Morning Business Memo:
Don’t go over the fiscal cliff … please! That’s the plea from Wall Street to Congress. Top financial executives, including Lloyd Blankfein of Goldman Sachs, sent a letter to Congress urging action. “The still-fragile US economy cannot sustain and the American people do not deserve the impact of more gridlock in Washington,” the letter states. Economists and business leaders have repeatedly warned that the fiscal cliff is now the number one threat to the economy. Unless Congress agrees on a deal, hundreds of billions of dollars of spending cuts and tax increases will take effect on January 1. Leaders of both parties remain deadlocked on tax and spending plans.
Has some of Google’s glamour worn off? Quarterly earnings plunged in its latest report. It’s quarterly report was not only released more than three hours early – to the chagrin of traders on Wall Street – it also came with a thud: profits down 20 percent over the year before. Google shares closed down 8 percent after the report. Growth in its search-related advertising business slowed down and results from the Motorola hardware unit were also a drag on Google’s results. Thanks to its plunge into the cellphone business Google is no longer solely an internet and software firm. Microsoft’s quarterly profit was also a disappointment. It’s earnings fell 22 percent. Software sales plunged as consumers held off purchases waiting for next week’s launch of Windows 8.
Do you wolf down your food at lunchtime? According to a new survey from Manpower, only one in five Americans report they regularly take a lunch break, 39 percent of employees say they lunch at their desk while 29 percent seldom taking any break. The survey’s authors say the results are a warning sign that American workers are under “relentless stress.” Says Ron Sims of the firm Talent Management: “Of course, they may have lunch, but it doesn’t constitute a real break from work as they must also monitor the phone and email or do any number of other work-related tasks while eating,”
If you have a big list of to-dos for the holidays, here’s a reminder. There are just ten weekends left before Christmas. Gerri Detweiler, head of consumer education at Credit.com, says the best way to avoid over spending on the holidays is make a list early. “There’s a lot of little things that slipped through the cracks and sort of be budget busters,” and those little things can lead to overspending. “Write down what you plan to spend and don’t forget things like tips or the decorations or the extra food you’re going to have to buy over the holidays.” Another tip is to redeem points in reward programs for travel or gifts. Says Detweiler: “Now’s the time to do it because for example if you’re going to use it for gift cards or for a gift it usually takes 4-6 weeks to process that.”
Richard Davies Business Correspondent ABC NEWS Radio ABCNews.com twitter.com/daviesabc