June 26 - Summary of business headlines: A rise in home prices sparks a rally but Wall Street's gains are limited by falling consumer confidence; Rupert Murdoch considers splitting his media kingdom. Conway G. Gittens reports.
Up today. Down tomorrow. Investors bought another ticket for the see-saw ride called Wall Street but the highs are not as intense as the lows. The Dow, S&P 500 and Nasdaq took back only fractions of the previous day's declines. Investors bought in to a report showing a pick-up in home prices. The S&P/Case-Shiller Index of 20 big city areas jumped in April, the third gain in a row. But home prices are still down about 2 percent from the same time last year, leaving survey co-founder Robert Shiller not too confident a bottom is in place. SOUNDBITE: ROBERT SHILLER, YALE PROFESSOR/CO-FOUNDER S&P/CASE-SHILLER INDEX (ENGLISH) SAYING: "It's encouraging and I think that home prices will probably continue to rise for a while but I think that home owners/buyers want to know about the longer term trend and I think it is unclear. There are still negative factors that weigh on home prices." Another dose of reality came by way of the latest consumer confidence figures. The mood of the consumer soured in June to the lowest level in five months. Shoppers are more worried about the future than they are of the here and now. But some economists say if gas prices stay down, consumer confidence should rebound. Rupert Murdoch is turning the page on his newspaper empire. Just weeks after saying he would keep News Corp. intact, the company says a break-up is being considered. The slow growing newspaper business is being split from the money-making entertainment unit, which includes the 20th Century Fox film business along with Fox TV and cable assets. The split is seen as a way for Murdoch to eventually get his hands on the rest of British broadcaster BSkyB, a $12 billion deal he was forced to abandon after public outrage over a hacking scandal. Turning to the latest drama out of Europe: A summit this week is expected to be more tense now with five of 17 euro zone states seeking help. Shares were little changed after a sell-off the day before. Conway Gittens, Reuters