Showing posts from November, 2014

U.S. shoppers spent slightly less money at brick-and-mortar stores

U.S. shoppers spent slightly less money at brick-and-mortar stores on Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday than across the same two days in 2013, while online sales surged to record highs, data showed on Saturday.
Sales at retail stores totaled about $12.29 billion on Thursday and Friday, down 0.5 percent from the $12.35 billion spent last year, according to estimates by ShopperTrak. The research firm stuck by its forecast for November and December sales to increase 3.8 percent.
The data highlights the waning importance of Black Friday, which until a few years ago kicked off the holiday shopping season, as more retailers open their doors on Thanksgiving Day and start discounting earlier in the month.
It also points to the intense price competition among retailers, which have been discounting by 40 to 70 percent this year compared with 30 to 50 percent in the recent past, ShopperTrak founder Bill Martin told Reuters.
"I think what we are seeing is those early promotions coupled with…

Bank of Canada will likely defer an interest rate

English: Clockwise from top-left: Federal Reserve, Bank of England, European Central Bank, Bank of Canada (Note: Uploaded for use on Wikinews) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)The Bank of Canada will likely defer an interest rate hike until late next year despite high household debt and above-target inflation, a Reuters poll showed on Wednesday.

The central bank will stay put at next week's policy decision, according to the poll of 41 economists, leaving its key interest rate on hold until the fourth quarter of 2015, slightly later than forecast in a Reuters poll in October.
Recent comments from BOC Governor Stephen Poloz and his officials on how close to capacity the Canadian economy was operating triggered some of the forecast changes.
"They've been arguing that the amount of excess slack in the economy has been understated thus far, and if that's what they believe, then that would argue for a later tightening," said Andrew Kelvin, senior fixed-income strategist at TD…

U.S. consumer sentiment rose in November

Thomson Reuters Trading Room (Photo credit: Wikipedia) U.S. consumer sentiment rose in November to its highest level in more than seven years on improvements in the current economic condition, including lower gas prices and improving job prospects, a survey released on Wednesday showed.
The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan's final November reading on the overall index on consumer sentiment came in at 88.8, its highest reading since July 2007 on a final basis. The reading was up from the 86.9 the month before but slightly below the preliminary reading of 89.4.
Despite the uptick, it was below the median forecast of 90.0 among economists polled by Reuters.
"Consumers more frequently reported hearing about positive rather than negative economic developments in the November
survey, with reports of improving employment the dominant news item," survey director Richard Curtin said in a statement.
"While there was no change in evaluations of the current performance of…

U.S. single-family homes rose for a third straight month

Sales of new U.S. single-family homes rose for a third straight month in October, but a downward revision to the prior month's sales pace indicated the housing market recovery would remain gradual.
The Commerce Department said on Wednesday that sales gained 0.7 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 458,000 units. September's sales pace was revised down to 455,000 units from 467,000 units.
Economists polled by Reuters had forecast new home sales rising to a 472,000-unit pace last month.
New home sales, which account for about 8 percent of the housing market, tend to be volatile month to month. Compared to October last year, sales were up 1.8 percent.
Housing remains constrained by slow wage growth, which is resulting in a slow pace of household formation.
Last month, new home sales rose 7.1 percent in the Northeast and surged 15.8 percent in the Midwest. In the populous South, sales fell 1.9 percent and were down 2.7 percent in the West.
With sales rising modestly, th…

stuff ordered online: have it dropped off in your car

DHL is in talks with Volvo that could allow it to open the doors of Volvos to deliver parcels. Nov. 17 (Bloomberg) -- Working households may soon have an alternative to the modern dilemma of how to take delivery of stuff ordered online: have it dropped off in your car.
Deutsche Post AG’s DHL unit is in talks with Volvo Car Group on a partnership that would allow the parcel-delivery service to remotely open autos made by the Swedish manufacturer, according to people with knowledge of the matter who asked not to be identified because details are private. Discussions with other automakers are also ongoing, and a program that enables one-time access by a delivery agent may be announced in the coming weeks, one of the people said.
The offering would follow a pilot project in Sweden that used Volvo’s GPS-linked On Call service to enter vehicles. DHL would only get access after the owner accepts delivery via text message. Volvo Cars and Deutsche Post declined to comment on any talks.
An Itali…

Cash Flow Forever - Jeff K Johnson

I have had a Real Estate License, Insurance and Mutual Fund licenses so this book was of particular interest to me and it did not let me down. With real estate pretty well part of most of our lives there are lessons to be learned with this one! Rules of the road, tricks of the trade; commercial real estate broker Jeff K. Johnson lays out a simple but highly effective formula for building net worth and cash flow through real estate investing. Jeff shares his highly educated and unique insight from working with a number of highly successful real estate investors for over thirty five years. You will find the real life stories that Jeff shares about his clients and his own investing experiences to be invaluable. This practical and easy to read book cuts right to the chase and lays out "The Real Secrets of Real Estate Investing".

In "Cash Flow Forever" Johnson reveals more than the basics of the real estate and investment properties!
A must read for those starting out i…

majority of Tor-based hidden services closed down

The majority of Tor-based hidden services closed down by law enforcement agencies last week were clones or fakes, according to a new analysis of the operation.
In what the 16-member states of Europol, the FBI, US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Homeland Security called Operation Onymous, more than 410 hidden services hosted on .onion pages through the Tor network were closed down this month, according to the agencies.
Over $1 million in Bitcoin, 180,000 euros in cash, drugs, gold and silver were also seized during the sting.
The Tor Project group said at the time they were surprised at the closures, and had "very little information about how this was accomplished," — appealing to the general public for theories and potential answers in the process.
"[We are] most interested in understanding how these services were located and if this indicates a security weakness in Tor hidden services that could be exploited by criminals or secret police repressing dissen…
The agreement follows the e-retailer’s deal last month with Simon & Schuster. Inc. and Hachette Book Group have settled their months-long dispute over the prices of books sold by the No. 1 merchant in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide.
Terms were not disclosed beyond both companies saying in a joint statement that they have signed a “multi-year agreement for e-book and print sales in the U.S.” with terms taking effect in 2015. In late October, Amazon reached a similar agreement with publisher Simon & Schuster.
“We are pleased with this new agreement as it includes specific financial incentives for Hachette to deliver lower prices, which we believe will be a great win for readers and authors alike,” says David Naggar, Amazon’s vice president for Kindle.
Amazon dominates e-book sales with 60% of the market, according to Forrester Research Inc.
During the dispute, Amazon delayed shipments of Hachette titles and prevented pre-orders of some of the publisher’s books. T…

chief executive officers paid more than U.S. federal income taxes contributions,

Seven of the 30 largest U.S. corporations paid more money to their chief executive officers last year than they paid in U.S. federal income taxes, according to a study released on Tuesday that was disputed by at least one of the companies.
Amid talk in Washington about corporate tax reform, the study said the seven companies, which in 2013 reported more than $74 billion in combined U.S. pre-tax profits, came out ahead on their taxes, gaining $1.9 billion more than they owed.
At the same time, the CEOs at each of the seven companies last year was paid an average of $17.3 million, said the study, compiled by two Washington think tanks.
The seven companies cited were Boeing Co (BA.N), Ford Motor Co (F.N), Chevron Corp (CVX.N), Citigroup Inc (C.N), Verizon Communications Inc (VZ.N), JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM.N) and General Motors Co (GM.N).
The Institute for Policy Studies and the Center for Effective Government, the study's co-authors, said its findings reflected "deep flaws …

Mercedes-Maybach limousine, to debut at this week's Guangzhou autoshow

Daimler AG (DAIGn.DE) will give its new luxury baby, the Mercedes-Maybach limousine, a glitzy world debut at this week's Guangzhou autoshow, even as analysts warn the end is nigh for China's 10-year high-end car sales boom.
The scale of the world's biggest auto market means the German firm and peers like Jaguar Land Rover [TAMOJL.UL] simply can't ignore it. Instead, to cut costs and cushion potential discounts as luxury demand cools, they're starting or expanding production in China.
Responding quickly to changing consumer preferences since President Xi Jinping's anti-extravagance campaign began two years ago is key for luxury automakers. IHS Automotive expects premium car sales growth will slow to 5 percent by 2018 from an average annual growth rate of 30 percent over the past decade.
"We want to go for a sustainable growth, growth with quality. It's not just a volume game," Ralf Speth, CEO of Jaguar Land Rover said last month in the eastern cit…

Home Depot quarter up

English: Logo for The Home Depot. Category:Brands of the World (Photo credit: Wikipedia)Home Depot Inc (HD.N), the world's No.1 home improvement chain, reported a better-than-expected quarterly profit as an improving job market encouraged Americans to spend more on renovations.
The company reaffirmed its 2014 sales growth forecast of about 4.8 percent and profit forecast of $4.54 per share.
That includes about $34 million of net costs related to a data breach between April and September.
The company said it may face other breach-related costs, including legal action, that could have a material impact on results for the fourth quarter and future periods. The retailer is facing at least 44 civil lawsuits related to the breach in the United States and Canada.
The company's shares were down 0.4 percent at $97.66 premarket.
Home Depot said on Sept. 18 that hackers stole details on about 56 million payment cards in the attack.
The retailer said earlier this month that about 53…

Foxconn to manufacture Nokia tablet

Finland's Nokia (NOK1V.HE) launched a new brand-licensed tablet computer on Tuesday which is designed to rival Apple's(AAPL.O) iPad Mini, just six months after the company sold its ailing phones and devices business to Microsoft (MSFT.O) for over $7 billion.
Nokia, a name which was once synonymous with mobile phones until first Apple and then Samsung Electronics (005930.KS) eclipsed the Finnish company with the advent of smart phones, said the manufacturing, distribution and sales of the new N1 tablet, will be handled under license by Taiwan's Foxconn (2354.TW).
The aluminum-cased N1, which runs on Google's (GOOGL.O) Android Lollipop operating software but features Nokia's new Z Launcher intelligent home screen interface, is due to be in stores in China in the first quarter of next year for an estimated price of $249 before taxes, with sales to other markets to follow.
Sebastian Nystrom, the head of products at Nokia's Technologies unit, said the company was lo…

Radiation from Fukushima in Japan has been detected off the coast of North America

English: Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole, Massachusetts. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)Radiation from Fukushima in Japan has been detected off the coast of North America at amounts thousands of times lower than acceptable levels in drinking water. The small amounts of cesium 134 were measured about 150 kilometres west of Eureka, California, by scientists at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution as part of the U.S. organization’s regular monitoring of radioactivity in the ocean. Ken Buesseler, a research scientist at Woods Hole, said the samples measured less than two becquerels of cesium 134 from the radioactive plume sent into the Pacific Ocean from the Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear power plant after damage from the 2011 earthquake and series of tsunamis released radiation into the atmosphere and ocean. A becquerel measures the rate at which radioactive material emits radiation and decays. Buesseler will officially present the results on Thursday at conference of the Society of Envir…

Alberta earthquakes increasing

Moments after the shaking stopped, his neighbours were calling, asking if he had felt what they just felt.
“After a few minutes, I realized it was an earthquake,” Langer said.
There was a small earthquake on Nov. 2 in Peace River, just northeast of Peace River. The recently published study involving Alberta researcher Jeff Gu indicates fracking may trigger earthquakes in the province. ( Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) registered a small, 3.0-magnitude earthquake that was “lightly felt” from Three Creeks to St. Isidor in northern Alberta at 11:14 p.m. MT. NRCan said on its website there were no reports of damage, and that “none would be expected.”
Jeff Gu, a seismologist at the University of Alberta, said the earthquake could have been caused by shifting rock formations in the region — but added there could be another possible explanation.
“Certainly that region is not immune to earthquake faulting, but I would say having actual earthquakes in that area is rela…

WHEN big banks fail, taxpayers usually foot the bill

English: Mark Carney, Canadian banker (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
WHEN big banks fail, taxpayers usually foot the bill. For instance, since the most recent financial crisis, British taxpayers alone have provided around £1.2 trillion ($1.9 trillion) worth of support to banks. Governments and their citizens around the world are understandably keen that this does not happen again. In response to this pressure, on November 10th the Financial Stability Board (FSB), an international group of regulators, announced proposals that Mark Carney, the governor of the Bank of England, says will end the risk to the public purse from bank failures.
Under the proposals­—named “Total Loss-Absorbing Capacity” (TLAC)—big banks will have to fund themselves with loss-absorbing capital equal to 16-20% of their risk-weighted assets. This capital includes both shareholders’ equity and some convertible securities (capital that is raised as debt, but converts into shares when a bank enters financial difficulties)…

BlackBerry, which has completed the first phase

BlackBerry, which has completed the first phase of its two-year turnaround plan, is now focused on profitability and will not spread itself thin by attempting to launch too many new devices, its chief executive said.
John Chen, who took the reins at the struggling mobile technology company in November 2013, has moved rapidly to try to get the one-time investor darling back on track. The company has sold assets, struck partnerships to lower manufacturing costs and broaden app offerings, and raised cash via the sale of real estate holdings in its hometown of Waterloo, Ontario.
"Once we turn this company to profitability again, I will do everything I can to never lose money ever again," Chen told Reuters in an interview this week. "That is definitely something I am very focused on doing."
The Hong Kong-born executive, 59, made his name at Sybase, a struggling database software firm that he rescued and sold a decade later to SAP for $5.8 billion in 2010.

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AT&T Inc agreed to pay $1.7 billion to acquire Mexico's third-largest wireless operator

English: Mexican businessman Carlos Slim Helú. Deutsch: Mexikanischer Unternehmer Carlos Slim Helú, u.a. Präsident von Grupo Carso. Español: El empresario mexicano Carlos Slim Helú. Português: O empresário mexicano Carlos Slim Helú, presidente do Grupo Carso, chega ao Palácio do Planalto para reunião com o presidente Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. (Photo credit: Wikipedia) AT&T Inc agreed to pay $1.7 billion to acquire Mexico's third-largest wireless operator, Iusacell, as it seeks to grab a slice of a market with lower cellular penetration than the United States and faster potential growth.
Mexico's government earlier this year implemented reforms to shake up its telecom and broadcast market by weakening the dominance of broadcaster Grupo Televisa and billionaire Carlos Slim's cellphone and fixed-line company America Movil.
AT&T is looking to tap into the growing cellphone market in Latin America's No. 2 economy now that the government is encouraging foreign inves…

rural populations are in inexorable decline

English: This photo describes a rural area (Photo credit: Wikipedia) In more and more countries, rural populations are in inexorable decline. China hit peak rural in 1991, only a year after the U.S., with 836 million people in rural areas. The number living in the countryside today is 636 million (compared with 722 million living in urban areas of the country). Brazil’s rural population peaked in 1973 with 42.4 million rural dwellers. That is down to 29.7 million today (compared with an urban population of 171 million).
India and Nigeria are yet to hit the peak, with rural populations still growing at a little under 1 percent a year in India and around 1.2 percent in Nigeria. But globally we are reaching the inflection point. In the five years between 2009 and 2013, world population increased about 1.2 percent a year. Urban populations increased 2.1 percent a year. If urban population worldwide keeps expanding faster than total population, sometime around 2021 the global rural populat…