Jul 28th

Volkswagen Passes Toyota as World's Number One Automaker

By Frank Galvano

 

Volkswagen Passes Toyota as World's Number One Automaker

Germany's Volkswagen achieved a long-held goal in the first half of the year, surpassing Japan's Toyota as the world's largest automaker. According to figures released Tuesday, Volkswagen delivered a total of 5.04 million vehicles from January to June, edging out the 5.02 million vehicles Toyota sold in that time. Both companies are believed to be firmly ahead of General Motors, whose days atop the world carmaker list are far behind. Volkswagen, meanwhile, declined to brag about the achievement, choosing instead to focus on staying on top. The company's stated goal of being number one by 2018 is in reach, but it remains to be seen if it can avoid being passed by Toyota by the time the year ends.

May 27th

Taco Bell Considering Offering Delivery

By Frank Galvano

Taco Bell Considering Offering Delivery

Taco Bell is considering launching late-night delivery service, according to Greg Creed, the CEO of Taco Bell's parent company, Yum Brands, Inc. Customers ask about delivery in Taco Bell restaurants quite often, Creed said during a discussion at the Bernstein Strategic Decisions Conference in New York on Wednesday. The executive noted that a test run would likely be designed to cater to kids living on or near college campuses, and would only involve deliveries on Thursday, Friday and Saturday night. Of course, delivering Taco Bell food presents challenges, Creed admitted because of the hot and cold temperatures of different ingredients. Another Yum Brands restaurant, KFC, is “actually well-suited for delivery," Creed noted. The only Yum brands concept that is offering delivery currently is Pizza Hut.

May 12th

Spotify to Expand Into Video Streaming

By Frank Galvano

 

Spotify to Expand Into Video Streaming

The Wall Street Journal reported over the weekend that global music streaming leader Spotify is finalizing plans to begin producing and streaming video. According to the report, Spotify has been in negotiations for several months with companies that produce video content for YouTube. In addition to acquiring content, Spotify is also looking for partners to co-produce content with. The company could reveal its plans before the end of the month, according to the Journal piece, which cited an unnamed source familiar with the ongoing negotiations. 

 

Feb 10th

Apple Becomes World's 1st $700 Billion Company

By Mike Goldman

 

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.

Jan 30th

Google Shares Plummet in After-Market Trading on Earnings Miss

By Frank Galvano
Google Shares Plummet in After-Market Trading on Earnings Miss
 
Google shares plunged in after-hours trading as investors absorbed the tech giant's disappointing fourth-quarter earnings report.  The shares, which closed Wednesday's session at a value of $512.86 per share, fell as low as $503.66 per share during Thursday's session, then continued dropping after the market closed, bottoming out at just under $491 per share.  At that point, Google's stock price had fallen nearly 20 percent since February 26th, 2014, when the stock reached a record value of $610.70 per share.  Over the same time frame, the S&P 500 has gained just under 9 percent and the Nasdaq has climbed almost 10 percent, all while Google's biggest rival Facebook also gained 10 percent.
Dec 4th

Jobless Claims Slip Back Below 300,000

By Mike Goldman

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.

Jul 25th

Mark Zuckerberg Fortune Surpasses that of Google Founders

By Ronnie
Mark Zuckerberg Fortune Surpasses that of Google Founders
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg surpassed Google founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page on Bloomberg's Billionaires Index on Thursday as shares of his social network closed at a record high.  The gains pushed Zuckerberg's net worth to $33.3 billion, pushing his ranking to No. 16 and dropping Google's founders to 17th and 18th on the list.  Facebook's stock gains came after the company reported Wednesday that its second-quarter income rose 61 percent and exceeded analyst expectations.  The company's shares have gained an impressive 183 percent over the past year, and analysts do not expect that growth to slow anytime soon.  Of course, even with the growth in Zuckerberg's net worth in recent months, he still has a long way to go to be the world's richest man, as Microsoft founder Bill Gates tops the list with a fortune worth $84.7 billion.
Jul 25th

Jobless Claims Slide to 8-Year Low

By Dave Simmons
Jobless Claims Slide to 8-Year Low
 
Initial jobless claims fell to their lowest level since before the recession in the week ended July 19th, according to a report issued Thursday by the US Labor Department, offering further evidence that the labor market recovery is progressing at a faster pace than most economists thought possible.  According to the report, initial claims for regular unemployment fell 19,000 to a seasonally adjusted 284,000.  It was the smallest number of claims reported since February 2006, more than a year before the onset of the worst American economic downturn since the 1930s.  The number was also significantly better than projections from economists, who expected claims to rise to 308,000, according to a recent Reuters poll.  Thursday's report boosted optimism about the upcoming report on July payroll numbers, which was already high given job gains have surpassed 200,000 in each of the last five months.  The economy hasn't enjoyed a stretch like that since the late '90s, when job growth was being fueled by the expansion of the tech sector as the Internet was exploding.
Jun 26th

Whole Foods Fines $800k for Overpricing in California

By Kelly Curtis
Whole Foods Fines $800k for Overpricing in California

Whole Foods Market Inc., the nation's largest retailer of natural and organic foods, has agreed to pay $800,000 in penalties after officials in California determined that the store was overcharging customers in the state. The charges were initially made by city attorneys in San Diego, Santa Monica and Los Angeles, accusing the retailer of inaccurate pricing practices. Among the charges is that Whole Foods was selling bulk items without subtracting the weight of containers, and was selling many items by item that should have been sold by weight. In addition to the fines, the company has agreed to hire pricing accuracy managers, and each of its 74 stores in California will be subject to random audits for the next five years. The company issued a statement declaring it had cooperated with the investigation and will take steps top ensure more accurate pricing moving forward. 
May 29th

US Economy Shrunk in 1st Quarter, Economists Not Concerned About Recession

By Ronnie
US Economy Shrunk in 1st Quarter, Economists Not Concerned About Recession
The US Commerce Department reported Thursday that the world's largest economy shrunk in the first quarter, but the news didn't cause panic among economists, who predict that the downturn will prove to be temporary.  The report showed that US gross domestic product shrunk by a 1 percent annualized rate from the beginning of the year through March, marking the first contraction since the first quarter of 2011, when the economy shrunk at a 1.3 percent annual rate.  Economists attributed the poor performance to a decline in corporate investment, a larger trade deficit and a disappointing spring selling season for the housing market due top harsher than normal winter weather, particularly in the Northeast.  Economists expect a sharp recovery in the current quarter, however, as the nation moves forward from the extreme weather seen during the first quarter.

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