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Top financial news today, June 24, 2014: U.S. stock markets dipped on Monday as corporate mergers continued to make headlines and the United States saw home sales rise for a second consecutive month. Last month, sales of previously owned homes increased by 4.9%, the fastest one-month gain since August 2011.
Here's the rest of the financial news to watch today:
- A Big Deal: Bloomberg reports that Chinese suppliers to Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) will mass produce the company's largest iPhone screens next month. Current iPhone screens in the 5s model are just 4 inches. The new models include a 4.7-inch screen, which will be available in September, and a 5.5-inch screen, which may arrive to retailers shortly after the iPhone 6 release.
- Today's Economic Calendar: Today's schedule features the S&P Case-Shiller Index, reports on consumer confidence and new home sales, and the FHFA Housing Price Index.
- Control: Yoga-apparel company Lululemon Athletica's (Nasdaq: LULU) founder Dennis Wilson has engaged Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS) to explore ways to restructure his company's board of directors. Just last week, Lululemon's board engaged in a very high-profile battle over the company's growth strategy, leading to Wilson's decision. It appears that Wilson may team up with a private equity firm and engage in a proxy fight.
- Changing Area Codes: In an effort to skirt U.S. corporate income taxes, Monsanto Company (NYSE: MON), the world's largest grain company, considered the $34 billion purchase of rival Syngenta AG (NYSE ADR: SYT). Though the deal was never completed, the purchase would have allowed Monsanto to relocate its tax address to Switzerland. With the U.S. corporate income tax twice the level of Canada and three times more than Ireland, multinational companies are ramping up merger activity and moving operations outside of the United States.
- Tell the Truth: The Wall Street Journal reports that U.S. regulators have subpoenaed information from Clorox Co. (NYSE: CLX) and Dean Foods Co. (NYSE: DF) over an insider-trading investigation of activist investor Carl Icahn. The investigation of Clorox dates back to July 2011, when Icahn agreed to purchase the company. The Dean Foods probe is exploring trading activity of the stock after it spun off WhiteWave Foods in 2012. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and Federal Bureau of Investigation are exploring whether Las Vegas gambler William Walters and golfer Phil Mickelson traded on inside information about Icahn's possible deals.