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Thursday
Oct022014

Money Flows Out After ‘Bond King’ Leaves Pimco

Mark Wilson/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Record amounts of cash followed “Bond King” Bill Gross out the door.

Investors pulled $23.5 billion from Pimco’s flagship, Total Return bond fund, after he abruptly left the company last month. The fund lost more than 10 percent of its assets after Gross departed for rival Janus Capital. The fund also lost money before Gross quit.

Pimco has been trying to calm investors. “[T]he fund is well positioned to meet potential redemptions. Short-term cash management is an area of expertise and strength at PIMCO,” the company said in a statement.

Some of the money that flowed out of Pimco went to rivals Vanguard, Janus and DoubleLine funds.

The big movements are example of the hazards of hiring and keeping star fund managers who have a big following.


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Oct022014

Government Investigating Used-Car Dealerships over Liar Loans

Ingram Publishing/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Government prosecutors are looking into liar loans, where borrowers’ incomes are inflated to enable them to qualify for high interest auto loans.

“Federal and state authorities, a group that includes prosecutors in New York, Alabama and Texas, are zeroing in on the most powerful, and arguably the least regulated, rung of the subprime auto loan chain, used-car dealerships,” The New York Times reported, citing people familiar with the investigations.

“Already, they have found hundreds of fraudulent loans that together total millions of dollars,” the newspaper added.


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Oct022014

2012 Ford Focus Steering Tops List of Vehicle Issues

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- For the second time the 2012 Ford Focus tops an auto safety watch list amid complaints and reports of injury surrounding the vehicle’s steering.

The Vehicle Watch List, released by the non-profit auto safety group The Safety Institute, is a quarterly-compiled early warning list of the top 15 vehicle trends that safety experts say automakers and government should be paying attention to. The list is compiled using publicly available data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and includes consumer complaints as well as reports of injuries and deaths.

The Safety Institute states it is not a list of defects, “but rather these are areas that potentially need more investigation and to prioritize limited resources.”

The inaugural list, released in June, put the 2012 Ford Focus at the top spot, based on dozens of reported injuries in which drivers cited problems with the car’s steering.

The second list, which takes into account new data, indicates NHTSA has continued to receive complaints on the 2012 Focus, including reports that the electronic power steering randomly shuts down.

“Power steering sporadically comes in and out -- usually when the car is just started and we attempt to back out -- the steering has no power. If this happens while driving at a higher speed this could be bad,” wrote a consumer to NHTSA just last week.

Another complaint included with the Safety Institute report from mid-June said the steering wheel locked when the driver had just started a drive.

“Thank goodness I was not in the middle of driving when this occurred,” the driver said. “This should really be investigated in order to avoid a fatal accident from happening.”

“It’s trending again at the top, it certainly needs to be investigated and this is something that should be of great interest to NHTSA,” said Sean Kane, president of the board of directors of The Safety Institute, who in a different role also consults with lawyers who sue automakers.

There are no recalls or investigations into steering issues on the 2012 Ford Focus, and a spokesperson for Ford had no comment on the vehicle placing top on the Vehicle Watch List for a second time.

Upon the list’s first release in June, a spokesperson for Ford told ABC News it did not “recognize” the methodology for the safety watch list.

“We are confident in our current methods for quickly identifying and addressing potential vehicle issues,” the spokesperson added. “When the data indicates a safety recall is needed, we move quickly on behalf of our customers. The spokesperson said then that the company takes the safety of its customers “very seriously.”

A NHTSA spokesperson didn’t immediately respond but told ABC News upon release of the initial list in June that the agency has a “good track record” in identifying safety defects and issuing recalls.


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Oct022014

Subprime Auto Loans Help Fuel Auto Sales Boom

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Auto sales are booming, with a strong pick-up in demand for light trucks and SUVs.

“September was another strong month,” said Karl Brauer, senior analyst at Kelley Blue Book. “The market continues to embrace trucks and SUVs at every price point, with premium brands also benefitting from a combination of fresh product and readily-available credit.”

Financing is cheap and much more widely available than right after the 2008 financial crisis, “with a significant extension of subprime lending,” said Mark Strand at AutoTrader.com. “These tailwinds have created an environment in which all the pent up demand we have talked about can be released.”


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Oct022014

Unemployment Claims Fall to 287K

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Jobless claims dipped lower last week, decreasing by 8,000, according to the latest figures released Thursday by the Labor Department.

For the week ending Sept. 27, the number of people filing for benefits fell to 287,000. The previous week claims stood at 295,000.

The Labor Department said there were no "special factors" impacting that week's figures.

The four-week moving average slumped as well, falling by 4,250 to 294,750.


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Oct022014

Lawyer Targets Google over Hacked Celebs

Adam Berry/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- The founders of Google are in the crosshairs of a Hollywood lawyer representing more than a dozen of the female celebrities whose nude pics were exposed by a hack of Apple's iCloud service.

The hack brought the most intimate snaps taken by Oscar winner Jennifer Lawrence, Rihanna, and dozens of others available to anybody who could type the stars' names into a search box.

According to the New York Post, attorney Marty Singer is threatening a $100 million lawsuit against Google, comparing the search giant's co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin and others at the company to how higher-ups at the NFL handled the Ray Rice case.

In a letter to Google, Singer accuses the company execs of "blatantly unethical behavior" that mirrored that of the NFL, who, "turned a blind eye while its players assaulted and victimized women and children."

Google, Singer says, "...has turned a blind eye while its sites repeatedly exploit and victimize these women."

Singer, who represented Charlie Sheen in his battle against Two and a Half Men creator Chuck Lorre, said his office already demanded the site block access to the pictures, but they're still searchable.

"Google knows the images are hacked stolen property, private and confidential photos and videos unlawfully obtained and posted by pervert predators who are violating the victims' privacy rights," he said. "...Yet Google has taken little or no action to stop these outrageous violations."


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Oct022014

That's the Ticket: The Cars Most Likely to Get Summonses

iStock Editorial/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- When you live life in the fast lane, you also run the risk of getting a speeding ticket, especially if you drive a flashy car.

The insurance comparison website insurance.com drew up a list of the top ten cars most likely to get a moving violation in the U.S and owners of the Subaru WRX came out on top with 33.6 percent of them saying they received a summons in the past three years.

The WRX was followed closed by the Pontiac GTO at 32.7 percent and Scion FR-S at 32.6 percent.

For all models, nearly 20 percent of drivers reported having a traffic violation in the previous three years.

Insurance.com made its analysis from 526 models and more than 557,000 recent customers between January 2013 and July 2014 .

Here's the top 10 cars most likely to get a moving violation:

  1. Subaru WRX                           
  2. Pontiac GTO
  3. Scion FR-S
  4. Toyota Supra
  5. Subaru Tribeca
  6. Volkswagen Rabbit
  7. Mercury Topaz
  8. Scion tC
  9. Toyota FJ Cruiser
  10. Mazda2


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Oct022014

Elon Musk Teases Possible Announcement of New Vehicle

ChenRobert/iStock Editorial/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk teased the possible upcoming announcement of a new model car on his Twitter account on Wednesday night.

The post included the image of an opening garage door and the outline of a vehicle behind it with the date "October 9, 2014" in white beneath it. Musk also wrote the message, "About time to unveil the D and something else."

 

 


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Oct022014

PepsiCo Announces Low-Sugar Carbonated Beverage, Pepsi True

Photo by Tim Boyle/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- PepsiCo has announced the soon-to-come online release of a new, low-sugar beverage.

Pepsi True will launch exclusively on Amazon in mid-October, according to the company's website. The beverage is described as being "sweetened with real sugar and stevia leaf extract." It will, therefore, have 30-percent less sugar than regular Pepsi and will contain no high-fructose corn syrup or artificial sweeteners, the company says.

"For more than two decades, PepsiCo Beverages has been on a transformative journey, expanding beyond its iconic soft drink brands to offer top-selling brands for every beverage occasion and every consumer lifestyle," the company said. The post on the company website highlights the steps they've taken in recent years to sweeten drinks with stevia, including Sobe Lifewater and Australia's Pepsi NEXT.

Coca-Cola recently released a similar stevia-and-sugar-sweetened carbonated drink called Coke Life.


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Oct022014

‘Best By,’ ‘Sell By,’ ‘Use By’ Labels Don’t Mean Much, Expert Says

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- We’ve all seen the “best by,” “use by,” “enjoy by” and “sell by” on food labels, but what do they really mean?

Dr. Michael Hansen says he knows. “They don’t mean anything,” he said. “That’s the problem.”

Hansen, a senior scientist with Consumer Reports, a magazine that tests and reviews consumer products, says consumers mistakenly believe the dates indicate the product’s expiration. They don’t, he said.

“What most people think is that the food is bad after that date and they shouldn't eat it -- it could be a hazard. So they tend to throw it out,” he said.

But ABC News is learning that, for the most part, the date shown on the container is not the final date at which the food may safely be consumed. Instead, the date shown is the last day the product is at its peak quality, as determined by the manufacturer, according to Hansen and a 2013 report by the Natural Resources Defense Council -- an action group that works to protect health and the environment -- and the Harvard Food Law and Policy Clinic.

The guidelines for label dating vary from state to state. Some states have no guidelines at all. The only product that carries a federally regulated use-by date is infant formula.

In a statement, the Grocery Manufacturers Association acknowledged that “current practices do not adequately serve all consumers.”

In the statement, the association added that there is an effort among many partners to “improve current code dating practices, with the goal of creating a uniform global standard.”

As they are used right now, the dates don’t give a lot of useful information, Hansen said.

“There is complete confusion out there,” he said.

He and others believe the confusion leads to major waste and consumers losing money.

In his book, American Wasteland, author Jonathan Bloom said a family of four discards up to $2,300 worth of food each year.

How much of that waste is due to label confusion isn’t known, but experts say they are sure it’s part of the problem. In many cases, the food is still safe to eat after those dates.

According to the Natural Defense Council, milk may be good for up to one week after the printed date. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, eggs may be good within three to five weeks from your purchase date and certain canned goods, such as soup and green beans -- can be good unopened on the shelf for up to five years.

Asked how a consumer can know when food has gone bad, Hansen said people should “use common sense.”

“The food will either smell or taste bad before it gets to the point that it's going to make you sick. Just use common sense,” he said.

Shelf Life of Common Foods

  • Canned ham (shelf stable), may be stored two to five years. After opening, it may be stored for three to four days in the refrigerator.
  • Rice and dried pasta may be stored for up to two years. After cooking, they may be kept for three to four days in the refrigerator.
  • High-acid canned goods including some juices, fruits and foods with vinegar-based sauces or dressings may be stored for 12 to 18 months. After opening, they may be kept in the refrigerator for five to seven days.
  • Unopened, cooked (processed) poultry may be kept three to four days in the refrigerator after purchase. After opening, it may be stored for three to four days in the refrigerator.
  • Unopened bacon may be kept for up to two weeks after purchase, and for up to seven days in the refrigerator after opening.
  • Unopened, processed, fully cooked ham may be kept in the refrigerator for up to seven days. After opening, slices may be kept for up to three days and whole ham, seven days. 


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio