Business

Business news

In the nearly impenetrable language that comes with his job, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke told Congress on Wednesday that even though the economy is doing better, the central bank needs to keep giving it a boost.

The key passage from his prepared testimony:

If you were hoping to cash in that Borders gift card for the latest Dan Brown novel — or at least hoping to get some cash for it — you're too late.

A Manhattan federal judge on Wednesday ruled that the bankrupt and defunct book chain owes nothing to the roughly 17.7 million people who hold $210.5 million in unredeemed gift cards.

U.S. District Judge Andrew Carter says it would be unfair to Borders Group's other creditors to let gift-card holders pursue recoveries, Reuters reports:

Apple was criticized in a Senate committee hearing Tuesday for using complex accounting to minimize the corporate taxes it pays. One key piece of the company's tax strategy: It funnels lots of its profits through subsidiaries in Ireland.

Offering low corporate tax rates has been a fundamental part of Ireland's economic strategy for decades — a way to get foreign companies to set up operations in the country.

Giant technology firm Apple is paying billions of dollars less than it should in U.S. taxes each year, according to a report by the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. In a hearing Tuesday in Washington, D.C., Apple CEO Tim Cook will defend the company.

The subcommittee's report says Apple avoids the tax payments mainly by shifting profits to three subsidiary companies in Ireland. The investigation found Apple is taking advantage of technicalities in U.S. and Irish tax laws to avoid paying any tax on a huge portion of its profits.

U.S. oil production is rising sharply and increased output from shale will be a "game changer" in global energy markets in the coming years, according to a new report out Tuesday by the International Energy Agency.

Whatever Happened To The Economy?

May 14, 2013

Remember the economy?

The election year was dominated by talk about jobs and the economy, but neither the administration nor Congress seems to have any grand ideas for jump-starting a still sluggish recovery — and they're not even talking about it much.

President Obama sought to turn attention back to economic issues with a speech last week in Texas on manufacturing, but that's already long since been forgotten. A cascade of scandals has driven the issue entirely off the Washington radar.

The Internet has managed to disrupt many industries, from publishing to music. So why not lending?

Google is teaming up with the nation's largest peer-to-peer lender. The search and tech giant is investing $125 million in Lending Club, which gets borrowers and lenders together outside the conventional banking system. Google's move and the actions of other big players reflect a growing interest in peer-to-peer lending.

Federal workers say they don't have much to celebrate these days.

Furloughs began in April, exacerbating already low morale for many government agencies as budgets have tightened. Downsizing has meant more work for those who remain, and talk of further cuts has many worried about job security. This year is also the third that federal workers haven't received a pay increase, contributing to discontent.

Assistant U.S. Attorney General Ignacia Moreno, the point person at the Justice Department for prosecuting environmental crimes, says she will leave government service next month.

Congress is considering a bill that would allow states to collect sales taxes from online retailers. Proponents say a law is necessary to level the playing field with brick-and-mortar stores and to raise revenue for states.

Wal-Mart has reclaimed the lead spot on the Fortune 500 list released today. For the past few years, the giant retailer has been battling it out with Exxon for top billing.

This year, Exxon Mobil dropped to No. 2.

Fortune writes about Wal-Mart:

(Most recent update: 10 a.m. ET.)

The nation's jobless rate edged down to 7.5 percent in April from 7.6 percent in March and employers added 165,000 jobs to their payrolls last month, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday morning.

Across the country, state budgets are back in the black after years of belt-tightening and spending cuts. From California to Florida, in nearly every state, the economic recovery has produced a surge in tax revenue.

For governors and state legislators, that's produced a new question: how to spend the money.

The past three years have not been easy ones for elected officials. Nearly every state requires them to produce a balanced budget. And with declining revenue from sales, property and income taxes, that has meant big spending cuts.

In Sao Paulo, Brazil's largest city, a Starbucks coffee shop looks as it would in the United States. It has the same jazzy music; the same items on the menu.

There is one thing that is different, though: the prices.

"Everyone told me it's expensive, but when you see it yourself it's shocking," says one customer, Thierry, who is from Geneva and is in town for a wedding.

Like almost everything in the Texas, the construction industry in the Lone Star State is big. One in every 13 workers here is employed in the state's $54 billion-per-year construction industry.

Homebuilding and commercial construction may be an economic driver for the state, but it's also an industry riddled with hazards. Years of illegal immigration have pushed wages down, and accidents and wage fraud are common. Of the nearly 1 million workers laboring in construction here, approximately half are undocumented.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency could soon issue a final ruling that aims to force oil companies to replace E10, gasoline mixed with 10 percent ethanol, with E15.

This move could come just as widespread support for ethanol, which is made from corn, appears to be eroding.

Mike Mitchell was once a true believer in ethanol as a homegrown solution to foreign oil imports. He owns gas stations, and he went further than most, installing expensive blender pumps that let customers choose E15, E20 and all the way up to E85.

For most Americans, the math for a comfortable retirement may never add up.

Illustrations produced by an Indian ad agency showing scantily clad cartoon women bound, gagged and stuffed into the hatch of a Ford Figo have led both the car company and the ad agency's parent to issue apologies.

The images, according to FirstPost.Business, were "scam ads — ads that are created not to sell products and services, but to win awards at awards shows such as the Abby or at Cannes."

A vote in Cyprus on whether to approve a controversial bailout plan has been postponed after the prospect of the deal caused bank customers to rush to withdraw their savings and drew the ire of overseas depositors.

As NPR's Krishnadev Calamur wrote in a post over the weekend: "The money [is] needed because Cyprus' banks lost 4.5 billion euros on their Greek bond holdings, which were written down last year after Greece's second bailout."

The Barron's magazine top financial advisor rankings are out again for this year, and we are proud to be in the national top 1,000, as well as having moved up to number 18 in the Ohio list.  We want to thank our clients for keeping us in this elite group.   

Pages