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UPS Cuts 2nd Quarter Outlook

UPS reported that its second quarter earnings will be lower than its previous expectation as customers opted for cheaper options as well as an oversupply in the air freight business. The logistics and package delivery company said that it is expecting a slowdown in the industrial economy of the United States. Most industries use shipping services in their operations and UPS and its competitor FedEx are known as bellwethers for the economy. It also experienced a slowdown in package volume growth attributed to labor negotiations. The company didn’t... 
 

US Budget Surplus Breaks Record in June

The US government got budget surplus in June, which is the latest indicator of improving finances that could decrease the urgency in Congress to reach a compromise regarding increasing the borrowing limit of the nation. The government got $117 billion more than it paid out last month. It was attributed to the increased tax revenues, cuts in public spending and large payments to the Treasury from state-backed mortgage companies. Analysts expected the government to get $39.5 billion of surplus. The surplus in June was the largest for the month to... 
 

US Retailers Agree to a Factory Safety Pact in Bangladesh

17 retailers and clothing makers from the United States have agreed to a five year pact with the goal of improving conditions at Bangladesh apparel plants. Some of the companies include Target, Walmart, and Gap. The companies agreed to set up safety guidelines within the next three months. The standards include inspections of all factories that supply their garments within a year. Retailers were pressured to improve the supervision and safety of factories in Bangladesh after a building collapsed last April that killed 1,129 workers. It was the deadliest... 
 

Global Economic Growth Slower than Anticipated

According to the International Monetary Fund report released Tuesday, global economic growth will be slower than expected in 2013 and the next year due to the weaker consumer demand in emerging markets as well as the recession in the euro zone. In the IMF’s quarterly update of World Economic Outlook, it warned that action must be taken to improve growth. Some of the actions that need to be done are structural reforms in the emerging markets, measures to bolster the banking system in Europe, and a medium term plan to lower the deficit in the United... 
 

Crude Options Volatility Remains near Highest Level

Crude options volatility remained near its highest level, which it reached last April. Futures closed at a 14 month high. These were attributed to the strong job gains in the US and the unrest in Egypt. Implied volatility for at-the-money options expiring in August, which is a reading of expected price swings in futures and a measure of options, was 24.18 percent. This was down from 24.33 percent on July 3. West Texas Intermediate crude for August delivery gained $1.98 to $103.22 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. This was the highest... 
 

Morningstar Reports Credit Card Data Leak

Morningstar said that personal data, such as credit card details, of around 2,300 users of the company’s Morningstar Document Research service have been compromised because of a security breach last year. The company said that the breach was made on April 3, 2012 that has resulted to the leak of names, addresses, email addresses and passwords. This was according to a filing made by the company Friday. It took the company a year to make the announcement after finding out about the breach. Morningstar Document Research offers a worldwide database... 
 

Gold Drops as Dollar Rises due to Jobs Report

Gold futures dropped to a week low as the dollar increased to its highest level in three years after the release of the jobs report that showed US payrolls went up more than the estimates in June. This fueled speculations that the Federal Reserve will reduce its stimulus program. The US dollar gained as much as 1.6 percent against several major currencies that eroded the appeal of gold as an alternative investment. Payrolls added 195,000 workers, which is the second straight month jobs were added to the economy. The average estimate in a survey... 
 

Bond Withdrawals Could Lead to Opportunities

Investors have a lot to be concerned about the bond market. Yields are increasing and prices have dropped. Investors are withdrawing their money out of bond funds at an alarming rate. There are questions where the money will go to next. It has been reported that more than $60 billion was pulled out of US bond funds in June. This was a record amount. Pacific Investment Management Co., which has the world’s largest bond fund, had $9.9 billion worth of withdrawals in June from its Total Return Fund. The move away from bonds came after the Federal... 
 

Oil Price Increase to Impact Stocks and Economy

The price of crude oil reached its highest level in over a year. It traded above $1.2 per barrel due to the problems in Egypt as President Mohammed Morsi pledged not to resign despite the demands of millions of protestors. Stock market had a shortened session due to the July Fourth celebration. The price of crude oil closed at $101.22 per barrel, which was ip around 1.6 percent. The benchmark crude oil contract for August delivery increased $1.61 to close at $99.60 per barrel. The political crisis in Egypt has caused some uncertainties in the markets.... 
 

Investors Withdraw $9.6 Billion from Pimco Fund

Investors pulled $9.6 billion from Pimco’s flagship Total Return bond fund in June. This was a sign how increasing interest rates have made bonds unattractive to investors. The amount was the largest monthly outflow since Morningstar started tracking the fund in 1993. Total Return Fund is the largest mutual fund in the world. The amount pulled out of the fund is nearly half of the total amount of money that was pulled from exchange traded funds and bond mutual funds through June 26. The size of the outflows emphasizes the challenges Pimco is currently... 
 

US Manufacturing Goes Up as Orders Increase

Manufacturing in the United States went up in June as orders increased. Factory reports from Japan to the United Kingdom indicated stabilization in the global economy. According to the Institute for Supply Management, US manufacturing increased to a three month high. The ISM index went up to 50.9 from 49 in May. Shares increased across the globe as the data improved outlook for a global growth in the second half of 2013. There was a decline in China’s purchasing manager’s index that indicated a credit crisis in the second largest economy in... 
 

Top Travel Apps for Small Businesses

Travel is vital for most small businesses to achieve success. Travelling can be troublesome without the right knowledge and tools. Now you can get all these via your smartphone. Below are some of the recommended small business travel apps that can save your company time and money. Make sure you have them in your phone before you embark on your business travel. Most of the apps are available for both the Android and Apple iOS. First on the list is Kayak. This helps you find and compare prices on flights, hotels and car rentals. You need to be connected... 
 

Noodles & Co Doubles its Shares in IPO

Restaurant chain Noodles & Co saw its shares double during their initial public offering. The chain known for its casual atmosphere and fast service has a value of over $1.07 billion. Its shares closed at $35.20, with was an increase of around 96 percent. It went as high as $37.69, which was an increase of 110 percent. Noodles & Co’s IPO is the first one from a restaurant in 2013. It was a big success despite the volatility in the market that made several businesses to forego their IPO or cut it in size. At the midpoint of the new range,... 
 

Gold and Silver Recover as Energy Falls

Gold and silver prices closed a bit higher Friday at the end of a rough week for the market. This marked the first gain for gold after four losses in a row. Investors have been dumping gold since last week after the Federal Reserve announced that it could end its stimulus program. The likelihood of the end of the program has made traders worry about inflation and reduced the appeal of gold. August gold increased $12.10 to close at $1,223.70 per ounce. Gold was still down 9 percent since last Wednesday, when the Fed chairman Bernanke made the announcement.... 
 

Jobless Benefits Applications Drop 9,000 Last Week

Less Americans filed for unemployment claims last week. This was a sign that employers are slowing their rate of firings as the economy’s outlook becomes brighter. Jobless claims declined 9,000 to 346,000 in the week that ended June 22 from the revised 355,000 the previous week. This was according to the report released by the Labor Department Thursday. The average estimate in a survey of economists made by Bloomberg was for 345,000 claims. Smaller reductions in the jobless claims showed employers were confident that demand would be sustained... 
 

Treasury Yields Close Higher due to Weaker Data

US Treasury prices closed higher Wednesday that was attributed to weaker than estimated economic data. There was little demand for the US Treasury five year notes that showed investors were worried with regards to the date the Federal Reserve would reduce its stimulus program. The US Treasury sold $35 billion of its five year notes that got the lowest demand since September 2009. It had a bid to cover ratio of 2.45 times. The notes sold at a high yield of 1.48 percent, which is the highest auction yield since July of 2011. Five year and seven year... 
 

Increasing Sales Lead to Brighter Outlook in Housing Market

The latest government reports showed that sales of new homes went up last month to the highest level in five years. There is still a lot of uncertainty in the home construction industry but the sales report rekindled builders’ optimism. It has also led to increased hiring. Home building is one of the vital factors of the nation’s economy. The collapse of the housing market had a huge impact on the economy. The gains in home sales give hopes for a rebound. Several developments are now in the works across the nation. In metro Atlanta, David Smith... 
 

Major Law Firm Weil to Lay Off Lawyers and Support Staff

Weil Gotshal & Manges, which is one of the world’s most prominent law companies, announced that it would lay off 60 associate lawyers and 110 support staff. This was an indicator that the law industry continued to suffer from financial problems. The firm has 1,200 lawyers and based in New York. It made the announcement Monday and stated that the new norm in the legal services market had forced the firm to make the decision. Barry Wolf, executive partner of Weil Gotshal & Manges, stated that the market for premium legal services continued... 
 

Bond Yields on Track for Biggest Weekly Gain in a Decade

US equities stabilized in a volatile trading session Friday as Treasury yields were on track to get their largest weekly increase in 10 years. Investors reconsidered their positions as the Federal Reserve prepares to discontinue its economic stimulus. Markets are changing according to the Fed’s plan announced earlier in the week. The central bank will reduce its asset purchases later this year if the economy keeps improving. Chairman Ben Bernanke outlined the timeline for the plan as the interest rates keep on increasing and equities markets selling... 
 

US Stocks Falls for the Week

US stocks dropped for the week that sent indexes to their worst levels since April. This was after Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said he could discontinue the monetary stimulus. All ten industries in the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index declined for the week. Telephone and utility companies dropped the most among the sectors as increasing bond yields decreased demand for dividends. Homebuilders declined the most in a year. D.R. Horton Inc. decreased 12 percent due to concerns of higher interest rates that can derail the recovery of the... 
 

NSA Controversy Bad for US Tech Companies

Most Americans are now worried about their privacy after the disclosure of the secret National Security Agency surveillance programs. In an effort to relieve the concerns, a senior administration official said that President Barack Obama’s Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board is now reviewing the nation’s counterterrorism actions to guarantee that the actions is balanced with the need to protect civil liberties. US tech companies are now concerned that their businesses are at risk after the disclosures that they have been cooperating... 
 

Georgia’s Jobless Rate and Hiring Up in May

The unemployment rate in the State of Georgia increased in May to 8.3 percent but labor officials said that job growth also gained during the month. The seasonally adjusted jobless rate is up one-tenth of a percent from 8.2 percent in April, according to the state Labor Department. Labor Commissioner Mark Butler said the increase in the jobless rate was attributed to more people joining the workforce. This was an indicator that of rising confidence among job hunters. He said that despite the increase in the unemployment rate, employers in Georgia... 
 

US Companies Want to Save Corporate Tax Loopholes

Corporate America managed to lobby for loopholes in the tax code that benefits the companies. They are also working doubly hard to keep them as is. US companies have been showering Washington with money in an effort to thwart away tax reform laws that could make them pay more taxes. This is according to the new study by the Public Citizen, a reform advocacy group. The study also showed that corporate profits increased to all-time highs as part of the US gross domestic product and at the same time, corporate taxes were at near record lows. This was... 
 

Taxpayers Pay Millions for Fed Workers Student Loan Relief

Federal workers have their student loans subsidized by the government. This was designed to make jobs in the government more attractive to those who might earn more in the private sector. The perk is now up for the chopping block. It looks like Congress will allow student loan interest rates to double on July 1 but federal workers are protected from the increase due to the benefit funded by the taxpayers that give more than $20 million last year for them to reduce their college debts. Congress passed the perk more than 10 years ago. The 2007 law... 
 

Supreme Court Allows Regulators to Challenge Generic Drug Agreements

The Supreme Court ruled that antitrust regulators could challenge the agreements that allow rival drug makers to postpone the sale of a generic drug. The arrangements, known as reverse payment or pay for delay, allow brand name drug manufacturers facing a patent challenge from generic companies to pay them to stay out of the market for the mean time. The Federal Trade Commission has been trying to restrict these types of agreements for more than a decade. The agency argued they are anti-competitive. The FTC and private plaintiffs have pursued similar... 
 

Central Banks Struggle to Communicate, Leads to Bond Yields Gains

It looks like central banks across the globe fail to give out the goals of their monetary policy as they face competing views. Chairman Ben S Bernanke tries his best to spell out when the Federal Reserve will pull back on its asset purchases and increase interest rates. Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda tried a reflation approach but it backfired as bond yields increased. European Central Bank President Mario Draghi gives investors hope for more stimulus actions. Because of the failure in communication by the central banks, confidence of investors,... 
 

Bidding for Back Bay Parking Spaces Reaches $560,000

The piece of land is just big enough to fit two cars. It has weeds in its borders and a utility pole. But the auction for it has attracted a crowd. It is because the piece of land is a pair of tandem parking spaces in Back Bay, which is considered the most parking unfriendly section in Boston. The bidding for the parking spaces started at $42,000. It went up to six digits in just seconds. When the auction ended 15 minutes later, the winner agreed to pay $560,000, which is almost double the average sales price of a single family home in the State... 
 

Concerns about Origins of Genetically Modified Wheat Affect US White Wheat

Unapproved genetically engineered wheat was discovered in Oregon. Concerns about the discovery have been pressuring the US white wheat market for more than two weeks. Major buyer Japan extended the ban on wheat from the Pacific Northwest region that was implemented after the genetically modified wheat was found. Millers from South Korea also suspended wheat imports from the US pending the release of test results. The US Department of Agriculture said that the genetically modified wheat found in Oregon was an isolated case. The agency continues its... 
 

Unemployment Claims Drop to 334,000 Last Week

There were less Americans who applied for unemployment benefits last week than the estimate. This showed that companies fired fewer workers as growth cooled in the quarter. Jobless claims declined 12,000 to 334,000 in the week that ended June 8 from 346,000 the previous week. The average estimate according to 51 economists polled by Bloomberg was at 346,000. The Labor Department said that no states were estimated for the data and they found nothing unusual from it. Fewer firings meant companies have pared their workforce as much as they can. This... 
 

Share of Homeowners with Negative Equity Drop 20%

The share of borrowers who owe more than the worth of their homes dropped to less than 20 percent in the first three months of the year. At the same period, prices went up in hard hit markets. This was according to data from CoreLogic Inc. Around 850,000 residential properties got positive equity during the first quarter. The number of underwater homes was left at 9.7 million or 19.8 percent of all homes in the United States with mortgages. It was down from 21.7 percent at the end of 2012. Values of homes are going up as buyers compete for tight... 
 

Banks Earn Big on Overdraft Fees

The majority of banks earns large profits in overdraft fees by allowing customers to overdraw their checking accounts. This was according to a recent report released by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Consumer groups want a ban on bank’s consenting customers to withdraw more than what they have in their accounts. In 2012, the average overdraft fee was $3 at the 33 biggest financial institutions and $30 at 800 smaller banks and credit unions. Consumers who didn’t opt to spend more than they had in their accounts saved a lot more than... 
 

Navistar Announces Losses Larger than Estimates in 2nd Quarter

Navistar International Corp. said its losses in the second quarter was larger than the estimates as the company absorbed higher warranty costs and lost sales as it shifted into a new engine technology. Jack Allen, chief operating officer of Navistar, said that the company was in the midst of a turnaround. Navistar expected to lower its losses to be on track to profitability by the end of 2013. Troy Clarke, Navistar president and chief executive officer, said the company is taking things one quarter at a time. He said that pre-existing warranty costs... 
 

More Companies Allow Workers to Buy and Sell Vacation Time

A new survey showed that more companies are looking at their employee’s vacation time differently. The poll made by the Society for Human Resource Management indicated more employers changed the way they see their workers’ vacations. 9 percent of companies give their workers the option of buying more vacation time from their co-worker or selling their own. Five percent of companies allow workers to purchase more vacation time via payroll deduction. Now workers can sell their vacation time for extra cash. People who want to have extended vacation... 
 

PRISM Beneficial for US Tech Companies

US-based Internet services have a lot of users from outside the country. Google’s e-mail service, Gmail, has its servers in the company’s headquarters in California. Its business is international with less than 30 percent of the users residing in the United States. This is also true with Facebook’s user base. Around 54 percent of Americans have an account on the social network but only 16 percent of users are based in the United States. The rest of the users access the site from overseas. US-based users are only a small portion of the user... 
 

US Bonds Fall due to Speculations on Fed Stimulus

US Treasury debt prices dropped Friday as investors renewed their bets that the Federal Reserve would reduce its stimulus program later this year after data indicated solid employment growth. The yield on the benchmark 10 year note increased for the sixth week in a row, which was the first time since late March to early May of 2009 when the nation lost thousands of jobs in the midst of the recession. US payrolls added 175,000 new jobs in May according to the data released by the Labor Department. It was more than the 170,000 estimate made by economists... 
 

Jobs Market to Continue Slow Growth

The federal budget cuts might have affected how the government added new jobs but the private sector continued to create new ones at a slow but steady pace. Small businesses have experienced obstacles in their way and yet they are the largest supply of new jobs in the US. The Labor Department will release the latest jobs report on Friday. Economists estimated a gain of 190,000 but there are some who changed their estimates to a lower number after ADP, a payroll processor, released a report that showed businesses in the private sector hired 135,000... 
 

US to Sell More GM Shares after Automaker Returns to S&P

The US Treasury Department said it was planning to sell more shares of General Motors Co. common stock before the car company goes back to the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index after its four years of absence. The US government announced that it will sell 30 million more shares of GM common stock that is worth 50 million. The offering also includes a sale by the UAW union’s GM retiree health care trust. The changes in the S&P 500 have made money managers to shift holdings to match the index. This could be beneficial for GM, which has seen... 
 

Amazon Expands Business with Online Grocery

Amazon.com is said to be planning to come out with an online grocery that it has been developing for several years. The company has set its sights on the biggest retail sector that has yet to be taken over by e-commerce. Food is a low margin business business but Amazon can outperform other online grocery services by delivering orders for higher margin items at the same time. The new line is said to be called AmazonFresh. The company has plans to build new warehouses with refrigerated areas for food. They will also have space to store up to a million... 
 

US Manufacturing Index Drops to Lowest Level since June 2009

According to the Institute for Supply Management, the index of manufacturing activity declined in May to its lowest level since June 2009. This is caused by the weak economies overseas and a pullback in business spending that led to lesser production and new orders. The ISM manufacturing activity index dropped to 49 in May, compared to 50.7 in April. It was the lowest level in four years and the first time the gauge has declined below 50 since November. A reading below 50 is a sign of contraction. The index of new orders dropped to 48.8, which is... 
 

San Diego Tourism Agency Closes Down

The tourism agency of San Diego announced that it will close down Monday because the city hasn’t released the money it needs to pay its workers. Mayor Bob Filner said that he is withholding millions of dollars in tourism marketing revenue until there is a guarantee that part of the money will be used for the centennial celebration of the 1915 exposition in Balboa Park. Last month, Mayor Filner and the city’s hoteliers have ended their feud over how to spend money earned by a two percent hotel room tax. But the mayor claimed that San Diego’s... 
 

Obama Extends Making Home Affordable Program

The US Treasury Secretary Jack Lew announced that President Barack Obama’s Making Home Affordable Program would be extended until December 31, 2015. This would keep it align with deadlines of other federal housing programs and initiatives. The Making Home Affordable Program is a vital component of President Obama administration’s strategy to help Americans avoid foreclosure and recover resulting from the housing bubble collapse. The previous deadline was December 31 of this year but the program was extended to keep it aligned with deadlines... 
 

House Passes Student Loan Bill

The House passed a measure Thursday that would prevent the doubling of student loan interest on July 1. The legislation would keep the rates at prevailing market trends and end federal subsidies. It was voted along party lines, 221 to 198. The next stage would be a standoff between House Republicans, Senate Democrats and President Barack Obama. They need to act on the issue before the deadline. Republicans said that they have devised a long-term plan that would get the government out of business of setting interest rates. Democrats said that House... 
 

Economic Growth in First Quarter Moderate

According to the Commerce Department, the economy grew at a modest annual rate of 2.4 percent in the first quarter of 2013. It was slightly slower than the estimate. Consumer spending was stronger than the estimates made by economists but businesses restocked slowly as local and state government spending cuts became deeper. The Commerce Department also said that economic growth from January to March was only marginally below the 2.5 percent annual rate that the government had predicted in April. The rate was still faster than the 0.4 percent growth... 
 

Fairholme Takes a 500 Million Stake in Freddie and Fannie

Fund manager Bruce Berkowitz’s Fairholme Capital Management invested on Freddie Mac and Frannie Mae preferred shares. The mutual fund company took around $500 million stake in the preferred shares of the mortgage firms that have been operated by the federal government since September 2008. Berkowitz has been named Morningstar’s domestic stock fund manager of the decade in 2010. He is best known for betting on financial stocks. Fairholme is the latest among a couple of investment firms and hedge funds that invested on common or preferred stock... 
 

Oil Price Increases to $95 per Barrel

Oil price increased to $95 per barrel Tuesday due to the gains on stock markets across the globe. Benchmark oil for July delivery went up 86 cents to close at $95.01 per barrel. It was the first increase for oil in five trading sessions. Oil price was helped by the positive signs in the US economy. Home prices went up the most in seven years and consumer confidence got to a five year high. Stock markets in the United States showed strong gains. Asian and European markets closed higher than the previous session. The increase in the price of oil could... 
 

US Housing Market to Continue Growth

Analysts from the National Association of Realtors and investors are confident about the future of the housing market in the United States. They based their forecasts on current economic and employment data. Stocks of home improvement supply companies went up. The NAR noted several key factors that led to the growth of the residential real estate market. Some of the indicators included growing employment, improvement in credit score averages, low home inventory, and increased demand for investment and vacation homes. Home Depot stock reached a 52... 
 

Jobless Benefits Drop Last Week

The number of Americans who applied for jobless benefits dropped 23,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 340,000. The number was consistent with the solid job growth. The four week average, which is said to be a less volatile measure, dropped 500 to 339,500. Last week’s numbers was near the five year low of 338,000 that was reached in the first week of May. The four week average is 9 percent lower than in November. Unemployment claims are seen as proxy for layoffs. The decline in claims coincided with steady job growth over the past six months.... 
 

US Against the $20 Million Severance Package to AMR CEO

The Justice Department publicly announced its opposition to American Airlines’ plan to pay $20 million in severance to Chief Executive Tom Horton as part of the carrier’s merger with US Airways Group Inc. The US trustee’s office, part of the Justice Department that monitors bankruptcy proceedings, said that the payment would violate bankruptcy law. This was according to the court filing in New York. American parent company AMR Corp. tried to get the court’s blessing of the severance under its plan to exit Bankruptcy Court protection with... 
 

Unemployment Claims Drop as Consumer Comfort Increases

There were fewer Americans who applied for jobless benefits last week. At the same time, consumer confidence neared a five year high as the largest part of the economy benefited from improving housing and job markets. Unemployment claims dropped by 23,000 to 340,000 in the week that ended May 18. This was according to the report released by the Labor Department. The weekly Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index went up to minus 29.4 for the period that ended May 19 from minus 30.2 the past week. Increasing home values, dropping dismissals, and record... 
 

Apple Tax Scandal can Lead to the Scrapping of Corporate Tax

Apple is described as a tax dodger that deprived the US taxpayers of billions. The company used schemes in order to avoid paying taxes. US senators grilled Apple CEO Tim Cook with regards to the company’s tax practices. Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky observed that people who criticized Apple were in fact doing everything they can to minimize their tax obligations. These included his fellow senators on Capitol Hill. Apple does provide large amount of revenue for the IRS via corporate income tax, payroll taxes, and taxable income it pays its workers. Apple... 
 
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