US Stocks slipped from record highs yesterday to trade marginally lower as investors await a slew or earnings reports and economic data later this week.
Microsoft has acquired Nuance Communications for $16 billion. The deal gives Microsoft a company that specializes in voice transcription and related artificial intelligence software. Nuance has a particular niche in health care, providing software to digitize conversations from doctor’s visits and facilitate clinical documentation. The acquisition comes about a month after Microsoft closed a $7.5 billion deal for ZeniMax, the parent company of video game publisher Bethesda. That transaction is meant to boost Microsoft’s Xbox against growing video gaming competition.
Federal spending soared in March as the government sent a third round of stimulus payments to Americans, pushing up the budget deficit to a record $1.7 trillion in the first half of the fiscal year. The budget gap is now more than double what it was for the same period a year ago. The deficit was $660 billion last month, 454% higher than it was in the same month a year ago. The government’s spending surge has provided some cushion to the economy from the pandemic’s devastation, but it has also sent deficits soaring to levels not seen since the end of World War II as a proportion of the economy.