Latest Articles: Business
GOP Risks Recession By Blocking Obama Jobs Bill: Geithner
Post Date: 2011-10-12 12:47:37 by Brian S
WASHINGTON U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner warned Republicans that they risk helping to tip the country into recession by failing to back President Barack Obamas jobs bill late Tuesday. Speaking just before Republican senators joined with Democratic Sens. Ben Nelson and Jon Tester to vote against the $447 billion plan, Geithner launched an uncharacteristically partisan attack on Obamas political foes. Asked during an interview with Bloomberg Television whether Republicans were raising the risk of another recession by standing in the way of the bill, Geithner responded: Absolutely. If Congress does not act, it will be because Republicans ...
Detroit's Engine Roars on Signs of Turnaround
Post Date: 2011-10-08 12:23:04 by Brian S
The Tigers' win Thursday over the Yankees lifted spirits in Detroit, and more playoffs are good for business. If there is any place in a gloomy nation that is better off right now than it was four years ago, Detroit would be it. The Motor City, with its thousands of blighted houses, auto-industry layoffs and dwindling population, became a symbol of economic despair during the depths of the recent recession. Even now, southeast Michigan bears the scars of that downturn and others that came before it. But lately, the mood in the region is more positive than in much of the rest of the countryand not only on game days. The success of Detroit's sports team are distracting ...
Rail Cargo Sees Late-Arriving Peak
Post Date: 2011-10-07 12:23:34 by Brian S
Railroads are starting to see signs of a shipping peak ahead of the Christmas holiday season, signaling the U.S. economy is still expanding and fending off a repeat recession. North American rail carloads reached a 2011 high in the week that ended Oct. 1, as did intermodal units, the containers that can move by rail, road and sea and usually carry retail goods, the Association of American Railroads said yesterday. Both cargo categories marked a third straight week of gains. Traffic is rising from U.S. fall harvests, coal for winter heating and power, and gifts bound for store shelves, said Jeff Kauffman, a Sterne Agee & Leach Inc. analyst in New York. The late-arriving peak matches ...
Retailers Ring Up Solid September, Holidays Loom
Post Date: 2011-10-06 18:47:13 by Brian S
Thu Oct 6, 2011 1:19pm EDT (Reuters) - Brisk back-to-school shopping benefited many U.S. retailers in September, with strong sales growth at chains from Kohl's Corp to Nordstrom Inc suggesting optimism for the holiday season. Shoppers largely brushed off the prolonged economic malaise and the U.S. East Coast's recovery after Hurricane Irene. Chains with fresh items enticed shoppers while others were left to question their strategies heading into the critical winter holiday shopping season. Overall, 23 U.S. retailers posted an average sales gain of 5.1 percent at stores open at least a year, or same-store sales, according to Thomson Reuters. "I'm not saying it's ...
Jobless Claims Data Points To Labor Improvement
Post Date: 2011-10-06 11:59:50 by Brian S
(Reuters) - New claims for unemployment benefits rose modestly last week but hovered near levels normally associated with improving labor market conditions, in a hopeful sign for the struggling economy. Initial claims for state jobless aid climbed 6,000 to a seasonally adjusted 401,000, the Labor Department said, from 395,000 the prior week. That left claims holding steady around the 400,000 mark, which is usually regarded as consistent with some improvement in the jobs market, for a second week. Economists, who had expected claims to rise to 410,000, saw this as yet another sign the ailing economy was not falling back into recession. "Claims suggest that layoffs remain contained ...
Soaring Farmland Prices in U.S. Midwest Bring Fed Scrutiny of Rural Banks
Post Date: 2011-10-06 11:53:43 by Brian S
When regulators come knocking at the Bank of Newman Grove, Nebraska, inquiring about loan risks, Chairman Jeffrey Gerhart has a stress test ready to show how his portfolio would fare if rural land prices dropped 25 percent. Or 50 percent. Or 75 percent. I hope its not going to go to heck in a handbag out here, but this allows us to look at those worst-case scenarios, said Gerhart, a fourth-generation banker in the 800-person town two hours west of Omaha, deep in the heart of Nebraskas corn and soybean belt. He began stress testing his banks assets, about 90 percent of which are agricultural, in the last two years after prodding from staffers at ...
Gold May Extend Slump as Europe Crisis Spurs Dollar Need: Chart of the Day
Post Date: 2011-10-06 11:49:44 by Brian S
Gold may extend its slide from a record as Europes sovereign-debt crisis spurs demand for dollars, eroding the appeal of the metal as an alternative, according to John Stephenson at First Asset Management Inc. The CHART OF THE DAY shows gold plunged 11 percent last month, the most since 2008, as Europes worsening fiscal crisis sent the U.S. Dollar Index to an seven-month high of 78.863 on Sept. 26. The precious metal, which reached a record $1,923.70 an ounce on Sept. 6, may drop to $1,450 by Dec. 15, while the dollar index rallies to 89, the highest since March 2009, said Stephenson, who helps manage $2.6 billion. The fear is Europe, Stephenson said in a telephone ...
As New Immigration Law In Alabama Takes Effect, Construction And Farm Workers Flee
Post Date: 2011-10-05 19:52:48 by Brian S
MONTGOMERY, Ala. Alabamas strict new immigration law may be backfiring. Intended to force illegal workers out of jobs, it is also driving away many construction workers, roofers and field hands in the country legally who do backbreaking jobs that Americans generally wont. The vacancies have created a void that will surely deal a blow to the states economy and could slow the rebuilding of Tuscaloosa and other tornado-damaged cities. Employers believe they can carry on because of the dismal economy, but when things do turn around, they worry there wont be anyone around to hire. Rick Pate, the owner of a commercial landscaping company in Montgomery, lost two ...
Ford to Add 5,750 New Jobs, Invest $4.8B in Plants
Post Date: 2011-10-04 11:33:15 by Brian S
DEARBORN, Mich -- Ford Motor Co. says it will add 5,750 jobs and invest $4.8 billion in its factories as part of a new contract deal with the United Auto Workers union. Company Vice President of Manufacturing John Fleming tells reporters that most of the new hires will be at an entry-level wage, which will cut the company's labor costs. The four-year deal was reached early Tuesday after eight straight days of bargaining. Union leaders are expected to release further details of the contract later Tuesday. Union workers are likely to vote on it next week. Fleming would not give details about where the new jobs would go. He said the jobs are in addition to the 7,000 new positions that ...
Orders in U.S. for Capital Equipment Increase by the Most in Three Months
Post Date: 2011-10-04 11:26:23 by Brian S
Orders for U.S. capital equipment increased in August by the most in three months, a sign business investment and exports held up in the face of mounting concern over the European debt crisis. Bookings for goods like computers and communications gear, excluding military hardware and aircraft, climbed 0.9 percent, the most since May, a Commerce Department report showed today in Washington. Demand for all factory goods declined 0.2 percent. Faster growth in emerging economies helped sustain demand for American-made turbines and equipment even as U.S. households cut back. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said today that policy makers stand ready to take further action to propel a ...
Bernanke: Fed Prepared to Take Action to Boost Growth
Post Date: 2011-10-04 11:24:22 by Brian S
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said the central bank stands ready to take additional steps to boost U.S. growth and cautioned lawmakers against budget moves that would harm a sluggish recovery. The Fed will continue to closely monitor economic developments and is prepared to take further action as appropriate to promote a stronger economic recovery in a context of price stability, Bernanke said today in testimony to Congresss Joint Economic Committee in Washington. The remarks signal Bernanke may not be finished after attempts in August and September to strengthen record monetary stimulus with unconventional tools. The central banks near-zero ...
Stocks Sink, Pushing S&P To Edge Of Bear Market
Post Date: 2011-10-03 17:10:21 by Brian S
(10-03) 13:50 PDT NEW YORK, (AP) -- The latest setback in Greece's financial crisis sent the Standard and Poor's 500 index to its lowest level of the year, putting it on the edge of a new bear market. The index, the benchmark for most U.S. stock funds, has fallen 19.4 percent since its high for the year on April 29. A 20 percent drop would signify the start of a bear market, ending a bull market that began in March 2009. The S&P 500 has gained 76 percent since then, including dividends. European markets slumped, dragging U.S. stocks down along with them, after Greece said it will miss deficit reduction targets it agreed to as part of its bailout deal. Benchmark indexes in ...
U.S. Manufacturing Unexpectedly Accelerates as Export Demand Spurs Output
Post Date: 2011-10-03 13:45:05 by Brian S
Manufacturing in the U.S. unexpectedly accelerated in September, propelled by gains in exports and production. The Institute for Supply Managements factory index climbed to 51.6 last month from 50.6 in August, the Tempe, Arizona-based group said today. A level of 50 is the dividing line between growth and contraction. The median forecast of 82 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News projected a drop to 50.5. Growing emerging economies like China and a rebound in Japan following the March earthquake and tsunami may continue to lift demand from overseas, giving a boost to companies like Emerson Electric Co. (EMR) and Honda Motor Co. Manufacturing, which accounts for about 12 percent of ...
Ford, GM, Chrysler Beat Sept. Sales Estimates
Post Date: 2011-10-03 13:39:12 by Brian S
Chrysler Group LLC, driven by boosted deliveries of Ram pickups, led September U.S. auto sales gains that exceeded analysts estimates. General Motors Co. (GM) and Ford Motor Co. (F) also beat estimates on Silverado and F-Series trucks. Chrysler sales climbed 27 percent to 127,334, according to a regulatory filing, beating seven analysts average estimate for a 20 percent increase. GM deliveries rose 20 percent to 207,145 cars and light trucks, and Ford sales increased 9 percent to 174,860, the companies said in separate statements. September light-vehicle sales, being released today, probably rose to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 12.8 million, the average estimate of 14 ...
Falling U.S. Wages Threaten Consumer Spending
Post Date: 2011-10-03 13:34:43 by Brian S
Ninety-one percent of people in the U.S. labor force have a job. That may be the extent of the good news for these Americans, whose incomes tell a darker story. Take-home pay, adjusted for prices, fell 0.3 percent in August, the third decrease in five months, and personal income dropped for the first time in two years, the Commerce Department reported last week. The declines followed news from the Census Bureau that median household income in 2010 fell to $49,445, the lowest in more than a decade, and the poverty rate jumped to 15.1 percent, a 17-year high. Salary and benefit growth has been going nowhere, said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moodys Analytics Inc. in ...
The underground venture capital economy
Post Date: 2011-10-03 12:28:41 by lucysmom
At a time when the above-ground economy seems to be stuck in perpetual neutral, something very interesting is happening in the underground economy. On do-it-yourself crowd-funding sites like Kickstarter, significant amounts of capital are starting to flow to a group of ingenious projects that bridge the gap between the creative arts and cutting-edge technology a sweet spot thats pure money. In some cases, entrepreneurs are raising $100K or $200K at a time even when they ask for only a fraction of that. In the post-downgrade economy, these instances are proof that a solid business plan, a way to reward passionate supporters and a little DIY mojo goes a long way. snip ...
It's Obama Fried Chicken! OFC pops up in China... but can the President also match the secret recipe of Colonel Sanders?
Post Date: 2011-10-01 17:19:39 by Sebastian
Is Obama abandoning his bid for a second term in the White House and is giving Colonel Sanders a run for his money by opening a chain of fried chicken joints? Now that's change you can't really believe in. But in Beijing, China, a restaurant is actually calling itself OFC with a logo that looks alarmingly like the President dressed in the colonel's clothes.Scroll down for video The presidential eatery: The Obama Fried Chicken restaurant in BeijingBroad smiles: President Obama and the original master of Southern Fried Chicken Colonel Sanders The catchphrase underneath, apparently says 'Were so cool, arent we?'The Obama Fried Chicken could be a response to ...
Outsize Severance Continues for Executives, Even After Failed Tenures [Full Thread]
Post Date: 2011-10-01 12:11:26 by lucysmom
The golden goodbye has not gone away. Just last week, Léo Apotheker was shown the door after a tumultuous 11-month run atop Hewlett-Packard. His reward? $13.2 million in cash and stock severance, in addition to a sign-on package worth about $10 million, according to a corporate filing on Thursday. At the end of August, Robert P. Kelly was handed severance worth $17.2 million in cash and stock when he was ousted as chief executive of Bank of New York Mellon after clashing with board members and senior managers. A few days later, Carol A. Bartz took home nearly $10 million from Yahoo after being fired from the troubled search giant. A hallmark of the gilded era of just a few short ...
Wall Street Ends Worst Quarter Since 2008 Meltdown
Post Date: 2011-09-30 19:45:37 by Brian S
(Reuters) - Stocks ended their worst quarter since the depths of the 2008 credit crisis, crippled by Europe's debt debacle, a U.S. credit downgrade and a sputtering global economy. A steep slide on Friday closed out a fifth month of losses as weak economic data from China sparked fears of a global economic slowdown while investment bank Morgan Stanley plummeted on concerns about its exposure to European banks. The S&P 500 index has lost more than 14 percent this quarter and over 7 percent in September alone. As of Thursday, Wall Street's deep downturn in the third quarter wiped out $2.2 trillion of the Wiltshire 5000 index -- the broadest measure of U.S. stocks. "Why is ...
The Real Cost of the Credit Crisis Bank Bailouts [So Far]
Post Date: 2011-09-30 12:24:28 by Capitalist Eric
Back on July 21, 2011 - Senator Bernie Sanders [VT] published a paper titled, The Fed Audit, where he made the claim that a GAO [Government Accountability Office] report showed the real cost of the Federal Reserve bailout was 16 Trillion. A snippet from Bernie Sanders The Fed Audit : The first top-to-bottom audit of the Federal Reserve uncovered eye-popping new details about how the U.S. provided a whopping $16 trillion in secret loans to bail out American and foreign banks and businesses during the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. An amendment by Sen. Bernie Sanders to the Wall Street reform law passed one year ago this week directed the Government ...
US incomes fall for first time in nearly 2 years
Post Date: 2011-09-30 12:12:40 by Sebastian
Americans earned less last month, the first decline in nearly two years. With less income, consumers could cut back on spending and weaken an already-fragile economy. Consumers spent a little more in August despite seeing their incomes drop 0.1 percent, the Commerce Department said Friday. Consumer spending rose just 0.2 percent, after a more robust 0.7 percent gain in July. Many tapped savings to cover the steeper costs. And most of the increase in spending went to pay higher prices for food and gas. When adjusted for inflation, August consumer spending was flat. Stocks fell after the report's release. The Dow Jones industrial average fell more than 100 points in the first half-hour ...
Consumer Sentiment in U.S. Increases More Than Forecast
Post Date: 2011-09-30 11:35:59 by Brian S
By Shobhana Chandra (Updates with Chicago purchasing managers report in 10th paragraph.) Sept. 30 (Bloomberg) -- Confidence among U.S. consumers rose in September from the lowest level since November 2008 as pessimism about the economy eased. The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan final index of consumer sentiment climbed to 59.4 this month, higher than forecast, from 55.7 in August. The median estimate of economists surveyed by Bloomberg News was 57.8, the same as the preliminary reading for September. The groups measure of consumer expectations six months from now also rose. While some concerns that soured Americans moods last month may have eased, consumers have ...
Crude Oil Heads for Its Biggest Quarterly Decline in New York Since 2008
Post Date: 2011-09-30 11:31:22 by Brian S
Oil fell, heading for its largest quarterly decline in New York since the 2008 financial crisis, as signs of slowing growth in China, the U.S. and Germany heightened concerns that fuel demand will suffer. West Texas Intermediate futures have fallen 15 percent this quarter, the biggest drop since the three months ended Dec. 31, 2008. Chinese manufacturing fell for a third month, according to data from HSBC Holdings Plc, while Germanys Federal Statistics office said retail sales declined the most in more than four months in August. U.S. consumer spending slowed in August as incomes declined, the Commerce Department said today. WTIs discount to Brent oil narrowed for a sixth day, ...
U.S. Auto Sales Best Since April: Survey
Post Date: 2011-09-30 11:27:00 by Brian S
Toyota Motor Corp. (7203) and Honda Motor Co.s return to full production this month is boosting U.S. auto sales back near the pace reached before Japans earthquake. September light-vehicle sales, to be released Oct. 3, probably rose to a 12.8 million seasonally adjusted annual rate, the average estimate of 14 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. That would be the fastest pace since April, when lost output caused by Japans tsunami crimped supply of parts and finished cars. Recovering inventory levels have helped to bring buyers back into the market, said Jeff Schuster, executive director of global forecasting at J.D. Power & Associates. Jesse Toprak, who ...
Yearning for a Currency Debaser’s Prison
Post Date: 2011-09-29 18:09:35 by Capitalist Eric
Until the mid-19th century, the means of retribution for the stiffed creditor was debtors prison. If the creditor could not see the return of his capital, then at least he could temper the pain and humiliation by witnessing the incarceration of the defaulted debtor. In our age of monetary lunacy, it would seem that some of the worlds more dollar-dependent central bankers are quietly (or perhaps not-so-quietly), yearning for a similarly harsh debasers prison. Here I speculate about the peculiar world of the dollar-dependent central banker and consider the consequences of the dearth of entrepreneurial spirit in the money production business. Even bandits ...
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