Latest Articles: Business
Obama's Corporate Tax Plan Would Slash Rates, Breaks
Post Date: 2012-02-22 15:12:17 by Brian S
President Obama's long-awaited business tax plan would lower the corporate tax rate from 35% to 28% while slashing popular tax breaks enjoyed from Wall Street to Main Street, making it unlikely to get far in Congress in this election year. The plan would make up lost revenue as a result of lower rates by eliminating popular tax loopholes and simplifying a business tax system that an administration statement called "uncompetitive, unfair, and inefficient." "It provides tax breaks for moving jobs and profits overseas and hits companies that choose to stay in America with one of the highest tax rates in the world," Obama said in a prepared statement. "It is ...
Existing Home Sales Nationwide At 1-1/2 Year-High, Supply Falls
Post Date: 2012-02-22 11:31:44 by Brian S
Home resales nationwide surged in January to a 1-1/2 year high and the supply of properties on the market was the lowest in almost seven years, pointing to a nascent housing recovery. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) said on Wednesday existing home sales increased 4.3 percent to an annual rate of 4.57 million units last month, the highest since May 2010. "Overall this is not such a bad number. It's reflective of a better jobs market, but the improvement is going to be in fits and starts," said Yelena Shulyatyeva, U.S. economist at BNP Paribas in New York. However, the tenor of the report was weakened somewhat by a sharp downward revision to December's sales ...
Construction Jobs Rebound Amid Pick-Up in U.S. Home Remodeling
Post Date: 2012-02-22 11:29:26 by Brian S
Construction hiring is picking up as Americans invest in renovating their homes amid signs that the worst of the housing-market declines may be over. The number of people working in residential remodeling grew 5.8 percent in December to 250,700 from a year earlier, based on preliminary data released Feb. 3 by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This was the highest growth for these jobs -- which account for about 5 percent of construction employment -- since December 2006, before the housing bubble burst. Sales of existing homes, which rose 4.3 percent in January, precede spending on improvement projects by about six months, as new owners often do a lot of fix-ups soon after they ...
From Riches to Rags, the U.S. Housing Market Crash and Bankruptcy
Post Date: 2012-02-21 19:02:06 by Capitalist Eric
My experience with a tax audit, real estate crash, rental house woes, foreclosures, layoff and bankruptcy: In a nutshell, we went from a 4,000 square foot home, worth more than $1 million, a vacation home, new RV, Mercedes convertible, Jeep, $50,000 SUV, 20 rental properties, a property management company and a great full time job... To living in a modest rental house in the middle of nowhere. Beginnings I am a computer guy, have been since 1991. I bounced around a few companies gaining positions and knowledge. Eventually I rode the dot com wave as a security and infrastructure consultant. In 2000-2001 I had been working for a dot-com company, and at one point had enough stock options ...
Oil Price Rises Above $106 A Barrel On Concerns That Iran Will Cut Off More Oil To Europe
Post Date: 2012-02-21 18:59:12 by Brian S
NEW YORK Oil prices have climbed to the highest level since May on concerns that Iran will cut off more oil to Europe. The surge, which included a 2.6 percent jump on Tuesday, could make gasoline and other fuels more expensive if prices stay high. At a national average of $3.57 per gallon, U.S. pump prices already are the highest ever for this time of year, and analysts say they may reach a record $4.25 per gallon this spring. The rise in oil follows an announcement by Iran over the weekend that it will stop selling oil to Britain and France in retaliation for a planned European oil embargo this summer. The move was mainly symbolic Britain and France import almost no oil ...
Under George W. Bush, Gas Prices Increased 275 Percent (2001 – 2008)
Post Date: 2012-02-20 12:57:11 by Brian S
"...Our return to Bush-era gas prices is because the economy is rebounding..." Well, here they go again. With nothing positive to campaign on, GOP strategists have decided to launch a messaging war against President Obama, blaming him for the high price of gasoline. According to the New York Times, the GOP argument is that when Obama took office in 2009, gas was $1.89 per gallon. Today, the price for that same gallon is $3.52. So it must be Obama's fault. Rick Santorum even says that the Democrats "want higher energy prices." But as I teach my undergraduate students on their first day in class, it is easy to make statistics lie. And you can bet that as the GOP ...
Saudi Arabia Reduces Crude Oil Production, Exports in December
Post Date: 2012-02-20 12:34:53 by Brian S
Saudi Arabia (OPCRSAUD), OPECs largest crude producer, reduced oil output and exports in December from November when it produced the most in more than 30 years, according to the Joint Organization Data Initiative. The country reduced output by 237,000 barrels a day or 2.4 percent to 9.81 million barrels a day of crude compared with 10.047 million in November, statistics posted today on JODIs website show. The kingdoms exports were cut 7.36 million barrels a day from 7.8 million barrels, according to the figures, which include condensates and exclude natural-gas liquids. The initiative is supervised by the Riyadh-based International Energy Forum and compiles data ...
GM, Ford, Chrysler and Boeing Unions Score Big Bonuses and Lift Economy
Post Date: 2012-02-20 12:23:00 by Brian S
At last: Bonuses for ordinary Joes, not Wall Street wheeler-dealers. Union workers at GM, Ford, Chrysler and Boeing are seeing bonus checks of up to $7,000 each. That money, in turn, is helping boost economies in Detroit, Seattle, Charleston and other cities. The payouts come on the heels of improved or record corporate profits. GM, which went bankrupt in 2009, Thursday reported 2011 net income of $9.19 billion, an all-time high for the company. Starting in March, part of that profit will go to 47,500 members of the United Auto Workers in checks of up to $7,000 each, according to the Detroit Free Press. The Lansing State Journal says that 4,690 unionized hourly workers at GM's ...
Occupy’s amazing Volcker Rule letter
Post Date: 2012-02-20 11:42:19 by lucysmom
One of the saddest aspects of the financialization of the US economy is the way in which Americas best and brightest found themselves working on Wall Street, rather than in jobs which improved the state of the world. Proof of this comes from the absolutely astonishing 325-page comment letter on the Volcker Rule which has been put together by Occupy the SEC; its pretty clear, from reading the letter, that the people who wrote it are whip-smart and extremely talented. Occupy the SEC is the wonky finreg arm of Occupy Wall Street, and its main authors are worth naming and celebrating: Akshat Tewary, Alexis Goldstein, Corley Miller, George Bailey, Caitlin Kline, Elizabeth ...
Occupy the SEC: Moving From the Campsite to the Weeds of Regulatory Reform
Post Date: 2012-02-20 11:10:24 by lucysmom
The surest way to rankle a supporter of the Occupy Wall Street movement is to repeat the common claim that the movement has no defined goals, a criticism that has dogged the group since its inception. But last week an offshoot of the movement, called Occupy the SEC, undermined that characterization when it submitted a 325-page letter to federal regulators filled with concrete criticisms and proposals for the final implementation of the so-called Volcker Rule. The letter offered detailed responses to the hundreds of queries that regulators posed to the public on the possible effects of the rule, which bars federally-supported banks from making speculative trades or ...
San Francisco Foreclosure Audit Elicits Predictable Responses from Securitization Mess Deniers
Post Date: 2012-02-19 12:12:02 by lucysmom
Given the existence of a large and still for the most part very well remunerated mortgage industrial complex, it is not surprising that a investigation done by a mere county that found errors in virtually all the loans in a small sample of foreclosures created a hue and cry. While state attorney general Kamala Harris remarked that, The allegations are deeply troubling and, sadly, no surprise to homeowners and law enforcement officials in California, and Nancy Pelosi wrote to ask Eric Holder to take a look, the securitization problem deniers went to assault mode. Paul Jackson came close to having a heart attack on Twitter, apparently hoping that rapid burst ad hominem attacks ...
Index of Leading Economic Indicators in U.S. Climbs 0.4% in Expansion Sign
Post Date: 2012-02-17 10:32:51 by Brian S
The index of U.S. leading indicators rose in January for a fourth month, signaling the worlds largest economy will keep expanding through the first half of 2012. The Conference Boards gauge of the outlook for the next three to six months climbed 0.4 percent after a revised 0.5 percent gain in December that was more than initially reported, the New York-based group said today. The median forecast of economists surveyed by Bloomberg News called for an increase of 0.5 percent. Faster hiring and a jobless rate at a three-year low may encourage more Americans to boost spending, bolstering growth at factories and helping stabilize housing. A strengthening economy means the U.S. ...
UAW Bonuses on GM Profit May Lift Economy
Post Date: 2012-02-17 10:30:22 by Brian S
Mike Green says he already knows how hes going to use a $7,000 profit-sharing check from General Motors Co. (GM): Hell help his son buy a new car, throw him a graduation party and sock some money away in the bank. A lot of people are going to catch up on stuff, said Green, president of UAW Local 652 in Lansing, Michigan, where GM builds Cadillacs. People havent really had a raise since 2005. Its kind of nice we get to reap some of the rewards now. The rebound in carmaker profits is putting money into the pockets of U.S. workers after years of belt-tightening. GM yesterday reported a record $9.19 billion in net income for 2011, which will ...
America is becoming a less attractive place to do business
Post Date: 2012-02-17 10:09:18 by jwpegler
IS AMERICA fading? It seems an odd thing to say about a country that so dominates the industries of the future. Where else could Facebook have grown from a student prank to a $100 billion company in less than a decade? America has been gripped by worries about decline before, notably in the 1970s, only to roar back. But this time it may be serious. There is little doubt that other countries are catching up. Between 1999 and 2009 Americas share of world exports fell in almost every industry: by 36 percentage points in aerospace, nine in information technology, eight in communications equipment and three in cars. Some loss of market share is inevitable as China and other economies ...
U.S. Consumer Confidence Rises to Highest Level in Year in Bloomberg Index
Post Date: 2012-02-16 12:33:46 by Brian S
Consumer confidence in the U.S. increased for a fourth straight week to reach the highest level in a year as more households believe the economy is improving. The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index rose to minus 39.8 in the period ended Feb. 12 from minus 41.7 the previous week. It marked just the third time since April 2008 that the gauge has climbed above minus 40, a reading consistent with recessions or their aftermath. The monthly expectations gauge climbed to minus 7 in February, also a 12-month high. Sentiment among those without a job was the strongest since April 2008, showing news of payroll gains and fewer job cuts is even lifting the spirits of households that have yet to benefit ...
Housing Starts in U.S. Rise Above Forecasts
Post Date: 2012-02-16 12:32:24 by Brian S
Builders broke ground on more homes than forecast in January, helped by warmer weather and adding to signs the U.S. residential real estate market is stabilizing. Starts rose 1.5 percent to a 699,000 annual rate from Decembers 689,000 pace that was stronger than previously reported, Commerce Department figures showed today in Washington. The median estimate in a Bloomberg News survey called for a rise to 675,000. Building permits, a proxy for future construction, also climbed. Beazer Homes USA Inc. (BZ) and D.R. Horton Inc. (DHI) are among builders reporting more orders as a pickup in hiring, cheaper properties and borrowing costs close to a record low attract buyers. At the same ...
GM Annual Profit of $9.19 Billion Largest in Automaker’s 103-Year History
Post Date: 2012-02-16 11:44:08 by Brian S
General Motors Co. (GM), which regained the global auto sales lead, earned $9.19 billion last year, the largest profit in its 103-year-history, while its European business again lost money. Fourth-quarter net income attributable to stockholders slid 48 percent to $725 million, the lowest in two years. GM had earned more than $2 billion in each of the three previous quarters. Profit in the fourth quarter fell 25 percent to 39 cents a share, trailing the 41-cent average estimate of 17 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. GM North America earnings before interest and taxes more than tripled for the year to $7.19 billion on improved U.S. sales. The automakers Europe business, including the ...
Jobless Claims in U.S. Fall to Four-Year Low
Post Date: 2012-02-16 11:41:40 by Brian S
Claims for jobless benefits unexpectedly dropped last week to the lowest level in four years, showing the U.S. job market is on the mend. Applications (INJCJC) for unemployment insurance payments decreased 13,000 in the week ended Feb. 11 to 348,000, less than the lowest forecast of economists surveyed by Bloomberg News and the fewest since March 2008, Labor Department figures showed today. The median survey estimate projected an increase to 365,000. The slowdown in dismissals coincides with a pickup in hiring and a drop in unemployment thats helping repair a labor market still recovering from the 18-month recession that ended in June 2009. More job gains are needed to boost ...
U.S. Homebuilder Confidence Increased to Highest Since ’07
Post Date: 2012-02-15 14:47:41 by Brian S
Confidence among U.S. homebuilders climbed more than anticipated in February to the highest level since May 2007, pointing to an improving outlook for construction. The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo index of builder confidence rose for a fifth straight month, to 29 in February from 25 in January, figures from the Washington-based group showed today. The median forecast of economists surveyed by Bloomberg News called for a rise to 26. Readings below 50 mean more respondents said conditions were poor. D.R. Horton Inc. (DHI) is among builders reporting a pickup in demand as borrowing costs hover near a record low and hiring accelerates. Efforts by the Obama administration ...
Ford, GM Lead Industry To Best-Ever Showing In Vehicle Reliability -- J.D. Power Study
Post Date: 2012-02-15 14:43:53 by Brian S
Four out of the top 10 brands in J.D. Powers reliability study are from Ford or General Motors and their performance contributed to the industrys best overall score in the history of a study that dates back to 1990. The fact that almost every brand improved
at a time when the industry was really hurting is impressive and frankly surprising, David Sargent, vice president of global automotive for J.D. Power and Associates said in an interview. Cadillac finished with the third best score in the study, behind Lexus and Porsche respectively. Lincoln and Ford ranked sixth and seventh while Buick ranked eighth. The study measures the number problems per 100 for cars ...
Industrial Production Rises on Autos, Machinery
Post Date: 2012-02-15 11:29:18 by Brian S
Production at U.S. factories increased in January, reflecting gains in demand for automobiles and business equipment that may keep manufacturing at the forefront of the expansion. Output (IPMGCHNG) at factories rose 0.7 percent after a revised 1.5 percent gain in December that was the largest in five years, figures from the Federal Reserve showed today in Washington. A 2.5 percent decline in utility output prompted by the fourth- warmest January on record caused total industrial output to be little changed, less than forecast. Business investment in new equipment and the need to rebuild inventories will probably keep factory assembly lines rolling at the start in 2012. Nonetheless, ...
February NY Fed Manufacturing Growth Highest In 1-1/2 Years
Post Date: 2012-02-15 11:28:01 by Brian S
(Reuters) - A gauge of manufacturing in New York State picked up in February to its highest level in more than 1-1/2 years, though the pace of new orders slowed, the New York Federal Reserve said in a report on Wednesday. The New York Fed's "Empire State" general business conditions index climbed to 19.53 from 13.48 in January, topping economists' expectations for 15.0. It was the highest level since June 2010. The index has bounced back strongly from a summer slump as the region contracted alongside a broader manufacturing slowdown. The survey of manufacturing plants in the state is one of the earliest monthly guideposts to U.S. factory conditions. U.S. stock index ...
January Retail Sales Gain Points To Modest Growth
Post Date: 2012-02-14 13:23:07 by Brian S
(02-14) 07:50 PST WASHINGTON, (AP) -- Americans rebounded from a weak holiday season and stepped up spending on retail goods in January. The latest government report on retail sales pointed to a slowly improving economy. Retail sales rose at a seasonally adjusted 0.4 percent last month, the Commerce Department said Tuesday. Consumers spent more on electronics, home and garden supplies, sporting goods, at department and general merchandise stores and at restaurants and bars. They also paid higher prices for gas. Spending on autos fell in January, the report showed, even though automakers had previously reported higher sales last month. That could mean that dealers offered more discounts ...
Storm Warning: Financial Tsunami Heading This Way
Post Date: 2012-02-13 14:52:20 by jwpegler
In today's global village, national coffers are more interconnected than ever before. And as the current economic crisis has proven, a downturn in one country can travel in a wave across the globe, like a financial tsunami. Now, researchers from Tel Aviv University, in collaboration with the Kiel Institute of World Economy in Germany, have developed a market "seismograph" -- a new methodology that measures the interconnections between stock markets across the globe. It has the potential to serve as an early warning system and provide measures to manage and mitigate the spread of financial crisis. The method sheds new light on the structure of the global financial village, ...
The Top 12 Reasons Why You Should Hate the Mortgage Settlement
Post Date: 2012-02-13 14:37:35 by Capitalist Eric
As readers may know by now, 49 of 50 states have agreed to join the so-called mortgage settlement, with Oklahoma the lone refusenik. Although the fine points are still being hammered out, various news outlets (New York Times, Financial Times, Wall Street Journal) have details, with Dave Dayens overview at Firedoglake the best thus far. The Wall Street Journal is also reporting that the SEC is about to launch some securities litigation against major banks. Since the statue of limitations has already run out on securities filings more than five years old, this means theyll clip the banks for some of the very last (and dreckiest) deals they shoved out the door before the subprime ...
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