WCBE

Business

Business news

It wasn't long ago that all consumers went to retail stores to buy things. These days, of course, you can get just about anything online. Some companies are now taking that shopping experience to the next level, allowing customers to design almost anything individually — from a trench coat to a batch of M&M's.

In a statement early this morning, the Treasury Department says it's going to "exit" its investment in General Motors. The federal government holds just over 500 million shares of GM stock.

The automaker will buy 200 million of those shares, and the government will dispose of the rest "in an orderly fashion" over the next year and a half, depending on market conditions.

The Day Instagram Almost Lost Its Innocence

Dec 18, 2012

The wildly popular photo-sharing site Instagram nearly caused a user revolt when it revamped its terms of service and privacy policy to suggest it could allow uploaded photos to be used in ads without users' permission.

The change — which was posted in dense legalese on its website Monday — sparked users to vow to stop posting their color-filtered, tilt-shifted photos to Instagram.

It's a nervous time for companies that make and sell guns.

On Tuesday, Cerberus Capital Management, a private equity firm, announced it was selling its stake in Freedom Group, maker of the American Bushmaster AR-15 rifle, which was used in the Newtown killings last Friday, along with other brands such as Remington.

Despite a slowdown in U.S. consumption, coal is poised to replace oil as the world's top energy source — possibly in the next five years, according to the International Energy Agency. The rise will be driven almost entirely by new energy demands in China and India, the IEA says.

Behind a tall metal gate in a nondescript nook of Kabul sits the Bamboo Wood Industries factory. It's not a place you're likely to stumble across by accident. Inside, a handful of men are cutting, painting and assembling desks and cabinets. The pieces being made are chocolate brown and quite modern looking.

Sitting in a spartan, unheated office above the factory floor is Fatima Jafari, the owner of the company. The 30-something woman started the business a little over a year ago.

In some of the most potent cultural images we have of cool cars, they are being driven by young men — Ron Howard cruising in American Graffiti, cousins Bo and Luke from The Dukes of Hazzard sliding over the hood of the General Lee, James Dean behind the wheel of his Porsche.

A sharp drop in the cost of a gallon of gasoline helped pull consumer prices down 0.3 percent in November, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports.

According to BLS, gas prices plunged 7.4 percent last month.

Excluding the food and energy sectors, the so-called core rate of inflation rose just 0.1 percent.

Shawn Rux took over as principal of MS 53, a New York City middle school, last year. At the time, 50 or 60 kids were absent every day. You could understand why they stayed away: The school was chaos.

Twenty-two teachers had quit, the entire office staff had quit, and hundreds of kids had been suspended. The school was given a grade of F from the city's department of education.

"It was in a bad place," Rux says.

Thirty-year-old Alisha Mustafa spent years working at low-paying restaurant jobs. The unemployment rate hovers around 10 percent in her hometown of Bloomington, Ind.

"I've worked it all in this town," she says. "I've worked for so many restaurants, and last year was my year from hell in the industry."

So, she quit and started her own business. Now, she spends most days baking treats like gluten-free strawberry mango pie for her business, Mustafa Pie Co.

Eighteen months ago Eden Full was finishing up her sophomore year at Princeton University. She was on the crew team as a coxswain. She had spent the previous summer in Kenya building an innovative, low-cost contraption to make solar panels more efficient.

Full was glowingly successful — the kind of college student who ends up profiled in alumni magazines.

But Full had decided to drop out.

News from Chornyak & Associates

Dec 10, 2012

We at Chornyak & Associates wish our clients and friends all of the joys that the holiday season has to offer.  Let's all put aside our concerns for the country's financial future and have a truly peaceful and festive season with friends and family!  Columbus offers lots of holiday activities to extend the celebration outside the home.  

Saying that "we could not find a large enough audience quickly enough to convince us the business model was sustainable in the long-term," News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch said this morning that The Daily will "cease standalone publication" on Dec. 15.

With the election over, attention in Washington has turned to the nation's debt and deficit challenges — most immediately the looming fiscal cliff. That's the $600 billion worth of expiring tax breaks and automatic spending cuts set to start taking effect Jan. 1.

The president and Congress agreed to those automatic measures to force themselves to find a more palatable compromise to rein in deficits. On Wednesday, there was an attempt to jump-start that process.

Fiscal cliff or bridge to the future?

Nov 6, 2012

Joe Chornyak discusses the "fiscal cliff" sometimes touted in the media, and its relationship to your investment portfolio.  

The nation's unemployment rate edged up to 7.9 percent in October from 7.8 percent in September, the Bureau of Labor Statistics says.

But private and public employers added 171,000 jobs to their payrolls — nearly 50,000 more than economists had expected.

So the news is somewhat mixed: While the jobless rate remained stuck near 8 percent, job growth was better than forecast.

America's Most Expensive Storms

Oct 31, 2012

While we're on the subject of devastating storms, consider a report published last year by the National Hurricane Center. The title alone makes it worth a look:

THE DEADLIEST, COSTLIEST, AND MOST INTENSE UNITED STATES TROPICAL CYCLONES FROM 1851 TO 2010 (AND OTHER FREQUENTLY REQUESTED HURRICANE FACTS)

An oil boom is under way in the United States. Since 2008 domestic oil production has increased dramatically, reversing what was a nearly three-decade decline. That has some predicting the U.S. could overtake Saudi Arabia as the world's largest petroleum producer in coming years.

Rajat Gupta, who was once a director at Goldman Sachs and Procter & Gamble, has been sentenced to two years in prison, after a federal jury convicted him of insider trading.

Gupta was convicted of leaking information to Galleon Rajaratnam, the billionaire co-founder of Galleon Group who was found guilty of fraud and conspiracy.

If you shopped recently at 63 Barnes & Noble stores in nine states and used a credit or debit card there's a chance that thieves got hold of data about your accounts and your PIN.

As the company has announced:

The number of first-time claims for jobless benefits rose by 46,000 last week, to 388,000, the Employment and Training Administration says.

The previous week's total — 342,000 — was the fewest since early 2008. The increase last week put claims back into the range where they've been stuck for a year, between 350,000 and 400,000.

It's harvest time in the heartland, but not just for apples and squash. In small, back-lot ponds on farms across the Midwest, a different crop has been growing all summer. They're substantial, slightly sweet and a revelation to the land-locked palate, not to mention worth top dollar. Yep, it's shrimp season in Ohio.

But don't ask for any Midwestern shrimp at your local fishmonger. There aren't enough yet to make it to the store.

New York's attorney general has sued JPMorgan Chase, alleging that a unit now owned by the banking giant fraudulently sold mortgage-backed securities in the run-up to the 2008 financial crisis.

The civil lawsuit filed Monday by state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is the first to be brought by the RMBS Working Group – the task force formed by President Obama in January to pursue alleged wrongdoing at the time of the financial crisis.

How much of a "public relations disaster" has Apple's new mapping software been?

Big enough that the famously proud company has apologized — and suggested that users can turn to arch rival Google Maps instead.

In a message "to our customers" posted this morning, CEO Tim Cook says:

A small solar power company hopes to become a winner in a market littered with losers.

San Jose, Calif.-based SoloPower is opening a $60 million manufacturing facility in Portland, Ore., Thursday as it works toward receiving a major government loan — like the one given to now-bankrupt Solyndra. SoloPower thinks it has a strategy to succeed where Solyndra failed.

An apple a day might keep the doctor away, but what do you do when there are no apples? It's a question western Michigan's apple growers are dealing with this season after strange weather earlier in the year decimated the state's apple cultivation.

Michigan is the third-largest apple producer in the U.S. after New York and Washington, but the state's apples will soon be in short supply. Now in the middle of harvest season, growers are picking only 10 percent to 15 percent of their normal crop.

"The White House Monday will demand through a world trade panel that China stop subsidizing auto parts made for export," reports Cleveland's Plain Dealer.

The U.S. population is growing. In normal times, the labor force — working or not — would be growing too. But these are not normal times, and the labor force is actually smaller than it was four years ago, meaning millions of people who should be there aren't.

The reasons people drop out of the workforce are myriad. People go back to school. Others have health issues or family priorities that keep them from looking for work. But some stop looking because they are discouraged.

I hope you enjoy my video this month on fixed-income investments. Back in the old days, people would say, "Well, as we approach retirement, we have more in bonds and CD's because that provides us with a steady flow of income." Well today, with interest rates as low as they are, you can't survive on income that's in the 1.5 to 2% range. I believe that you have to look at alternatives. I'd be glad to speak to you personally about your financial investment needs and concerns. Please contact me at 614-888-2121 or send an e-mail to chornyak@chornyak.com.

There will be a lot of questions about the iPhone 5 before its release Wednesday. Less popular among them: Why do we care so much?

Pages