Facebook's Privacy Woes Continue as French Authorities Issue Warning
Social media giant Facebook is under scrutiny in Europe yet again as the French data protection authority, known as the CNIL, has ordered the company to get its house in order. The regulator has given Facebook three months to comply with its orders to avoid charges, but warned that failure to do so would mean possible sanctions for the firm. Facebook has yet to comment publicly on the CNIL order, but confirmed that it has received it and is in the process of reviewing it. In a statement, the company claimed: "We are confident that we comply with European Data Protection law and look forward to engaging with the CNIL to respond to their concerns."
H-E-B Issues Ice Cream Recall
International grocer H-E-B revealed Friday it is launching a voluntary recall of one of its store brand ice cream flavors because it may contain small fragments of wood. There have been no reports of injuries connected to eating the ice cream, but the company says there is a small possibility of choking. The recall is for the store's Creamy Creations brand Caramel Pecan Turtle flavored ice cream. Only products with Sell By dates of April 16th, May 10th, June 7th, and July 18th are affected, and the UPC code on the recalled products is 0 4122051877 7. If you purchased one or more packages of the recalled ice cream, you can return it to your local H-E-B store for a full refund.
Norwegian Man Turned $26 Into $886k with Bitcoin Investment
Thanks to the unprecedented growth in the value of bitcoins, Norwegian Kristoffer Koch discovered in 2013 that he had turned a $26 investment in bitcoins into an $886,000 windfall. While working on a thesis on encryption technologies in 2009, Koch purchased 5,000 bitcoins for 150 kroner $26.60). The busy scholar says he completely forgot about the investment until, in April 2013, media began covering the digital currency. Koch remembered the password to his bitcoin account, and discovered that the 5,000 bitcoins were now worth about 5 million kroner ($$886,000). Koch's timing couldn't have been better, as the value of bitcoins peaked that month at about $266 each. The value plummeted not long after that, reaching an all-time low of $50. Koch exchanged one-fifth of the stash and bought an apartment in trendy Toyen, an upscale neighborhood in Oslo.
Initial Jobless Claims Hold Steady
The US Labor Department reported Thursday that initial unemployment claims held steady last week, fueling the sentiment that the Federal Reserve may raise interest rates next month. According to the report, initial claims came in at a seasonally adjusted 276,000 for the week ended November 7th, the same number of claims as there were in the previous week. Economists noted that the number is consistent with a stable labor sector, and could encourage the Fed to make a move on rates. Claims have now been below 300,000 for a staggering 36 weeks, and claims numbers are approaching levels not seen since the 1970s. The unemployment rate, meanwhile, has fallen to 5.0 percent, the lowest US jobless rate in more than 7 years. The Fed has held the benchmark overnight interest rate near zero since the end of 2008, and will discuss raising the rate at next month's policy meeting.
Amazon Giving Away Free Vinyl LPs
In honor of the relaunch of its Vinyl Record store, online retail giant Amazon is giving away free vinyl LPs to customers. The offer began on October 23rd, with one LP to be given away daily for 13 days. Today, the LP to be given away is a copy of the Rolling Stones' 1971 set, Sticky Fingers. On Thursday, Amazon will not only give away a copy of the Michael Jackson classic, Thriller, but also a TEAC turntable. For more information about Amazon's 13 Day Vinyl Giveaway, or to enter, Click Here.
Stocks Plunge Again on Weak August Jobs Report
US stocks plummeted during Friday's session in response to the August jobs report, which showed the nation's lowest unemployment rate since the onset of the Great Recession but also showed less jobs created than economists were expecting. The Dow Jones lost nearly 300 points in the first half of the trading day, and all three major indexes had lost well over 1 percent as investors reacted to the mixed report. Despite the smaller-than-expected job creation number, investors are concerned that the drop in joblessness will convince the Federal Reserve to boost interest rates.
Nasdaq Closes at Highest Level Ever
US stocks bounced back Wednesday, after a selloff the precious day, with the Nasdaq setting a new all-time closing mark. Just a day after slipping 1.1 percent, the tech-heavy index rose 1.5 percent on Wednesday to close at a record-setting 5,107, just 14 points ahead of the index's previous high close. Broadcom fueled the index's overall gain when its shares surged 22.5 percent after a report that the microchip maker was in talks to be acquired by rival Avago Technologies. Apple (up 2.44 percent) and Frontier Communications Corp (+7.3%) were also strong performers on the Nasdaq. The Dow Jones industrial average also closed higher, gaining 121 points to close at 18,163. The Dow's gains were fueled by an 18 percent surge in shares of United Health Technologies and a 17 percent jump in shares of Disney.
New Android App Could Hurt Google's Ad Revenue
A German company released a new mobile browser this week that has execs over at Google concerned about their biggest source of revenue. Based on the Firefox browser, the new AdBlock browser allows Android users to search the web without seeing the mobile ads that Google earns most of its income through. The app is currently in beta, and comes from Eyeo, the same German firm that developed AdBlock Plus, a PC-based ad-blocking browser extension. According to PageFair, some 28 percent of Internet-using Americans use AdBlock Plus, costing Google a whopping $887 million in ad revenue in 2012. While only 2 percent of the company's ad revenue that year, the total was enough that Google paid Eyeo to “whitelist” some ads. If the mobile version catches on, it could cost Google even more as Americans increasingly turn to mobile devices for their online browsing.
Apple Becomes World's 1st $700 Billion Company
The world's largest private company surpassed a new milestone Tuesday when Apple became the first company in world history to achieve a market capitalization of over $700 billion. The Cupertino-based tech giant was already riding a wave of stock gains after reporting its highest quarterly earnings ever in January, then got another boost last week in the form of a very successful bond sale. The development that took the company over the $700 billion hump came Tuesday, meanwhile, when the company announced a partnership with First Solar to build an $848 million solar power plant on 1,300 acres in Monterey County, California. When completed, the massive solar plant will power Apple's headquarters in Cupertino, a data center in Newark, California, 52 stores across the Golden State and all the company's California-based offices.
Jobless Claims Slip Back Below 300,000
Initial claims for unemployment assistance fell back below 300,000 last week, after climbing above that threshold for the first time in almost three months in the week prior. According to a report issued Thursday by the US Labor Department, first-time filings fell by 17,000 in the week ended November 28 to a seasonally adjusted 297,000. With the latest report, claims have now been under 300,000 for eleven of the past twelve weeks. The trend is encouraging to economists, as it suggests employers are holding on to more of their workers and even considering ramping up hiring as the economy continues to improve. In year-over-year terms, the so-called four-week moving average of claims has dropped nearly 10 percent, suggesting the trend is becoming long-term.