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Struggling for direction...Cancer drug news boost drugmakers' shares...Brighter outlook in the air

Monday - 6/3/2013, 3:20pm  ET

NEW YORK (AP) -- Stocks have been struggling for direction. The Dow has been higher most of the day, but the S&P has been bouncing between gains and losses, while the Nasdaq has been mostly lower. One piece of economic data exerting downward pressure is The Institute for Supply Management's index of manufacturing activity for May. It showed the sector contracting thanks to slumping economies overseas and weak business spending in the U.S.

NEW YORK (AP) -- Bristol-Myers Squibb Inc. and Merck & Co. are among the hot stocks today. Shares were up about 5 percent after the drugmakers announced encouraging results on experimental cancer medicines over the weekend. Both companies' drugs for advanced cases of melanoma are in a new class that boosts a patient's immune system to identify and destroy tumor cells, as opposed to treatments like chemotherapy that kill healthy cells along with cancerous ones. Analysts say such drugs could become the new standard for treating many cancer types.

DETROIT (AP) -- U.S. auto sales rebounded strongly in May. GM says it had its strongest sales month since 2008, while Chrysler, Ford and Toyota also reported increases. Nissan had its highest May sales ever after cutting prices on seven popular modes. Only Volkswagen saw a decline. Demand for pickup trucks was particularly strong.

BERLIN (AP) -- A global airline industry group says it expects carriers to generate $12.7 billion in profits this year thanks to packed planes. The International Air Transport Association's estimate is 20 percent higher than previously forecast and would be a 67 percent increase over 2012 earnings. Lower oil prices and seat occupancy rates of better than 80 percent account for the improved picture.

NEW YORK (AP) -- Dunkin' Donuts is adding a new breakfast sandwich to its menu that doesn't sound like it would land on many healthy options lists. It's fried eggs and bacon on a split glazed doughnut. Dunkin' has been testing the sandwich in Massachusetts and getting considerable buzz online. The company says the sandwich is 360 calories, while its turkey sausage sandwich is 390 calories. The sandwich makes its national debut on Friday, which the company is calling "National Donut Day."


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