Morning Money Memo…
Retailers are rushing to update their point-of-sale systems after at least three major chains were hit by data breaches, but many consumers have failed to act to protect themselves. Recent break-ins compromised credit card and other personal financial information from more than 100 million customers. Data experts warn more attacks are almost certain this year.
The Better Business Bureau and security blogger Brian Krebs say scammers have stolen credit card numbers for small amounts. Some victims were hit with charges of $9.84. Consumers are urged to be vigilant.
"First off we need to recognize that we're in this as well," says credit expert John Ulzheimer at creditsesame.com. "We can't just assume that other companies are going to protect our information. We also have to be involved."
Ulzheimer says it's important to check your bills and bank statements frequently. "Most people wait until the end of the month when they get their credit card bill in the mail or online to actually check their statement. That's way too long."
Thieves can use credit card numbers to "run-up huge balances and leave us holding the bag."
Yahoo's CEO Marissa Mayer is facing questions as the internet firm falls further behind in the race for advertising dollars. Despite impressive growth in traffic, its latest quarterly report shows Yahoo is still having trouble bringing in more revenue as online advertisers spend more money at Google and other rivals.
Profits rose 28 percent compared with the year before, helped by the sale of some patents.
With falling sales and a stock slide of more than 5 percent since Tuesday, the company faces big challenges. "I'm encouraged by Yahoo's performance in Q4 and 2013 overall," said Mayer. "We saw continued stability in the business, and our investments allowed us to bring beautiful products to our users and establish a strong foundation for revenue growth."
U.S. stocks had their first gain in four days. Corporate earnings from Pfizer, DR Horton, and Comcast helped lift averages. The Dow Jones Index closed up 90 points yesterday and the S&P 500 rose 11.
Action by central banks in Turkey and China helped calm jangled nerves overseas. China pumped funds into its banking system. In Turkey interest rates rose to in a bid to stabilize its currency. The big focus for investors today is the Federal Reserve. Policy makers are expected to announce a further reduction in the size of the Fed's bond buying program.
The Senate could vote to approve bipartisan legislation to hold back flood insurance rate increases for hundreds of thousands of people. Higher premiums based on new flood maps are set to phase in next year. The measure that could receive a vote today would delay whopping premiums up to four years. New premiums for frequently flooded properties and on 1.7 million second homes would remain in place.
Richard Davies Business Correspondent ABC News Radio abcnews.com Twitter: daviesnow