May 1st

Google, Apple Settle Charges of Conspiring to Blacklist Workers

By Mike Goldman
Google, Apple Settle Charges of Conspiring to Blacklist Workers
Google, Apple, Intel and Adobe agreed to a settlement this week of charges they conspired to limit employment opportunities of their workers.  The combined settlement of $324 million will be divided up among 64,000 plaintiffs, meaning each will receive a  little over $5,000.  After paying legal fees and other expenses, the amount each plaintiff ends up with will be next to nothing.  The settlement came as a surprise to some observers because the plaintiff group initially asked for $9 billion an amount that would have worked out to just over $140,000 per claimant.  The amount agreed upon in the settlement amounts to less than 4 percent of the reward originally sought.
Jan 8th

ADP Reports 238,000 Jobs Created in December

By Mike Goldman
ADP Reports 238,000 Jobs Created in December
The US job market closed out 2013 with a bang, according to a report issued Wednesday, creating 238,000 jobs last month.  With the report, payroll processing firm ADP outpaced the expectations of a group of economists in a recent FactSet survey that called for a gain of 200,000.  The better-than-expected ADP reading bodes well for the Labor Department's official report on December job creation, due Friday.  A separate survey conducted by Bloomberg projected that Labor's reading would come in at 195,000.  
 
Dec 31st

Consumer Optimism Hits Five Year High

By Frank Galvano
Consumer Optimism Hits Five Year High
 
US consumer sentiment reached a five-year high this month in terms of their take on current economic conditions, according to a report issued Tuesday by the Conference Board.  The final reading of the group's index of consumer confidence rose to a final reading of 78.1 from an upwardly revised reading of 72.0 in November.  The gain also outpaced Wall Street expectations, as a group of business writers projected a reading of 76.0, on average, in a recent poll conducted by Reuters.  December's reading is the highest since April 2008, when the full impact of the nation's worst post-Great Depression downturn was not yet realized.

Dec 6th

Did the Maker of the Nook “Cook the Books”?

By Dave Simmons
Did the Maker of the Nook “Cook the Books”?


It may not be a very Merry Christmas this year for America's last remaining major bookseller, as Barnes & Noble revealed Friday it is currently under investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission for potential accounting improprieties.  The news sent shares of the company tumbling nearly 12 percent as investors wondered what kind of shape the company must be in to “cook the books.”  The stock was up 8.6 percent for the year to begin Friday's session, but finished 4.3 percent lower than its January 1st level.  Analysts reacted to the report, as well, lowering price targets and downgrading the stock in addition to speculating that the company may yet have to sell off its Nook unit after all to avoid bankruptcy or worse.

Dec 6th

Samsung and Philips Among Companies Raided by EU

By Kelly Curtis
Samsung and Philips Among Companies Raided by EU


Samsung and Philips each revealed Friday that they were among a handful of consumer electronics firms raided a day earlier by European authorities.  The raid was focused, a spokesman for the European Commission noted, on companies whom the Commission believes may have been colluding by limiting the availability of certain products online in order to restrict competition.  Both Samsung and Philips said they are cooperating fully with the Commission's inspectors.  "The Commission has concerns that the companies concerned may have violated EU antitrust rules that prohibit anti-competitive agreements or concerted practices," read a statement from the agency.

Dec 6th

Economy Gained 203,000 Jobs in November, Jobless Rate Hits 5-Year Low

By Ronnie
Economy Gained 203,000 Jobs in November, Jobless Rate Hits 5-Year Low

The US Labor Department reported Friday that the economy added 203,000 jobs in November, exceeding Wall Street estimates and bolstering confidence in the ongoing economic recovery.  The report also showed that the national unemployment rate slipped from 7.3 percent to 7.0 percent, the lowest it's been since the early months of the Great Recession.  The news sent stocks higher, while also reigniting speculation that the Federal Reserve may soon decide to begin winding down its monetary stimulus program aimed at keeping interest rates low.  In a recent survey conducted by Bloomberg, a group of economists estimated that the job gain last month would come in at 180,000, on average.

Nov 14th

Volkswagen Issues Recall for 2.6 Million Vehicles

By Kelly Curtis

Volkswagen Issues Recall for 2.6 Million Vehicles

 

German automaker Volkswagen suffered a setback this week when it had to recall more than 2.6 million vehicles worldwide over several minor problems. The recall involves not only the company's namesake Volkswagen brand, but also its luxury Audi line of vehicles, and represents the largest recall in the company's storied history. The pride of the German auto industry has been quite open in recent months about overtaking Japan's Toyota and the United States' General Motors as the world's largest automaker by 2020. The latest recall, while only involving minor fixes, could be the difference on whether the company achieves its stated goal.

Nov 14th

McDonald's to Spend $3 Billion on New and Remodeled Restaurants

By Betty

McDonald's to Spend $3 Billion on New and Remodeled Restaurants

 

Not satisfied with being easily the world's largest restaurant chain, McDonald's announced on Thursday it is planning to spend almost $3 billion in 2014 to open between 1,500 and 1,600 new locations and remodel some 1,000 existing restaurants. The iconic company has dominated the world's fast food market for years, but overall sales have been relatively flat despite a series of changes to the menu. The company also issued its forecast for commodity costs in 2014, which it expects to rise between 1 and 2 percent in the US and between 1.5 and 2.5 percent in Europe.

Nov 14th

Wal-Mart Posts Slide in Same Store Sales

By Ronnie

Wal-Mart Posts Slide in Same Store Sales

 

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. issued its third-quarter results Thursday, posting a decline in same-store sales that concerned investors with the all-important holiday shopping season fast approaching. The world's largest retailer said both revenue and profit were high on a year-over-year basis, but sales at stores open a year or more fell slightly, prompting some alarm about the willingness of the company's lower-income customers to spend. Same-store sales are viewed as a vital piece of data about the health of a retailer, as the figure omits data from recently opened or closed stores.

Nov 14th

Lockheed Martin Reveals Plan for 4,000 Layoffs

By Mike Goldman

Lockheed Martin Reveals Plan for 4,000 Layoffs

 

Lockheed Martin announced Thursday it will close three of its plants by the middle of 2015, cutting 2,000 jobs in the process, and also trim down several of its divisions to further reduce payroll by another 2,000 jobs. The cuts are just the latest by a major US defense contractor as the industry moves forward following the latest round of government defense spending cuts. The three plants that Lockheed plans to close are in Newtown, Pennsylvania, Goodyear, Arizona and Akron, Ohio. The divisions the company is downsizing are its Information Systems & Global Solutions business, its Mission System and Training unit and its Space Systems segment.

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