stripping out an impairment charge, earnings were 89 cents per share in the latest quarter, topping the 81 cents analysts expected.
Going forward, PepsiCo anticipates 2016 adjusted earnings of $4.66 per share. Analysts polled by FactSet predict $4.70 per share.
In saturated markets such as the U.S., PepsiCo and other food and beverage companies are trying to lift sales in part by introducing new products or snazzier packaging that convince people to pay a little more.
Even while trying to shore up its struggling soda business in North America, PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi said during a call with analysts Monday that the company has been broadening its portfolio to lessen the reliance on sodas for sales.
MIAMI — Carnival Corp. said it will delay the first cruise from the United States to Cuba if the Cuban government does not allow Cuban-Americans to cruise there.
Cuban regulations bar people born in Cuba from returning to the country by ship. As a result, Carnival had prohibited barred Cuban-Americans from buying tickets on the May 1 cruise from Miami to Havana and a series of other Cuban ports.
Carnival said Monday it was optimistic that Cuba would allow Cuban-Americans to join the cruise by May 1 and would begin selling tickets to Cuban-Americans. The company said that if Cuban-Americans were not allowed to join the cruise, it would be delayed.
NEW YORK — Nordstrom says it will be cutting about 350 to 400 jobs as it looks to be more nimble at a time where shoppers are shifting their spending more online.
The upscale Seattle-based department store chain said the cuts will be primarily in its corporate center and regional support units. The process should be completed by the end of its fiscal second quarter. The changes will mean $60 million in savings this fiscal year.
Nordstrom said it’s first looking at closing unfilled open positions to minimize the impact on current employees.
The changes come as Nordstrom, like other retailers, tries to integrate its physical stores with online services and improve its supply network.
The layoffs follow job cuts by other retailers, including Wal-Mart and Macy’s.
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The board overseeing the nation’s largest public-employee pension fund will consider reinvesting in tobacco stocks it sold off more than a decade ago.
The California Public Employees’ Retirement System investment committee decided Monday to review the tobacco divestment over the next two years and make a final decision in early 2018. Financial advisers found CalPERS has lost up to $3 billion since deciding in 2000 to sell off tobacco stocks.