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Consumer Shares Decline; Housing Shortage Continues — Consumer Roundup

Shares of retailers and other consumer companies sank as losses in consumer staples shares offset slight gains in consumer discretionary stocks.

Royal Caribbean is postponing a voyage in July after eight crew members tested positive for Covid-19, demonstrating the challenges that arise with restarting cruises during the pandemic. The cruise line detected the cases as part of a routine testing for crew members of the Odyssey of the Seas ship, Royal Caribbean International Chief Executive Michael Bayley said in a Facebook post. The company is moving the Odyssey's sailing out of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., to July 31 from July 3 "out of an abundance of caution," Mr. Bayley said. The crew members' cases come after two passengers sharing a room on the Celebrity Millennium, another Royal Caribbean ship, tested positive last week for Covid-19, though the cruise sailed on.

General Motors is raising its investment in electric vehicles - the second boost in recent months - and pushing deeper into battery production, making it the latest global auto maker to accelerate its transition to plug-in cars. The company also raised its guidance for pretax profit excluding one-time items for the first half of this year. GM attributed the improved outlook to continued strength in the U.S. vehicle market and progress combating the semiconductor shortage that has stymied global vehicle production this year.

A gauge of new-home construction missed consensus expectations for the second month in a row as a housing trade group characterized the shortage of homes for sale as a "housing supply crisis." The seasonally adjusted annual rate of housing starts rose to 1.57 million in May, up from a revised rate of 1.52 million in April, the Census Bureau said. That's 3.6% higher than last month and 50.3% above the seasonally adjusted annual rate at this time last year.

Separately, reports from the National Association of Realtors and Rosen Consulting Group called for action at the governmental level amid the short supply of homes for sale. Construction of new housing in the past 20 years fell 5.5 million units short of long-term historical levels, the NAR said.

 Write to Amy Pessetto at amy.pessetto@dowjones.com 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

June 16, 2021 17:10 ET (21:10 GMT)

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