Business http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/business The latest Business news and blog posts from ABC News contributors and bloggers. Fri, 22 Aug 2014 13:39:25 +0000 en hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.2.1 GM Legal Department Draws Federal Scrutiny on Recalls http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/business/2014/08/gm-legal-department-draws-federal-scrutiny-on-recalls/ http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/business/2014/08/gm-legal-department-draws-federal-scrutiny-on-recalls/#comments Fri, 22 Aug 2014 13:39:25 +0000 ABC News http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/business/?p=120731 ABC News’ John Kapetaneas reports:

Morning Money Memo:

Federal prosecutors are probing the legal department of General Motors on a potential concealment of evidence from regulators that may have hindered the recall of potentially flawed vehicles, the Wall Street Journal reports this morning. The company is said to be cooperating with the investigation, which is still in its very early stages, involving the faulty ignition switches on 15 million vehicles across 20 different models. At least 13 deaths have been linked to the faulty ignition switches that prompted a wave of recalls.

U.S. markets saw a positive push Thursday after news of a decrease in the number of  individuals seeking unemployment benefits. The Dow rose 60 points to finish the day above 17,000. Meanwhile, markets across Europe are in the red this morning, while Asian markets were largely positive for the day. Dow futures are down 22 points entering this final trading day of the week. Gold is up $4.30 per ounce, while crude oil is unchanged.

Moviegoers will need to stock up on Kleenex or Red Bull, as this weekend’s box office pits the young adult adaptation “If I Stay,” starring Chloe Grace Moretz, against the Robert Rodriguez sequel to 2005′s “Sin City.” Despite boasting a star-studded cast, featuring the likes of Jessica Alba, Mickey Rourke, Bruce Willis and Joseph Gordon-Levitt (among many more), “Sin City: A Dame to Kill For” is not expected to overpower the lower budget tearjerker, which analysts’ pick to win the weekend box office with roughly $20 million in expected ticket sales, following the success of previous YA adaptations such as  ”The Fault in Our Stars,” which grossed $271 million worldwide.

Over 20 million college students will begin classes nationwide this fall, with more than a few of those students taking out federal and private loans to finance their education. Total U.S. student debt stands upwards of $1 trillion in 2014, outpacing even national consumer credit card debt, having risen 14 percent in the last year. Meanwhile, universities are not helping students in lowering their educational borrowing costs, as average tuition has risen 27 percent at public universities and 14 percent at private universities in the past five years, according to The College Board Annual Survey of Colleges.

Debt.org estimates that $3,000 of student loan debt accrues every second, while the average borrower in 2013 owes $32,500. While the old maxim may still hold true, school comes first, many students are finding they must work throughout the school year in order to bear the costs of their education. A 2013 survey conducted by Citigroup and Seventeen Magazine found that nearly 80 percent of college students worked while attending school, with the average student working roughly 19 hours per week. With the pressures of schoolwork and consistent employment to contend with, often before their 21st birthday, a mounting debt burden adds another piece to a seemingly unsolvable puzzle for a generation looking for a learning experience.

 


 

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Bank of America (BAC) Makes Whopping Mortgage Settlement http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/business/2014/08/bank-of-america-bac-makes-whopping-mortgage-settlement/ http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/business/2014/08/bank-of-america-bac-makes-whopping-mortgage-settlement/#comments Thu, 21 Aug 2014 13:01:56 +0000 Richard Davies http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/business/?p=120720

Morning Money Memo:

Today’s Bank of America settlement with the federal government is a record. The nearly $17 billion deal resolves an investigation into allegations the bank misled purchasers of mortgage-backed securities before the 2008 financial crisis. The settlement is the largest ever reached between the government and a U.S. company.

Until now the biggest bank deal involved JPMorgan Chase, which agreed to pay $13 billion for its role in selling flawed mortgage investments. Bank of America is expected to pay $9.65 billion in cash and provide consumer relief valued at $7 billion.

The deal was worked out over the past few months and involved negotiations between Attorney General Eric Holder and bank CEO Brian Moynihan. The government’s settlement with the banks has many critics. Consumer groups say the Obama administration has been slow to go after the banks for wrongdoing and say no senior executive has been charged with wrong doing.

But some financial industry experts say the huge penalties will make banks more reluctant to lend money.

Federal prosecutors in Los Angeles are preparing a civil lawsuit against Angelo Mozilo, co-founder of Countryside Financial, which was purchased by Bank of America in 2008.

Customers of The UPS Store may have had their credit and debit card information exposed by a computer virus.

UPS says this involves the names, card numbers and postal and email addresses from about 100,000 transactions between Jan. 20 and Aug. 11. Spokeswoman Chelsea Lee says the company isn’t aware of any fraud related to the attack.

The stock market rose for a third straight day on light volume. Futures are up slightly this morning. The S&P 500 rose 5 points and is less than 2 points away from its late-July record close of 1,987.

Another troubled retailer is reporting a big loss. Sears shares fell more than 5 percent after the company announced it lost $573 million during its latest quarter, compared with a loss of $194 million a year earlier.

The company, which also runs Kmart stores, is still working to turn itself around, with efforts that include lowering costs, investing in its loyalty program and improving prices and promotions. Sales declined 10 percent to $8 billion from $8.87 billion.

Richard Davies Business Correspondent ABC News Radio abcnews.com Twitter: daviesnow 212-456-5100

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Uber Hires ex-Obama Aide David Plouffe http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/business/2014/08/uber-hires-ex-obama-aide-david-plouffe/ http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/business/2014/08/uber-hires-ex-obama-aide-david-plouffe/#comments Wed, 20 Aug 2014 12:54:31 +0000 Richard Davies http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/business/?p=120713 Morning Money Memo:

When you have a controversial product to sell, it may be time to call in a heavy-hitting public relations and crisis consultant to pilot your way through a mass of objections. David Plouffe, President’s Obama’s former campaign manager and White House aide, is joining Uber, the car-sharing start-up. Uber uses a mobile application to connect riders with cars for hire. The San Francisco-based company has faced resistance in some cities from the taxi industry and regulators who have accused it of lowering prices to knock out competition. But Uber is popular with consumers and has more than $1 billion of cash, thanks to venture capital funding. Announcing Plouffe’s hiring, Uber CEO Travis Kalanick says the company “has been in a campaign but hasn’t been running one. That is changing now.”

The picture isn’t so pretty at Hertz. The world’s biggest car rental company says it’s withdrawing its 2014 financial forecast and expects profits to be “well below” previous guidance. Hertz is blaming GM’s recent recalls for part of the problem, leaving the firm with fewer cars to rent, because the vehicles had to be pulled off the lot. In a regulatory filing, Hertz also cited higher-than-expected costs and weak demand for equipment rentals. Shares of Hertz Global Holdings plunged 18 percent on the news.

Lowe’s second-quarter profits rose 10 percent compared with last year. The second-largest home improvement company says sales rose 6 percent, but Lowe’s lowered its full-year outlook slightly.

The nation’s late-payment rate on home loans is down nearly 20 percent from a year ago. Credit reporting agency TransUnion says fewer homeowners are falling behind on their mortgage payments, and that has brought down the late-payment rate on home loans to the lowest level in six years.

Apple shares closed at a record high, moving above $100 for the first time since the 7-for-1 stock split announced earlier this year. Investors are betting that Apple’s next generation iPhone will be a hit, and that the company has more innovations to announce before the start of the holiday shopping season.

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

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Taser (TASR) Shares Jump With Ferguson Unrest http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/business/2014/08/taser-tasr-shares-jump-with-ferguson-unrest/ http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/business/2014/08/taser-tasr-shares-jump-with-ferguson-unrest/#comments Tue, 19 Aug 2014 12:45:26 +0000 Richard Davies http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/business/?p=120703  

ht taser kab 140819 16x9 608 Taser (TASR) Shares Jump With Ferguson Unrest

                         (Photo Credit: taser.com)

Morning Money Memo:

The unrest in Ferguson, Missouri, is having a dramatic effect on shares of Taser International Inc. (TASR). The Scottsdale, Arizona-based company, best known for its electroshock “stun” guns, has seen its share price jump 19 percent in the past five trading days. Investors are betting that allegations of heavy-handed police tactics, including the shooting of an unarmed teenager, will lead to a big increase in sales of Taser’s “body cameras” that can be worn by officers while on patrol.

The latest sign of U.S. economic revival comes in the second-quarter earnings report by America’s biggest home improvement chain. Profits at Home Depot jumped 14 percent thanks to a rebound in its spring selling season. Sales at U.S. stores open at least a year jumped 6.4 percent and the retailer raised its full-year profit estimate. Spring is the biggest season for home-improvement retailers, as homeowners and others work on their yards and gardens. While the season started off cold and stormy, weather improved and shoppers headed out to stores to pick up supplies. The report from Home Depot beat Wall Street forecasts. The company’s share price is up more than 3 percent this morning.

U.S. and international stock markets continue to rise. Analysts say improved home builder sentiment and renewed efforts to broker a cease-fire in Ukraine are among the reasons. The high-technology dominated Nasdaq index is at its highest level in 14 years.

Orange juice sales continue to drop as consumers turn to other drinks for refreshment. “U.S. orange-juice sales fell to the lowest level on record,” The Wall Street Journal reports. Sports and energy-drink sales have surged. Consumers purchased 9.2 percent less orange juice in the four weeks ending Aug. 2, compared with a similar period a year ago, according to Nielsen data published by the Florida Department of Citrus.

The California utility Pacific Gas and Electric has pleaded not guilty to charges in a new indictment. The firm is accused of lying to federal investigators looking into a fatal pipeline explosion in a San Francisco Bay-area neighborhood. The blast in 2010 killed eight people. The company says an obstruction of justice charge was the result of a paperwork error that was quickly corrected.

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

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Dollar General (DG) Counters With Rival Bid for Family Dollar (FDO) http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/business/2014/08/dollar-general-dg-counters-with-rival-bid-for-family-dollar-fdo/ http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/business/2014/08/dollar-general-dg-counters-with-rival-bid-for-family-dollar-fdo/#comments Mon, 18 Aug 2014 12:37:58 +0000 Richard Davies http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/business/?p=120696 Morning Money Memo:

A bidding war is heating up for the struggling discount retailer Family Dollar, and big bucks are involved.

Dollar General has made a proposal to acquire Family Dollar for $78.50 per share, or about $9.7 billion. The all-cash bid is more generous than a rival offer made last month by Dollar Tree, worth $74.50 a share.

“For Family Dollar shareholders, our proposal is financially superior to the current transaction agreement with Dollar Tree and would provide Family Dollar shareholders with a substantial premium and immediate liquidity for their shares,” said Rick Dreiling, Dollar General’s CEO. Neither Dollar Tree nor Family Dollar has commented on the new bid. Dollar General’s share price rose 9 percent this morning. A merger could lead to more intense competition for Walmart, which also serves lower and middle-income consumers.

In a bid to revive sales, Target plans to keep more than half its stores open until midnight most days of the week. The extended hours will continue from this month through the holiday shopping season and will then be reassessed. Target has suffered from a recent sales decline. “Ten and 11 p.m. aren’t peak times for shopping, but Target is betting that enough people will show up to make it worth keeping the lights on and registers open,” reports The Wall Street Journal.

The stock market is gaining ground with a rise for futures this morning. The U.S. economy and stocks are holding up well despite a grim summer in much of the world. Europe appears on the brink of another recession with the crisis over Ukraine and Russia. Israel’s war in Gaza, the ISIS advance in Iraq and worries about a real estate bubble in China are adding to global concerns.

But U.S. stock market averages are up for the year, most global corporations have reported strong earnings, and the employment market has improved with new job creation up nearly 15 percent compared with last year

China’s government is cracking down on Mercedes-Benz, saying the carmaker violated anti-monopoly law and charged excessive prices for parts. A growing number of global automakers have been snared in an investigation of the industry. China’s Xinhua News Agency says the luxury unit of Germany’s Daimler AG abused its control over supplies of spare parts to engage in “vertical price-fixing.”

Leading patient groups say insurance companies are beginning to find ways around anti-discrimination provisions that are a central goal of the nation’s health care law. The insurance industry says critics are confusing legitimate cost-control with bias. Some state regulators, however, say there’s reason to be concerned. More than 300 patient advocacy groups recently wrote Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell to complain about some insurer tactics that “are highly discriminatory” and may violate the law.

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

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Box Office Battle: ’80s Action Stars vs. ’80s Action Turtles http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/business/2014/08/box-office-battle-80s-action-stars-vs-80s-action-turtles/ http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/business/2014/08/box-office-battle-80s-action-stars-vs-80s-action-turtles/#comments Fri, 15 Aug 2014 13:34:54 +0000 ABC News http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/business/?p=120690 AP turtles expendables 2 sk 140815 v16x9 16x9 608 Box Office Battle: 80s Action Stars vs. 80s Action Turtles

(AP Photo)

Morning Money Memo…

ABC News’ John Kapetaneas reports:

It will once again be a battle at the weekend box office, only this time with much lower stakes. Sylvester Stallone’s third installment of “The Expendables,” the half-billion dollar series comprised of mostly 1980s action movie stars, is expected to pull in a modest $20 million in what has been a weak summer season for film earnings. Last weekend’s winner, Michael Bay’s “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,” is expected to top the weekend box office with close to $30 million, according to Box Office Mojo.

Markets Start Strong

Markets across the globe were up early this morning, looking to end the week on a positive note, as trading across the globe pushed most indices into the green. European and Asian markets saw mostly positive gains for the day, with exchanges in France, Germany, Hong Kong and Shanghai seeing nearly 1 percent gains on the day. U.S. futures were up this morning going into the final trading day of the week. Gold was down $2.20 per ounce to $1,313, as worldwide demand for the precious metal declined in the previous quarter.

Buffett Boom

It’s a historic day for Warren Buffett, Forbes’s third-richest man in the world. His legendary investment firm, Berkshire Hathaway, opens the day above $200,000 per share, after ending the trading day Thursday at $202,850.

The Oracle of Omaha, who will turn 83 later this month, is showing no sign of slowing down, with Berkshire purchasing shares in Visa, Verizon, GM and Wal-Mart (among other companies).

Now, the question is: Should you invest like Buffett? One share of Berkshire Hathaway class A stock purchased in August 1984 would have cost you $1,290. Holding that singular share for 30 yours, would now have returned you 157 times your money (or 15,700 percent). By comparison, buying the S&P 500 in August 1984 at $167 would have returned you, over the same period of time, $1,170 (11 times your initial investment).

Invest Like Warren Buffett? His Stock Just Hit $200,000

Buffett would seem like a good investment in any investor’s book; but before you go splurging on the next share of Berkshire stock, let’s take a look at what else $200,000 can buy you:

  • A base model 2014 Ferrari F430, which at 490-horsepower, certainly seems more enticing than a share in a company. And at $175,000, you’d still have enough money left over to fill your 25 gallon gas tank approximately 289 times at the current national average gas price.
  • Climb Mount Everest, the world’s tallest mountain, with a guiding company leading you along the way. At $65,000, you can reach the peak three times (theoretically, of course), and still have enough left over to splurge on great hiking gear.
  • At least three full years of tuition, fees, expenses, plus full room and board at Harvard, one of the world’s most prestigious universities. You would even have enough left over to pick up the first few hundred bar tabs at your favorite Cambridge pub.
  • Explore the entire world in 24 days with National Geographic Expeditions, visiting historic sites like Machu Picchu and Angkor Wat, all by private jet. And at $74,000, you could afford to do it twice, with more than enough left over to extend your stay any number of popular resort destinations.

Most Expensive Car

What can’t $200,000 buy you? How about the most expensive car in the world. A 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO sold for $34.65 million, or the rough equivalent of 171 shares of Berkshire Hathaway class A. The record-breaking roadster topped the price of the previous world’s most expensive car, a 1954 Mercedes that went for just under $30 million.

Rare Ferrari Sells for $38 Million to Set Auction Record

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Retail Sales Slow, Raising Concerns About Economy http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/business/2014/08/retail-sales-slow-raising-concerns-about-economy/ http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/business/2014/08/retail-sales-slow-raising-concerns-about-economy/#comments Thu, 14 Aug 2014 13:47:11 +0000 ABC News http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/business/?p=120682 By John Kapetaneas

Morning Money Memo…

Retailers are posting uneven results this year, but economists and investors are not sounding the warning bells just yet. Although retail sales for the third quarter have gotten off to a slow start, with July’s retail numbers falling below expectations, the outlook for the rest of the year is improving, albeit slightly. The disappointing results have ignited debate over the pace of economic growth, and the  consumer spending.

“What we’ve seen so far in the third quarter has been a little underwhelming,” says Paul Ballew, chief economist for Dun & Bradstreet. “It’s an ongoing challenge to deal with this two steps forward, one and a half steps back from a recovery standpoint.”

From an economic standpoint, the current quarter has not been altogether different from the slow and uneven recovery of the previous four years.  ”Were expecting things to improve marginally as we head into 2015,” Ballew adds. “Labor markets are starting to improve, were getting patterns of slightly stronger growth in the U.S., but the operative word is marginally.”

Meanwhile, retail giant Wal-Mart met analyst’s earnings estimates, posting earnings per share of $1.21 and revenue of $120 billion. However, the world’s largest retailer also lowered its full-year earnings outlook, as traffic to Wal-Mart stores fell slightly and comparable store sales remained stagnant. ”If you’re Wal-Mart you’re at least temporarily seeing benefits from a strategy that constituted going back to your everyday discounting,” Ballew says. “…but it’s still a tough, tough environment in so many ways.”

Global markets were mixed this morning, with European markets largely trading in the green. US stocks opened slightly higher going in to Thursday’s trading day. Gold rose $3.50 to $1,318 per ounce, although global gold demand had dropped 16 percent in the second quarter. Jobless claims in the U.S. increased by 21,000 last week, the highest level in six weeks.

Networking equipment giant Cisco says it will cut 6,000 jobs, or 8 percent of its workforce, as part of a major restructuring plan. The company posted revenue of $12.36 billion in its latest quarter, down from $12.42 billion last year, as it faces increased competition from young and upcoming tech companies. In a statement, the company maintained its optimism about the road ahead. “We are executing well in a tough environment,” CEO John Chambers wrote. “I’m pleased with how we are transforming our company over the past several years, and that journey continues.”

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The Business of Robin Williams, by the Numbers http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/business/2014/08/the-business-of-robin-williams-by-the-numbers/ http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/business/2014/08/the-business-of-robin-williams-by-the-numbers/#comments Tue, 12 Aug 2014 13:07:53 +0000 ABC News http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/business/?p=120656  

AP robin williams kab 140812 16x9 608 The Business of Robin Williams, by the Numbers

                          (Image Credit: Charles Sykes/AP Photo)

Morning Money Memo:

ABC News’ John Kapetaneas reports:

The late Robin Williams’ most iconic roles touched many of our hearts: he made us laugh, he made us cry, he made us experience the theater, stage and television like so few in his craft could. But Robin Williams, who died at 63 Monday in a suspected suicide, was also an economy in himself.

Inside Williams’ Troubled Life

Williams, the Bob Hope of His Generation

Here is Robin Williams by the numbers:

  • As an actor and producer, Williams’ movies have grossed over $6 billion at the worldwide box office. He is credited 68 times in leading, supporting, cameo, producer and other miscellaneous roles.
  • He has been credited as a leading man 32 times, movies that have generated $3.7 billion worldwide with Williams’ name at the headline (or roughly $115.6 million per film, on average).
  • Williams was paid in 1992 just $75,000, the Screen Actors Guild scale, for the voice of the iconic Genie in “Aladdin.” The film would go on to become a blockbuster, generating over $500 million at the worldwide box office.
  • Williams was married three times: first to Valerie Velardi, with whom he had his first child (often credited with his early sobriety); then to Marsha Garces, with whom he had two children; and, finally, to Susan Schneider in 2011.
  • His net worth at the time of his death was reportedly around $50 million, according to Celebrity Net Worth, although it has been estimated as high as $130 million.
  • His first starring role in “Popeye” paid the then 29-year-old actor $500,000. His highest-paying movie, 1999′s “Bicentennial Man.” paid him a reported $20 million, putting him in the same echelon as Will Smith, Sandra Bullock and Arnold Schwarzenegger.
  • Williams’ early TV career included the breakout role as the quirky alien Mork in “Mork and Mindy.” He signed a contract reportedly valued at $3 million over five years. The show ran for 92 episodes, giving Williams an average of $32,600 per episode. By contrast, his 2013 show, “The Crazy Ones,” paid him $165,000 per episode.
  • “Mork and Mindy” was the third-most popular television series of the 1978-79 season (behind “Laverne and Shirley” and “Three’s Company”). The show averaged 55 to 60 million viewers per week. By comparison, this year’s most-watched sitcom, “The Big Bang Theory,” averages just under 20 million viewers per week.

In other business news:

The U.S. Postal Service is losing even more money. Despite seeing increased revenue across all products, the USPS reported a nearly $2 billion loss in the latest quarter, a significant increase from a $740 million loss this time last year. The agency has seen decreasing volumes for a number of years, and faces growing operational expenses, as well as increased consumer preference for private shipping companies such as FedEx and UPS.

After a positive day in worldwide markets Monday, markets were mixed this morning across Europe and Asia. U.S. futures are up slightly. Gold is up $2.60 to $1,313 per ounce.

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GM Advises SUV Owners to Avoid Garages in 60th Recall http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/business/2014/08/gm-advises-suv-owners-to-avoid-garages-in-60th-recall/ http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/business/2014/08/gm-advises-suv-owners-to-avoid-garages-in-60th-recall/#comments Fri, 08 Aug 2014 13:11:34 +0000 ABC News http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/business/?p=120646 gty general motors line jc 140808 16x9 608 GM Advises SUV Owners to Avoid Garages in 60th Recall

     (Photo Credit: LM Otero/AP Photo)

Morning Money Memo

ABC News’ John Kapetaneas reports:

General Motors is under scrutiny for yet another round of safety recalls, focusing this time on the power switches of several SUV models that could potentially catch fire when left unattended. GM is advising owners of select SUVs to park their vehicles outdoors until the problem can be fixed. Originally issued June 30 but now updated with the fire risk, this is the third such recall for this group of automobiles, which includes the 2006 and 2007 model Chevy Trailblazer, GMC Envoy, Buick Rainer, Saab 97-X and Isuzu Ascender. The recall will cover about 189,000 vehicles, and will be the 60th one issued this year. GM has faced some negative repercussions from the nearly 29 million cars it has called back for automotive issues, including an 80 percent drop in second-quarter profits two weeks ago.

To say Malaysian Airlines has had a tumultuous year would be a historic understatement. The airline behind two major disasters in five months this morning looks as if it will fall into the hands of its national government. According to the Financial Times, the proposed buyout through the Malaysian sovereign wealth fund, would see the company restructured as part of the rescue plan. Shares of the company could also be delisted from being publicly traded. Trading of MAS, shares have been halted on the public exchange since Monday.

Markets across the globe are largely mixed this morning. European markets are trading largely flat for the day, with the exception of Italy, whose market is up over 1.5 percent for the day. Markets in Asia were down slightly across the board today, with Japan’s Nikkei and India’s Sensex seeing heavier declines at 3 percent and 1 percent,  respectively. U.S. futures are up slightly, after falling triple digits earlier in the morning. Gold is up to $1,313 an ounce. Crude oil is mostly unchanged.

Having a hard time getting a loan? Credit scoring company FICO announced Thursday it will no longer include records of previously outstanding bills in consumers’ credit reports. The measure will make it easier for many people to increase their borrowing ability by providing a boost to their credit scores.

This weekend’s battle at the box office pits Michael Bay’s “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” reboot against second-week blockbuster “Guardians of the Galaxy.” Despite a dominant first week in theaters for “Guardians,” bringing in roughly $220 million for Marvel and Disney, the space odyssey will face stiff competition from the “Turtles” in their 2014 real-life adaptation; the first since 1993. Analysts are expecting both films to pull in around $40 million this weekend.

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Walgreen (WAG) Abandons Plan to Move Overseas http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/business/2014/08/walgreen-wag-abandons-plan-to-move-overseas/ http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/business/2014/08/walgreen-wag-abandons-plan-to-move-overseas/#comments Wed, 06 Aug 2014 13:02:16 +0000 Richard Davies http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/business/?p=120638 Great expectations … no more. Plans for three big business deals have been shelved.

The Walgreen Company plans to keep its roots firmly planted in the United States, saying it will no longer pursue an overseas reorganization – a politically touchy move that would have trimmed the amount of U.S. taxes it pays.

The largest drugstore chain says it will buy the remaining stake in the Alliance Boots that it does not already own, but it will not pull off an inversion with the Swiss health and beauty retailer.

Walgreens says it is not in the best long-term interest of its shareholders to re-domicile outside the United States. The company’s pre-market share price dropped nearly 5 percent after the announcement.

The Obama administration is looking at ways to prevent American companies from reincorporating overseas to shirk U.S. taxes, without requiring new laws from Congress.

President Obama has denounced “tax inversions” as unpatriotic and has urged Congress to stop them. But Republicans and Democrats disagree about the best solution, making congressional action this year unlikely. The Treasury Department says it’s reviewing a broad range of potential actions.

Connection Lost: Sprint, T-Mobile End Merger Plan

Shares of Sprint and T-Mobile US have fallen sharply after a published report said Sprint was ending its pursuit of a merger of the two cellphone carriers.

print shares plunged 15 percent while T-Mobile dropped 9 percent after The Wall Street Journal said Sprint decided it would be too difficult to convince regulators to approve the merger of the No. 3 and No. 4 providers.

Curtain Falls on Fox Bid for Time Warner

Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox is abandoning its attempt to take over Time Warner in a proposed deal that would have combined two of the world’s biggest media companies.

The about-face came three weeks after Time Warner said it rejected a $76 billion buyout offer. There had been hopes that 21st Century Fox, which owns the 20th Century Fox movie studio, Fox broadcast network, and TV channels Fox News and FX, might raise its original cash-and-stock offer bid of roughly $86 per share to as much as $100 per share to win over Time Warner.

Time Warner shares dropped more than 12 percent after the announcement. 21st Century Fox shares rose 6 percent.

Push for Emission Rule

Residents living near oil refineries and environmental activists want Environmental Protection Agency to adopt stricter emissions standards to reduce communities’ exposure to a cancer-causing chemical.

Dozens of people addressed the federal agency during a hearing in suburban Houston about a proposal that would compel refineries for the first time to monitor and report emissions of benzene. The meeting was in response to a suit filed by Earthjustice and the Environmental Integrity Project on behalf of communities near oil refineries.

The suit argued that the EPA was more than a decade late in reviewing and updating toxic air standards for refineries. The federal agency has until April 2015 to issue a final rule.

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