Business » Consumer Report http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/business The latest Business news and blog posts from ABC News contributors and bloggers. Tue, 23 Sep 2014 19:34:43 +0000 en hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.2.1 Treasury Department’s Tax Crackdown Sparks Political Fight http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/business/2014/09/treasury-departments-tax-crackdown-sparks-political-fight/ http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/business/2014/09/treasury-departments-tax-crackdown-sparks-political-fight/#comments Tue, 23 Sep 2014 12:53:42 +0000 Richard Davies http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/business/?p=120975 GTY treasury dept kab 140923 16x9 608 Treasury Departments Tax Crackdown Sparks Political Fight

                        (Photo Credit: Paul J. Richards/AFP/Getty Images) 

Morning Money Memo:

The Treasury Department has announced a sweeping crackdown on tax inversions, the practice in which U.S. companies use mergers and takeovers of foreign firms to move their headquarters overseas to avoid paying U.S. taxes. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew says the new steps close “a glaring loophole” in the tax code and will ensure it no longer makes financial sense for companies to use that tactic. But Republicans object to latest example of the administration sidestepping Congress. “Until the White House gets serious about tax reform, we are going to lose good companies and jobs to countries that have or are actively reforming their tax laws,” says Dave Camp, R-Mich., chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee. The Treasury Department says it’s putting forward regulations that will make inversions less lucrative by barring some techniques companies use to defer their taxes. It’s also making it harder for firms to pursue an inversion by tightening the requirement that the company’s former owners own less than 80 percent of the new company. The measures will take effect immediately and are the latest example of the administration acting on its own to sidestep a deadlocked Congress. Republicans fault the administration for not making a greater effort to work with Congress on corporate tax overhaul.

Apple says it sold more than 10 million of new iPhones in their first weekend of availability. The iPhone 6 and large-screen 6 Plus set a sales record, the company says. “We could have sold many more iPhones with greater supply and we are working hard to fill orders as quickly as possible,” Apple CEO Tim Cook says. The biggest shortages and longest shipping delays are for the 6 Plus.

Motorists are paying less for gas.  The pump prices have dropped 10 cents a gallon in the past two weeks, according to the U.S. Energy Department. The nationwide average for regular gas is $3.35 a gallon.

Starbucks is testing a latte that it says has the “savory toasty malt” flavor of a foamy mug of stout. The “Dark Barrel Latte” is being tested in a handful of stores in Ohio and Florida, said Linda Mills, a Starbucks spokeswoman. She said the drink is topped with whipped cream, dark caramel drizzle and incorporates a “chocolaty stout flavored sauce.” Despite the stout flavor, the latte does not contain alcohol. The company has said it would expand its test of serving alcohol and small bites in the evening to more stores.

The stock market suffered its biggest one-day loss in seven weeks. Futures fell this morning. The Russell 2000 small stock index had the biggest loss Monday, down 1.5 percent. The Russell has dropped 3 percent since the beginning of the year, while the large-stock S&P 500 gained nearly 8 percent.

Richard Davies Business Correspondent ABC News Radio abcnews.com Twitter: daviesnow

 

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Think Twice Before You Buy That Extended Warranty http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/business/2014/09/think-twice-before-you-buy-that-extended-warranty/ http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/business/2014/09/think-twice-before-you-buy-that-extended-warranty/#comments Mon, 22 Sep 2014 21:26:30 +0000 ABC News http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/business/?p=120962

What if you paid hundreds of dollars to buy an extended warranty on your kitchen appliances only to find out a critical piece wasn’t covered? That’s exactly what the Hoftiezer family said happened to them.

With their appliances a few years old, David Hoftiezer of Medford, New Jersey, found Stanley Warranty and said he thought he was getting the same kind of protection his original warranties had given him.

Hoftiezer said he paid $1,000 for a warranty for all of his kitchen appliances. Then he started having some “issues,” he said.

First, the refrigerator’s ice maker broke.

“Weeks go by and the warranty company finally said to me, ‘The reason we followed up service is because your ice maker is not covered,’” he said.

Unfortunately, though the warranty specified that the refrigerator and freezer were covered the contract said, about six pages in, that “ice maker controls” were not covered.

Hoftiezer told ABC News he wished he would have read that.

“I’m not going to say I don’t take some responsibility,” Hoftiezer said. “But when they sell you the product, they ask you what would you like to cover and you say, ‘I would like to cover my refrigerator.’ They don’t say, ‘If your ice maker breaks, that isn’t covered.’”

Stanley Mankovsky, the CEO of Stanley Safe Club and Stanley Warranty, said the ice maker was excluded from Hoftiezer’s policy because “it’s a high volume item that gets broken by people abusing it.”

“If people want the ice maker covered, we have separate coverage for that in addition to the refrigerator,” Mankovsky said.

“The reason you buy an insurance policy is to make sure that when something does happen, you are covered,” he said. “The key is to read [and] make sure you go through every line.”

Mankovsky also added that since Hoftiezer had bought his warranty, the language had been revised and improved so that it was easier for consumers to understand.

In an email, Timothy Meenan, executive director of the Service Contract Industry Council, said: “Extended warranties can provide responsible consumers with substantial financial savings and offer a means of control when the unpredictable happens.”

“Contrary to some recent reports claiming that extended warranties on appliances and cars are not cost effective, the benefits of service contracts can far outweigh the cost of purchasing the coverage, and emergencies arise more often than you might think. Service contracts covered more than 95 percent of claims in 2012 – sometimes resulting from drops or breakdowns but sometimes caused by routine wear and tear. Consider that a typical appliance repair can cost $250 but the extended warranty costs only half that, and may pay for more than one repair during the term of the contract. The manufacturer’s warranty may help in some situations, usually only for the first year or less, so an extended warranty is well worth a second look. Extended warranties are designed to provide peace of mind by protecting consumers’ investments in their homes, vehicles, electronics and appliances. It is up to individual consumers to decide whether or not they personally value extended warranties. Many consumers who do not have the savings or disposable income to pay for an unexpected and costly repair derive great value and peace of mind by budgeting for this predictable expense.”

Anthony Giorgianni, a finance editor at Consumer Reports, said readers should think twice before buying an extended warranty.

“Not saying they will never work out but on a whole, you’re much better taking the money that you would put into a service contract [and] put it in the bank,” he said.

Some items that might that might be worth getting an extended warranty for, Giorgianni said, are electronics that children usually use and are more likely to be dropped or damaged. He still encourages consumers to read the fine print on those agreements, too.

Other tips from Giorgianni include:

1. Call the original manufacturer if something breaks. Sometimes the companies will want to make you happy.

2. Check with your credit card company, which sometimes can offer extended warranties.

ABC extended warranty sk 140922 16x9 608 Think Twice Before You Buy That Extended Warranty

ABC News

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Historic Alibaba IPO Not for Everyone http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/business/2014/09/historic-alibaba-ipo-not-for-everyone/ http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/business/2014/09/historic-alibaba-ipo-not-for-everyone/#comments Fri, 19 Sep 2014 13:30:52 +0000 ABC News http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/business/?p=120954

ABC News’ John Kapetaneas reports:

Morning Money Memo

All eyes will be on Alibaba’s big opening day on the market this morning. The Chinese e-commerce giant is expected to raise $21.88 billion during its IPO, making it the largest public offering in history, valuing the company at $168 billion. Shares will begin trading this morning at $68 dollars a share, an increase from the expected high range of $66 per share. While tech markets and early-stage investors are clamoring over what will now be one of the 40 largest companies in the world, the company’s unorthodox corporate structure and high valuation remain a sticking point for some investors. “Presently, it will not be on our buy list, even after the IPO,” said value investor Dan Neiman, portfolio manager for the Neiman Large Cap Value Fund.  ”I think a prudent investor would wait and see what happens over the short term, and then possibly dip their toe into that investment.”

Let the 2014 smartphone frenzy begin.  Anxious consumers staked out Apple stores nationwide overnight in hopes of getting their hands on the new iPhone 6 and large-screen iPhone 6 Plus.  Not one to be outdone, Samsung announced the release of its next generation phablet, the Galaxy Note 4, which begins preorder today for October release. The two companies have long battled over market share and intellectual property.  Apple stock is up slightly in pre-market trading.

In an overwhelming turnout, Scotland voters chose overnight to remain part of the United Kingdom, in a close but decisive 55 percent to 45 percent margin. European markets are mixed this morning, while the British pound moved higher against the euro on the news. Markets in Japan and Hong Kong are seeing triple-digit gains despite the Asian Dow showing the region slightly lower. U.S. futures are up this morning. Gold is down $3.50 to $1,223 per ounce. Crude oil is down 0.5 percent to $92.61 per barrel.

Oracle founder Larry Ellison announced Thursday that he will step down as CEO. The tech guru, 70, and prominent public figure will turn over the reins to his to his two co-presidents, Safra Catz and former Hewlett-Packard executive Mark Hurd. Ellison founded the software company in 1977; it is valued at $185 billion. Ellison follows other influential founders to turn over the chief executive office, including Bill Gates in 2000 and Steve Jobs in 2011. Oracle shares are down slightly in after-hours trading.

This weekend’s box office is expecting to see its highest revenue in nearly three months, after a mostly lackluster summer season. Fox’s “The Maze Runner” is expected to bring in over $40 million in its opening weekend. Liam Neeson’s “A Walk Among the Tombstones” and comedy  “This Is Where I Leave You” are also expected to gross more than $15 million apiece. ​

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Apple (AAPL) IOS 8 to Keep Data Private, Even From Police http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/business/2014/09/apple-aapl-ios-8-to-keep-data-private-even-from-police/ http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/business/2014/09/apple-aapl-ios-8-to-keep-data-private-even-from-police/#comments Thu, 18 Sep 2014 13:04:01 +0000 Richard Davies http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/business/?p=120948 Morning Money Memo…

Apple is taking a tough new line on the security of its mobile devices, saying its new iOS 8 operating system will keep data private, even from police. The engineering of the new system, says Apple, makes it impossible for the company to turn over data from most iPhones or iPads to police – even under a search warrant. Apple’s announcement is an attempt to answer claims by some privacy advocates that tech companies have participated in the government attempts to sweep up personal data. “Rather than comply with binding court orders, Apple has reworked its latest encryption in a way that prevents the company – or anyone but the device’s owner – from gaining access to the vast troves of user data typically stored on smartphones or tablet computers,” reports The Washington Post.

Apple’s new HealthKit app that will keep track of fitness data is being delayed because of a bug in iOS 8 software. Apple says it hopes to have HealthKit apps restored to its app store by the end of the month. Affected apps include Carrot Fit, WebMD and AskMD. Apple didn’t provide details on what went wrong. Apple’s new iPhones have sensors to monitor fitness activities, and its upcoming Apple Watch will have a heart-rate monitor.

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos is planning to build a rocket engine that would eventually replace the Russian mainstay used in many American unmanned launches. United Launch Alliance, a collaboration of two aerospace giants, says it’ll pay Bezos’ Blue Origin space firm to develop new rocket engines. In about four years, the launch alliance hopes to start using the new engines in Delta and Atlas rockets.

Alibaba’s stock offering is a wakeup call about an emerging wave of technology giants in China’s state-dominated economy. Until now, Chinese companies that made a splash in global stock markets were state-owned banks and oil companies. Private sector tech companies such as Lenovo and Baidu are highly successful and they weren’t created by government decree. Last year Lenovo overtook Hewlett-Packard to become the No. 1 global PC maker. Baidu ranked No. 31 on Forbes magazine’s latest list of the most innovative companies. Huawei Technology unseated Sweden’s Ericsson in 2012 as the biggest maker of network gear. Alibaba has become a huge player in e-commerce. Its shares are set to begin trading tomorrow in New York after an initial public offering that is set to be the biggest ever, possibly raising $25 billion.

Women and minorities are largely shut out of the ranks of TV series directors, according to a new study. The Directors Guild of America says employers have made no significant improvement in diversity among TV directors in the last four years. White males directed the vast majority of the more than 3,500 cable, broadcast and high-budget online episodes made for the 2013-14 season, according to the study. In a statement, Directors Guild President Paris Barclay said it can be “shockingly difficult” to persuade those who control industry hiring to make even small improvements. The Associated Press says major broadcast networks did not respond to requests for comment.

Lincoln Logs is coming home to the USA. The toy has been made in China but in the future about 80 percent of the production – including the wood parts – will be made by Pride Manufacturing at its plant in Burnham, Maine. The plant employs about 130 people. The company anticipates adding up to 10 jobs with the Lincoln Logs contract.

Richard Davies Business Correspondent ABC News Radio abcnews.com Twitter: daviesnow

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Alibaba IPO Poised to Make History http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/business/2014/09/alibaba-ipo-poised-to-make-history/ http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/business/2014/09/alibaba-ipo-poised-to-make-history/#comments Tue, 16 Sep 2014 13:30:11 +0000 Richard Davies http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/business/?p=120917  

ap alibaba kb 140916 16x9 608 Alibaba IPO Poised to Make History

            (Photo Credit: AP Photo) 

Morning Money Memo:

Alibaba’s first public stock sale hasn’t happened yet, but already it’s a big deal for global financial markets. The hugely successful Chinese e-commerce company now plans to raise as much as $25 billion in its stock offering later this week, making it the biggest IPO in history. Alibaba has been meeting with potential investors in the past week, and demand led to an increase in the planned stock price.

Alibaba says it plans to sell about 368 million shares at $66 to $68 apiece, according to a regulatory filing. It had previously set the range for $60 to $66 apiece. Already, say analysts, there has been spillover effect. Because investors need to free up money to participate in the IPO, they may be selling shares of U.S. e-commerce companies. Amazon’s share price has dropped 5 percent in past week. “EBay’s share price also is under pressure of late,” the website qz.com says.

One congressman is fighting to protect Yelpers when it does negative reviews. Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., is proposing legislation that would protect amateur reviewers nationwide from legal or financial retaliation.

Swalwell’s bill was inspired by what happened to a couple in Utah after they posted a bad review, according to The National Journal. They were said to have been fined $3,500 for “unwittingly violating a retailer’s terms-of-sale contract.” The bill is similar to a new Yelp law in California that fines restaurants and other businesses that write “disparagement clauses” into their terms of service contracts, allowing them to charge reviewers with fees. “It’s un-American for any consumer to be penalized for writing an honest review,” Swalwell says.

Until now the Federal Reserve has reassured stock market investors, saying it will keep official short-term interest rates near zero for a “considerable time.” But those two words might be dropped from the next Fed statement Wednesday. Policymakers begin a two-day meeting this morning. Markets are on edge. The Fed begins a two-day meeting today. Stock futures are down this morning. The averages closed mixed Monday.

Russia’s currency has dropped to an all-time low against the U.S. dollar as it continues to suffer from the fallout of economic sanctions. The United States and the European Union last week imposed a new round of sanctions against Russia for its actions in Ukraine despite the ceasefire between the Ukrainian government and pro-Russian rebels. The ruble has lost over 2.7 percent in just two days.

Believe it or not, there’s a magazine for dog haters! OK, it’s in German, but Kot and Koter (“Poops and Pooches” in English) sold out after its first print run. What began as a joke by several journalists now has a following. “The lead story is a satirical look at how to “Pimp Up Your Pooch,” The Wall Street Journal reports. “Another article is about kitschy dog cemeteries.” Germany has 80 million people and about 5 million dogs. The magazine’s editor tells the Journal that there are two kinds of people in Germany: “One type loves dogs. Another type doesn’t. These are my readers.”

Richard Davies Business Correspondent ABC News Radio abcnews.com Twitter: daviesnow

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KFC-Owner Yum Brands (YUM) Tries Saigon Street Food http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/business/2014/09/kfc-owner-yum-brands-yum-tries-saigon-street-food/ http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/business/2014/09/kfc-owner-yum-brands-yum-tries-saigon-street-food/#comments Mon, 15 Sep 2014 13:15:12 +0000 Richard Davies http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/business/?p=120908  

 

AP kfc kab 140915 16x9 608 KFC Owner Yum Brands (YUM) Tries Saigon Street Food

  (Photo Credit: Zhou Junxiang/AP Photo) 

Morning Money Memo:

Is America ready for Saigon street food? Yum Brands – the owners of Taco Bell, Pizza Hut and KFC – is betting that many people will like the taste of banh mi sandwiches, Asian salads and wok-fried food. Yum opened its first “fast casual” Banh Shop in Dallas. “With Southeast Asian cuisine growing in popularity in the U.S., we saw an opportunity to design a unique fast-casual concept that emulates delicious Saigon street food, with a focus on the Vietnamese banh mi sandwich,” Yum Brands executive Christophe Poirier told Nation’s Restaurant News. Vietnam is famous for its Chinese and French-influenced cuisine, and for years many business travelers and tourists have been raving about the quality of its fresh and spicy street food.

E-cigarettes are coming to the movies. For nearly two decades, product placement has been off limits to tobacco companies. But that doesn’t apply to e-cigs. “I don’t see a problem with glamorizing something that saves lives,” SmokeStik’s CEO Bill Marangos tells The Wall Street Journal. His company paid for product placement in a new film adaptation of Shakespeare’s Cymbeline. Actress Milla Jovovich puffs at a SmokeStik and in one scene signs for the brand hang in a convenience store.

Income equality is squeezing state budgets. The widening gap between the wealthiest Americans and everyone else has been matched by a slowdown in state tax revenue, according to a report today by Standard & Poor’s. Even as income for the affluent has accelerated, wage increases have barely kept pace with inflation for most other people. That trend can mean a double-whammy for states: The wealthy often manage to shield much of their income from taxes. And they tend to spend less of it than others do, thereby limiting sales tax revenue. As the growth of tax revenue has slowed, states have faced tensions over whether to raise taxes or cut spending to balance their budgets as required by law. Credit analyst Gabriel Petek says rising income inequality is more than a social issue because it “presents a very significant set of challenges for the policymakers.”

Vermont’s largest city has a new success to add to its list of socially conscious achievements: 100% of its electricity comes from renewable sources. With little fanfare, the Burlington Electric Department crossed the threshold this month with the purchase of a nearby hydroelectric project. The Washington Electric Cooperative, which serves parts of northern and central Vermont, reached the goal earlier this year. Some question the accounting methods used to make the claim because the utilities sell the rights to the renewable energy to other utilities. But the utilities then buy less expensive credits to offset the sale.

A lot is riding on the Fed this week. Policymakers at the Federal Reserve are to meet Tuesday and Wednesday. Markets will be watching for any change in guidance about the future direction for U.S. interest rates. A strengthening U.S. economy could lead to a rate hike sooner than was expected. Bond prices have been falling in recent days, as yields rise. Stock averages fell last week for the first week in six. There are also growing concerns about some large economies overseas. China’s factory output in August rose nearly 7 percent. But that’s a slower rate of growth than normal, and there has been a slump in China’s real estate development. Today, European finance ministers are talking about proposals to boost private investments as a way of improving the economy.

Richard Davies Business Correspondent ABC News Radio abcnews.com Twitter: daviesnow

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Why Falling Gas Prices Have Further to Go http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/business/2014/09/why-falling-gas-prices-have-further-to-go/ http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/business/2014/09/why-falling-gas-prices-have-further-to-go/#comments Thu, 11 Sep 2014 13:05:37 +0000 Richard Davies http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/business/?p=120903 Morning Money Memo…

There’s good news about the cost of energy: It’s getting cheaper. The cost of oil has been falling for weeks on global markets. West Texas crude is now just under $91 a barrel. The International Energy Agency has again cut its oil demand forecast for this year. “The recent slowdown in demand growth is nothing short of remarkable,” the IEA says in its report today. “While demand growth is still expected to gain momentum, the expected pace of recovery is now looking somewhat more subdued.” Compared with August of last year global supply rose more than 800,000 barrels a day. Rising US oil production is one important factor keeping a lid on the cost of oil. US gasoline prices are expected to continue the downward trend this fall, analysts say.

Starbucks may lift its ban on visible tattoos for its employees. Until now the coffee chain has told baristas to keep them under wraps. But thousands of Starbucks employees signed a petition that opposes the ban. The company is rethinking its dress code, including the tattoo policy, according to an internal memo from Chief Operating Officer Troy Alstead. “The company expects to announce a dress code update within the next few weeks,” a company spokesman told USA Today. Some employees complained that even in hot weather they must wear long-sleeved shirts to hide their tattoos.

More than six years after the start of the recession unemployment is still well above normal levels. But many companies have openings for skilled workers, and find it difficult to find qualified workers. Adults who want to improve their job skills don’t have to go to an expensive college. Udemy.com is a marketplace of online learning, serving nearly 3 million students in 190 countries since it was launched four years ago. “Most of our courses are around skill development,” says Dennis Yang, CEO of Udemy. “We have over 16,000 courses and we’re adding about a thousand courses per month.” Some are free while others include a fee. The courses are rated and reviewed by students. “The workplace itself is changing so rapidly today,” says Yang. “It’s really changing faster today than it ever has before.” Nearly 25 percent of Udemy’s students are stay-at-home parents. Many take courses on computer systems, web design, marketing, or negotiating skills to prepare them to meet the requirements of today’s jobs.

U.S. regulators have approved a new weight-loss drug called Contrave, made by Orexigen Therapeutics, based in La Jolla, California. The Food and Drug Administration says the drug is approved for use by people who have a body mass index of 30 or higher, which is the level at which people are considered to be obese. It is also approved for use by people with a BMI of 27 or higher who also have a weight-related medical condition such as diabetes. In addition to Contrave, the FDA has approved Qsymia and Belviq. Sales of the drugs have been below expectations because of limited insurance coverage and high costs for patients.

RadioShack says it may need more capital to help complete its turnaround efforts. CEO Joseph Magnacca says the consumer electronics retailer is actively exploring options for overhauling its balance sheet and is in advanced talks with “a number of parties.” RadioShack has been losing money and closing stores. Magnacca says more cost savings are being considered.

Stock averages snapped a two-day losing streak, with a jump in Apple shares that helped lift the mood of the market. Apple had its biggest gain since April of more than 3 percent after announcing updated versions of the iPhone, a new smartwatch and a mobile payment system.

Richard Davies Business Correspondent ABC News Radio abcnews.com Twitter: daviesnow

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Dollar General (DG) Goes Hostile in Buyout Bid http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/business/2014/09/dollar-general-dg-goes-hostile-in-buyout-bid/ http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/business/2014/09/dollar-general-dg-goes-hostile-in-buyout-bid/#comments Wed, 10 Sep 2014 12:39:05 +0000 Richard Davies http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/business/?p=120897 Morning Money Memo:

The polite fight over Family Dollar may be about to get down and dirty. Dollar General is going hostile with its $9.1 billion bid after repeated rejections of previous offers by its rival. In July, Family Dollar accepted a smaller buyout offer from Dollar Tree and is resisting the rival bid because of antitrust concerns. The hostile move by Dollar General may lead to a months-long takeover battle to remake the dollar store business landscape. The three largest retailers are all under pressure, facing more competition from Walmart and other chains.

Things are pretty tough in burgerville. McDonald’s, the once invincible fast-food giant, reported another quarter of sagging sales as many Americans lose their taste for high-fat fried food. Sales of soda, cereal and many packaged foods are also down. But there’s one big exception to the trend toward healthy and fresh products. “Sales of Pop-Tarts have gone up each year for the past 32,” reports The Wall Street Journal. “The super sweet, slightly cardboard-tasting rectangles defy most eating trends big food companies are chasing.”

Apple has become a fashion company with its launch of the Apple Watch. Tuesday’s widely anticipated smartwatch announcement is Apple’s first move into a completely new product line since the iPad was launched in 2010. The reception from industry analysts and others has been mostly positive. “Both the new watch and the payment system, Apple Pay, appear to be of a level of polish that suggests the company still possesses the capacity to invent new products and services that can define an entire industry,” Farhad Manjoo of The New York Times says. Bloomberg’s Leonid Bershidsky writes: “Jony Ive, the designer behind Apple’s triumphs of the Steve Jobs era, has outdone himself. Various smartwatches have tried to be pretty, expensive looking and Swiss-watch-like. Ive has delivered what is instantly recognizable as the new category standard.”

Nevada wants Tesla. Gov. Brian Sandoval is set to call state lawmakers into a special session today to consider an extraordinary package of tax breaks and incentives worth up to $1.3 billion to seal a factory construction deal. Sandoval says the plant and its 6,500 workers would generate more than 20,000 construction and other related jobs and up to $100 billion for Nevada’s economy in the next 20 years.

Richard Davies Business Correspondent ABC News Radio abcnews.com Twitter: daviesnow

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Home Depot (HD) Hack Could Be Biggest Card Breach Ever http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/business/2014/09/home-depot-hd-hack-could-be-biggest-card-breach-ever/ http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/business/2014/09/home-depot-hd-hack-could-be-biggest-card-breach-ever/#comments Tue, 09 Sep 2014 13:03:12 +0000 Richard Davies http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/business/?p=120889  

AP home depot ml 140909 16x9 608 Home Depot (HD) Hack Could Be Biggest Card Breach Ever

    (Photo Credit: Mark Humphrey/AP Photo)

Morning Money Memo:

The huge hacking attack against Home Depot’s payment systems could turn out to be the biggest breach of any retailer’s data so far. The company confirmed the data break-in but did not say how many credit and data cards are affected. The total could be as much as 60 million, according to several experts. That would be far more than the total number of cardholders impacted by the breach at Target stores.

There is no evidence that any debit card pin numbers were compromised, but according to security reporter Brian Krebs, who first wrote about the breach last week, “multiple financial institutions … are reporting a steep increase over the past few days in fraudulent ATM withdrawals on customer accounts.” The data breach went undetected for six months until banks and law enforcement agencies alerted Home Depot.

The retail breaches have rattled shoppers’ confidence at a time when privacy concerns are high. It has also increased pressure on retailers to increase security so that customers can feel safe that their personal data is secure when they’re out shopping. Banks may also review their security precautions. Home Depot said that it “strongly” encourages its customers to “review your payment card statements carefully and call your bank or card issuer if you see any suspicious transactions.”

Card information for sale on criminal sites that was stolen from Home Depot shoppers “allows thieves to create counterfeit copies of debit and credit cards that can be used to purchase merchandise in big box stores,” Krebs said.

Home Depot, which said malware was used in the hack, has announced it plans to have chip-enabled checkout terminals at all of its U.S. stores by the end of this year. The attack could damage Home Depot sales. “I would think if you’re a member of the board of directors, somebody has to be the sacrificial lamb for this,” Forrester Research analyst John Kindervag says.

Today’s new product announcement by Apple could be the company’s biggest test in years. Innovative design could make the difference as Apple attempts to rouse the still-slumbering market for wearable computers. The iWatch or bracelet is expected to come equipped to monitor health, help manage homes and even buy merchandise. Apple is a late arrival to wearables, though other companies’ efforts haven’t gained traction.

If you want to get a new iPhone 6, consider trading in the smartphone you are now using. “Check what the prices you can get for your old phone,” Nick Ramen, co-founder of the website usell.com, said. “With just a couple of clicks you can figure out how much your old phone is worth and then you can trade it in and put that value towards your new phone.” For example, usell, galaxy.com and other sites are paying as much as $290 for a Verizon iPhone 5S. With the Apple announcement, old iPhone prices are at their peak but will soon drop as people sell their phones. “You should do it as soon as possible,” Ramen says.

Richard Davies Business Correspondent ABC News Radio abcnews.com Twitter: daviesnow

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Here’s What to Expect From Apple (AAPL) Announcement http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/business/2014/09/heres-what-to-expect-from-apple-aapl-announcement/ http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/business/2014/09/heres-what-to-expect-from-apple-aapl-announcement/#comments Mon, 08 Sep 2014 12:41:52 +0000 Richard Davies http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/business/?p=120878  

GTY tim cook apple kab 140908 16x9 608 Heres What to Expect From Apple (AAPL) Announcement

                       (Photo Credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Morning Money Memo:

Apple’s big event Tuesday comes at a crucial time for the world’s most successful and highly valued computer company. A new iPhone 6 is expected to be announced along with a larger phone to compete with the popular big-screen Samsung Galaxy. Both devices are likely to be offered with durable sapphire glass screens.

The product with the most far-reaching impact could be a new iWatch that comes embedded with a range of health and fitness monitors. The Mayo Clinic and Kaiser Permanente are among the health care institutions that plan to offer apps for the new device. Data collected by the watch would be fed back to the user’s smartphone or stored on the cloud. The information could be accessed by doctors or hospitals, if needed.

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Expectations for the announcement are high. Apple has sold nearly 500 million iPhones so far and its stock price has doubled in the past year. “I am looking forward to seeing the iHealth features, the NFC hardware and software to facilitate mobile payments and much more,” tech industry analyst Jeff Kagan says. “I would like to see some new features and improvements to the basic iPhone design. Improvements like waterproof and shock-proof.”

Apple still faces questions about the security of the iCloud, especially after the furor over the hacking of celebrity photos. CEO Tim Cook may have more to say about security upgrades as consumer concerns grow about privacy, the safety of personal financial information and the potential for identity theft.

Technology breakthroughs are playing a much bigger role in new cars. General Motors says in two years it will offer autos that talk to each other and can almost drive themselves at freeway speeds. CEO Mary Barra’s announcement of “intelligent and connected” technology made a splash at an auto conference in Detroit. She says the system would allow you to drive long distances with the car doing much of the work.

The 2017 Cadillac will come with Super Cruise technology that controls steering, braking and acceleration at highway speeds and also works in congested traffic. The system will keep a car in its lane and will slow it down if the car ahead reduces speed and you aren’t paying attention. “Barra also said GM in two years will become the first automaker to equip a model with so-called vehicle-to-vehicle technology that enables the car to communicate with other autos with similar abilities to warn of traffic hazards and improve road safety,” Bloomberg News reports.

Electrolux is buying General Electric’s appliances business for $3.3 billion, boosting its presence in North America. The Swedish company says the buyout needs regulatory approval and is expected to be completed next year. The purchase “takes our company to a new level in terms of global reach and market coverage,” Electrolux CEO Keith McLoughlin says.

Netflix may be beefing up its short game. The streaming video service is testing out a new section of its mobile app called “Have Five Minutes?” It will feature two- to five-minute long clips of content aimed at the on-the-go audience that doesn’t have time to watch a whole movie on their phone. Experts say initial tests have shown positive results and they could roll out the app to all users in the coming month.

Richard Davies Business Correspondent ABC News Radio abcnews.com Twitter: daviesnow

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