Global Glance: U.S. home prices rising, Merck to acquire drug developer

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Here are today’s top business headlines from across the nation and world:

Rising home prices lift U.S. wealth, even as stocks fall

WASHINGTON (AP) — Americans’ household wealth rose in the first three months of this year as home values increased, offsetting a drop in stock prices. The Federal Reserve said Thursday that U.S. household net worth increased 1 percent to $88.1 trillion in the first quarter. Americans’ stock and mutual fund portfolios shrank $160 billion, while home values jumped $498 billion. Read more

France: Strikes, trash taint image as it hosts soccer event

PARIS (AP) — The Paris mayor is promising to clear all city streets of garbage by the end of the day after 12 days of strikes that have left a stinky mess – and further clouded France’s image as it hosts the European Championship soccer tournament. Read more

U.S. government investigating Tesla suspension issues

DETROIT (AP) — The U.S. government is investigating Tesla Motors’ Model S sedan for potential problems with its suspension. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says it’s seeking information from vehicle owners and from the electric car-maker. People have posted multiple reports of possible Model S suspension failure on the agency’s Web site. Read more

Merck to buy biotech drug developer Afferent pharmaceuticals

KENILWORTH, N.J. (AP) — Drugmaker Merck is buying Afferent Pharmaceuticals, a privately held biotechnology company developing a chronic cough medication. Merck & Co., based in Kenilworth, New Jersey, says it’s agreed to pay $500 million up front for Afferent, and up to $750 million more if the company meets goals for approval and eventual sales of medicines in development. Read more

Auction of private meal with Buffett likely to draw big bids

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Billionaire Warren Buffett has raised more than $20 million for a San Francisco homeless charity since 2000, and he’s about to add to that total by auctioning off a private lunch. The weeklong eBay auction that began Sunday will wrap up Friday night. Six of the past eight winners paid more than $2 million to dine with Buffett, the investor who leads the Berkshire Hathaway conglomerate. Read more

BP, Aker form joint offshore oil venture in Norway

STAVANGER, Norway (AP) — Norwegian holding company Aker ASA and London-based BP say they have reached a deal to combine their offshore oil and gas assets in Norway. The new joint venture, Aker BP, will merge oil company Det norske oljeselskap, in which Aker is the biggest owner, and BP’s Norwegian unit. Read more

Dow and DuPont set date for shareholder vote on merger

NEW YORK (AP) — DuPont and Dow Chemical said Friday that they will hold separate shareholder meetings next month to vote on their merger. Both meetings will be held on July 20. The two agriculture and chemical companies announced their plan to merge in December. After the merger, the companies plan to split the combined company into three separate publicly traded companies focused on agriculture, material science and specialty products. Read more

Germany to host G20 Summit in Hamburg next year

BERLIN (AP) — The German government says it will host a summit of the Group of 20 major world economic powers in Hamburg on July 7 and 8 next year. The venue contrasts with the remote hotel in the Bavarian Alps where Germany hosted last year’s Group of Seven summit, but the government says it “fulfills all the logistical and security demands.” Read more

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