Business The latest Business news and blog posts from ABC News contributors and bloggers. Tue, 30 Sep 2014 13:20:39 +0000 en hourly 1 EBay (EBAY) to Spin Off PayPal Into Separate Business Tue, 30 Sep 2014 13:20:39 +0000 Richard Davies Morning Money Memo…

PayPal is splitting from eBay and will become a separate and publicly traded company next year. The corporate breakup is expected to be completed in the second half of 2015. An EBay announcement today said its board decided that the separation was the best path for growth and shareholder value creation for each business.

EBay shares jumped more than 11 percent in pre-market trading.

Dan Schulman, the president of the enterprise growth group at American Express, will be the new president at PayPal, effective immediately.

Billionaire activist investor Carl Icahn has urged EBay to split off its payments business. Until now the company said it made sense to keep PayPal and EBay under the same corporate roof.

Concern Over Ford Profits

Will Ford’s profit warning be the first of many? The share price of the second largest U.S. auto company plunged more than 7 percent as the firm cut its full-year profits outlook.

At a conference for investors, CEO Mark Fields said he expects a pretax profit of around $6 billion this year, down from the $7 billion to $8 billion the firm previously forecast.

Ford’s Europe chief, Stephen Odell, said falling sales in Russia and the rapid decline of the ruble forced the company to lower its outlook.

Ford’s European operations are likely to declare a loss of well over $1 billion this year. The region’s economic troubles and slower growth in South America are a worry for many large multi-national corporations.

World of Snacks

Snacks are a growing segment of the global food industry, but there are big differences in different regions.

A study of more than 30,000 consumers in 60 countries by the research firm Nielsen found that about 9 in 10 people snack at least once a day and one in five is snacking three to four times daily.

Americans prefer salty chips, while chocolate is the top selling global choice.

“Snacking connects consumers globally,” James Russo, senior vice president at Nielsen, told USA Today.

The report said the impact of the snacking boom will have a huge impact on how food companies make and market their products.

Buy Stuff or Experiences?

The economy is growing at a faster rate, confidence has improved recently and American consumers may spend more money during the upcoming holiday shopping season.

Sean Kim of said now may be a good time for consumers to re-consider their budget priorities, spending more on experiences such as travel or entertainment with family and friends and spending less on stuff.

“The reason why this is so important is that we’re all looking to grow: personally, professionally, whatever it is,” said Kim. “Keeping things around you, whether it is furniture, clothes, whatever, it is a lot of what limits the ability to just go and do something.”

Gold Loses Luster

Gold is losing its shine as an attractive investment. The precious metal’s price fell four weeks in a row and tumbled again Monday. Gold futures are priced at $1,210 an ounce as the dollar continues to gain in value against other currencies.

Microsoft to Give Peek at New Windows?

Microsoft is hoping to win back some corporate customers with its newest version of the Windows operating system. The software giant is expected today to give users a sneak peek at an event in San Francisco. Desktop users are hoping the next-gen OS is friendlier than Windows 8, which many have avoided in favor of earlier, less-glitchy versions of the operating system.

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The Rich Get Even Richer on Forbes 400 List Mon, 29 Sep 2014 13:24:07 +0000 Richard Davies  

gty bill gates kb 140929 16x9 608 The Rich Get Even Richer on Forbes 400 List

                     (Photo Credit: Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images)

Morning Money Memo:

Bill Gates is the wealthiest person in America for the 21st straight year, says Forbes magazine. Gates is worth $81 billion, up $9 billion. According to the latest Forbes 400 rankings, the average net worth of each member is $5.7 billion, the highest to date, up from $5 billion last year. Warren Buffett is No. 2 on the list, at $67 billion, up $8.5 billion from last year. At No. 3, Larry Ellison is worth $50 billion, up $9 billion from last year. The combined wealth of the Forbes 400 is $2.29 trillion, compared with $2.02 trillion in 2013 and the highest ever, partly resulting from to the strength of the U.S. stock market. Net worth increased for 303 members, and decreased for 36 members. Cost of admission to the 2014 list is the highest ever at $1.55 billion, up from $1.3 billion a year ago. Twenty-seven newcomers made it into the ranks, including Jan Koum (No. 62) of WhatsApp at $7.6 billion, Russ Weiner (No. 249) of Rockstar Energy at $2.5 billion, Travis Kalanick (No. 190) of Uber Technologies at $3 billion and David Walentas (No. 368), a real estate developer who made his fortune by rebuilding the Dumbo area in Brooklyn, New York, at $1.7 billion. The biggest gainer is Mark Zuckerberg (No. 11), whose net worth grew $15 billion since last year. He is worth $34 billion. Twenty years ago, more than half of the Forbes 400 came via inherited wealth. This year, more than two-thirds are self-made.

Americans boosted spending in August, with about half the increase coming from auto sales. Income rose by a modest amount. The Commerce Department today says consumer spending rose 0.5 percent last month after showing no gain in July. It was the best result since spending also expanded 0.5 percent in June. Helped by strength in wages and salaries, income rose 0.3 percent in August. Consumer spending accounts for about 70 percent of economic activity, and the slowdown in July had raised concerns about whether the economy would retain the momentum it showed in the spring after a harsh winter.

A new survey finds banks are cashing in on fees even more than before. The survey released today by finds the average fee for using an out-of-network ATM climbed 5 percent over the past year to a new high of $4.35 per transaction. The average fee for using an out-of-network ATM has jumped 23 percent over the past five years. Overdraft fees also surged, rising on average over the past 12 months to $32.74. That’s the 16th consecutive record high.

Billions of dollars are flying out the door at Pimco investments after the firm’s co-founder Bill Gross resigned, saying he would join rival Janus Capital. Before being pushed out by management at the California-based firm he co-founded, the man who has been called the “bond king” made a sudden exit. Pimco “suffered roughly $10 billion of withdrawals” after the Gross announcement, reports The Wall Street Journal. “Pimco is bracing for more outflows on the heels of the veteran investor’s departure after months of internal strife over his leadership,” the paper said. Pimco executives are said to have called their top clients, reassuring them that they have a first-class team of investment experts at the company.

The chairman of Lenovo Group says the company has received U.S. government approval to complete its acquisition of IBM’s low-end server business and plans to use it to grow faster outside its personal computer business. He says the IBM assets will add a “growth engine” to a growing array of businesses that include computers, mobile devices and services. Also this year, Lenovo bought the Motorola Mobility smartphone business from Google.

Richard Davies Business Correspondent ABC News Radio Twitter: daviesnow

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Commercial Drones Take Off in US, Europe Thu, 25 Sep 2014 13:29:19 +0000 Richard Davies GTY drone kab 140925 16x9 608 Commercial Drones Take Off in US, Europe

(Martin Divisek/Getty Images)

Morning Money Memo…

Commercial drone flights may get a lift from the FAA. Federal regulators are expected to allow seven TV and movie production companies to use drones for filming on sets. Until now, the FAA has banned the use of commercial drones. But two years ago, Congress required regulators to work out plans to legalize their broader use. “The decision to allow several movie-making companies to use drones is the first time that businesses will be able to operate the aircraft in populated areas,” reported The Washington Post.

Starting Friday, a DHL drone will start delivering packages to a remote island off the northwestern coast of Germany. The delivery company said drone deliveries will be made to residents on the island of Juist. DHL said the flights will be the first time a pilotless plane has been allowed to make regular commercial flights in Europe.

BP Loses Round in Court

BP suffered another setback in federal court as it tried to limit the immense cost of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The energy firm could face losses of more than $40 billion. U.S. District Court Judge Carl Barbier threw out BP’s request for the repayment of hundreds of millions of dollars in “excess” compensation. The judge ruled BP must stand by the agreement it made with companies compensated for losses after the oil spill. BP said some claims got money even though they suffered no losses from the spill.

Authors vs. Amazon

A group of more than 1,000 authors is writing to the U.S. Department of Justice to call for an antitrust investigation into Amazon’s tactics in its dispute with Hachette. The e-commerce giant and the publishing firm have been arguing over fees. The Financial Times reported: “Authors United, which counts bestselling writers including Malcolm Gladwell, Donna Tartt and Stephen King among its supporters, is soliciting signatures for a letter to William J. Baer, assistant US attorney-general for antitrust, according to Douglas Preston, the Hachette writer who started the group.”

Apple Headaches

First hype, now gripes: Apple celebrated huge sales of its new iPhones, but now there are reports of glitches causing problems. Some users said a new software update for the iOS8 operating system blocked their calls. Apple pulled its update. Also, a widely circulated video suggested the larger iPhone 6 Plus is vulnerable to bending.

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In Wake of Home Depot Breach, Report Says 43% of Companies Are Victims Wed, 24 Sep 2014 21:48:53 +0000 ABC News The effects of the Home Depot data breach continued to ripple across the U.S. today as customers reported being hit with thousands of dollars in fraudulent charges, and a food chain announced that it too had suffered a security breach.

Home Depot Says 56M Credit Cards Affected in Security Breach

Home Depot Security Breach Grows

Home Depot Security Breach Drains Customers’ Accounts

Caitlyn Falzone Leonard, who’d shopped at the home-improvement retailer, said she checked her bank account after she heard about the security breach. Leonard said she found more than $1,000 in fraudulent charges from Spain and France.

“Right away, I knew I had been a victim of this because I had actually received an email from Home Depot offering this yearlong credit protection because it looked like I was potentially someone who had used their card there and could be compromised,” Leonard told ABC News.

Leonard said she couldn’t be certain that the charges had come from the Home Depot breach, but she said she was taking Home Depot up on its offer to provide free credit protection. The company also promised that customers would not be responsible for the fraudulent charges.

A new report released today by Ponemon Institute noted that a whopping 43 percent of companies had experienced some kind of data breach in the last year.

Jimmy John’s sandwich chain, headquartered in Champaign, Illinois, revealed today that it believed customers’ credit card data had been stolen from 216 of its shops, in 37 states, from June to September.

Experts said the phenomenon is alas a new fact of life.

“It’s all too easy for hackers to get into point-of-sale systems,” said Adam Levin, chairman of Identity Theft 911. “But we are at risk, these breaches have become a dead certainty in life.”

Experts warned consumers to watch out for micro-charges — purchases for less than $10 — on their debit and credit cards because it could be hackers flying below the radar and testing out cards.

Early reports from the investigation into Home Depot’s five-month breach, which exposed 56 million credit and debit cards, seemed to point to self-checkout lines. The malicious software is believed to be installed mainly on those scanners.

The breach eclipsed that of Target last year, which affected about 40 million credit and debit cards.


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WalMart (WMT) Wants to Be Your Low-Cost Bank Wed, 24 Sep 2014 13:10:20 +0000 Richard Davies GTY walmart kab 140924 16x9 608 WalMart (WMT) Wants to Be Your Low Cost Bank

Shoppers are seen outside a Walmart store in Rosemead, Calif. on Jan. 29, 2014. Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images


WalMart is giving its customers another reason to come into its stores: banking. The world’s biggest retailer is launching a mobile checking account for its customers that will eliminate some of the fees charged by banks.

“Walmart customers want easier ways to manage their everyday finances and increasingly feel they just aren’t getting value from traditional banking because of high fees,” says company executive Daniel Eckert. WalMart is teaming up with Green Dot, California-based financial company, to offer a GoBank account that has no minimum balance requirements or overdraft fees. A monthly membership charge of $8.95 can also be waived if a direct deposit of $500 is made each month. “GoBank is the first federally insured bank account the giant retailer has offered,” reports The Los Angeles Times. “Customers buying the service can pick up a starter kit at Wal-Mart stores, activate the account there with a one-time $2.95 fee and complete the application on their smartphones.” The company says credit bureau ratings and other scores traditionally used to determine eligibility for bank accounts are not part of the process.

Alibaba’s share price has tumbled nearly 7 percent since its highly successful first day of trading last week on The New York Stock Exchange. The Chinese e-commerce giant raised nearly $22 billion through its successful IPO. But volatile days could be ahead, say analysts.

The federal judge for Gulf of Mexico oil spill cases will hear arguments over whether BP should get back hundreds of millions of dollars from businesses that got settlement payments last year and in 2012. The oil company says that’s only fair because Judge Carl Barbier found that the formula used then was incorrect and ordered a change. Attorneys for plaintiffs say BP is trying to get out of its obligations. The company says hundreds of businesses that suffered no losses from the 2010 oil spill received damages.

Many consumers can save hundreds of dollars on their auto insurance rates by raising deductibles, says the consumer website “Remember that insurance is for the big problems and catastrophes,” says analyst Laura Adams. Today’s report finds Americans can save an average of almost 10 percent by boosting their auto deductible from $500 to $1,000. “If you’re making claims that are small maybe below the deductible or really near your deductible you’re kind of shooting yourself in the foot because it’s going to end up raising rates,” says Adams.

More competition next year may be lead to lower health insurance premiums for some Americans. The Obama administration says consumers in most states will have more insurance options next year under the president’s health care law. The Health and Human Services department reports a net increase of 63 insurers joining the market in 43 states plus Washington. HHS Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell says greater competition will help keep premiums in check. “Families no longer have to worry about losing their homes or having their hard earned savings wiped away by an accident or an unexpected diagnosis,” says Burwell.

No, it’s a not a neat new feature — the iPhone 6 isn’t supposed to bend out of shape. Just days after its release, pictures and videos have begun popping up online, showing the new devices with what appears to be a bent chassis. Some owners complaining that iPhone 6′s are even bending after simply sitting in their pockets. No comment yet from Apple.

Richard Davies Business Correspondent ABC News Radio Twitter: daviesnow

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Treasury Department’s Tax Crackdown Sparks Political Fight Tue, 23 Sep 2014 12:53:42 +0000 Richard Davies 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 Twitter: daviesnow


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Think Twice Before You Buy That Extended Warranty Mon, 22 Sep 2014 21:26:30 +0000 ABC News

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 Fri, 19 Sep 2014 13:30:52 +0000 ABC News

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 Thu, 18 Sep 2014 13:04:01 +0000 Richard Davies 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 Twitter: daviesnow

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3 ‘Real Money’ Tips to Read Before You Buy a Car Wed, 17 Sep 2014 21:30:12 +0000 ABC News

The Smiths of Atlanta have a full house, four young children going in four different directions and just one car to get them where they need to go.

Maria Smith, a stay-at-home mother, said the family’s car – a 2006 Honda Odyssey – had 160,000 miles on the odometer.

“We drive everywhere,” she told ABC News. “We travel a lot.”

She and husband Cedric Smith, an IT specialist, said they were in the market for a safe, used car but did not want to be taken for a spin.

“Buying a car was one of the most stressful experiences ever,” she said. “I mean, honestly, I’ve been putting it off for a long time because I just, I hate the idea of it.”

Tricia Whitlock of the popular tech blog Hypepotamus said consumers could put the brakes on car-buying stress by following her simple tips.

1. Find out what others are paying for the exact same car, new or used, with apps like True Car, and use the information to negotiate at the dealership.

2. Know when to buy. Good times are the end of the month or the end of the year. And avoid Saturdays.

“You’re much better going in the middle of the month, picking a car that’s right for you and then going back at the end of the month when those sales guys are going to be hitting their quotas,” Whitlock said.

3. Buy online. If you want to avoid the middleman when buying a used car, and save thousands of dollars, consider purchasing a car at an online dealership like Carvana. Carvana does a 150-point inspection on its used cars so there are no surprises for the consumers.

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