Americans Pour Money into Junk – Morning Business Memo

Mar 30, 2012 8:01am

Americans are pouring their money into junk; consumer investments in junk bonds have soared in the past year.

U.S. companies with junk credit ratings are issuing debt at a record pace. Thanks to very low interest rates, many corporate borrowers have been able to refinance debt at cheap rates.

A survey by Thompson Reuters says many low-rated companies have issued debt in recent months. High-yield bonds are the polite name for the junk.

“A higher yield bond has a yield of about 5.5% these days”, says Suzanne Garland of Kiplinger’s Personal Finance. “That’s great compared to a 10-year Treasury.”

If you’re considering adding junk bonds to your portfolio, Garland says be cautious about how much you buy and spread the risk: “I would suggest investing in a bond fund as opposed to an individual junk high yield bond.”

Foxconn Pledges to Limit Worker Hours

The promise by the manufacturer of Apple’s iPhones and iPads to limit work hours at its factories in China could force other global corporations to hike pay for Chinese workers who produce the world’s consumer electronics, toys and other goods.

Foxconn Technology says it will limit working hours while keeping total pay the same, effectively paying more per hour.  The pledge comes as the Chinese government pushes foreign companies to share more of their revenues with Chinese employees. Foxconn is one of China’s biggest employers, with 1.2 million workers who also assemble products for Microsoft Corp. and Hewlett-Packard Co.  China has long been a low-cost manufacturing center for goods sold under foreign brand names. But wages already were rising quickly as companies compete for workers and communist leaders try to push the country up the technology ladder to make more profitable products.

 Say Goodbye to Your Blackberry?

Do you have a Blackberry? You might be forced to switch to another phone soon. BlackBerry maker Research in Motion says it plans to focus on its corporate customers after failing to compete with Apple’s iPhone and handhelds that run Google’s Android software. RIM had a net loss in the latest quarter because of write downs for the declining value of its brand and its PlayBook tablet inventory. RIM had a net loss of $125 million, or 24 cents a share, in the quarter that ended March 3

Judge Blocks Reebok from Selling Tebow Merchandise 

A running dispute over Tim Tebow merchandise. A federal judge has granted Nike a temporary restraining order, finding “sufficient reason” to block sales of Tebow apparel created by Reebok since March 1. Nike has a five-year contract to be the NFL’s exclusive provider of on-field apparel, including game uniforms and sideline apparel. It maintained in a lawsuit that Reebok rushed to market with Tebow apparel to take advantage of a “unique and short-lived opportunity.” Tebow was traded last week from the Denver Broncos to the New York Jets.

Richard Davies Business Correspondent ABC NEWS Radio twitter.com/daviesabc

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