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Tuesday
Nov092010

First Lady's Clothing Picks: Big Gains for Designers, Department Stores

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- First lady Michelle Obama is hailed as one of the world's best-dressed women. From couture creations to off-the-rack ensembles, the clothes she wears fly off the shelves.

The designers whose creations are picked by the first lady not only experience a surge in popularity, but, according to the results of a study published in the October issue of the Harvard Business Review, their stocks can get a significant boost.

The study's author, David Yermack, professor of finance and business at New York University's Leonard N. Stern School of Business, performed a year-long analysis of the economic impact of Obama's apparel selections.

He found that her choices had a major influence on clothing markets.

Obama's Choices Benefit Seventh Avenue and Wall Street

"Each single appearance of hers could move a stock price by $14 million," Yermack told "Good Morning America."

According to Yermack's results, Obama made 189 public appearances between November 2008 and December 2009. During that time, she wore items from 29 publicly traded companies, including J.Crew, the Gap, Saks Fifth Avenue and Target.

Those companies raked in an estimated $2.7 billion as a result of Obama's donning their apparel, Yermack calculated.

J.Crew has been one of the biggest beneficiaries of the first lady's sartorial selections. Obama has sported outfits from the popular mall chain on several high-profile occasions.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Nov092010

Employers Offer Fewer Jobs in Sept., Labor Department Says

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Job openings fell sharply in September, the Labor Department announced Tuesday. Employers advertised 2.9 million jobs -- a drop of 5.3 percent from the previous month.

Diane Swonk, chief economist at Mesirow Financial in Chicago, says last month's numbers should be more significant.

“We've yet to see how sustainable the increase in jobs in October was,” she said. “It was a meaningful turnaround along with the revisions we saw over the summer that showed smaller declines in employment, but…we're still digging ourselves out of a very deep hole when it comes to employment.”

“The good news is that retailers are hiring a little bit more than they were a year ago,” Swonk said. “We're starting to see some of the services employment come back a bit. We've also seen temporary hires pick up.”

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Nov092010

Commerce Dept: Wholesale Inventories, Sales Up in Sept.

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Inventories at the wholesale level rose for a ninth consecutive month in September, the Commerce Department said Tuesday. Sales were up for a third straight month.

While it’s positive news for the economy, Mesirow Financial chief economist Diane Swonk says inventories are not as large an economic factor as they once were.

“Inventories, although they're continuing to rise, the rise in inventories is no longer the tailwind it once was in supporting manufacturing activity and economic growth,” she said.

“We're still not seeing enough. What we're seeing is inventories that continue to grow, but at a slower pace,” Swonk said. “As they continue to do that, we'll see their additions to the U.S. economy wane.”

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Nov092010

Goodbye, Mr. Goodwrench: GM to Retire Iconic Service Brand

Photo Courtesy - GM/YouTube(DETROIT) -- General Motors is putting Mr. Goodwrench out to pasture.

The iconic auto repair brand will be replaced early next year as GM and the American auto industry continue to rebuild.

General Motors is replacing its Goodwrench service with more specific labels such as Chevrolet Certified Service, Buick Certified Service, GMC Certified Service and Cadillac Certified Service.

“Our number one priority is providing a world-class ownership experience that creates positive long-lasting relationships with our customers,” said Steve Hill, vice president and general manager, GM Customer Care and Aftersales.

The automaker says it plans to retire the Goodwrench name effective Feb. 1, 2011.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Nov092010

Holiday Hiring Season on Track to Be One of Strongest in Years

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(CHICAGO) -- The job outlook for this holiday season is seeing its strongest start in four years, according to outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.

The latest jobs report showed a net gain of 150,900 retail jobs in October, three times greater than the number of retail positions added in the same month last year and nearly four times greater than those added in 2008.  The last time similar numbers were posted was back in 2006, when retail payrolls expanded by 150,600.

“This is a good sign that retailers feel more optimistic this year.  Even if November and December hiring remains flat from a year ago, seasonal job growth will top 600,000 for the first time since 2007,” said John A. Challenger, chief executive officer of Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Nov092010

Sequel to Best-Selling Video Game Hits Store Shelves

Photo Courtesy - Activision(NEW YORK) -- The sequel to the world's best-selling video game went on sale Tuesday at midnight.

Last November, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 made entertainment history with blockbuster sales.  The latest label, Call of Duty: Black Ops, is expected to perform similarly well.

"I'm gonna blow people's heads off," said one young fan perusing the racks at a GameStop in New York's Herald Square.  "I'm going to be the best in the whole game."

It's likely he'll have some competition -- especially if Black Ops sells as well as the previous installment, which generated more than a billion dollars in sales.

"I'm one of the original gamers," one man said after he negotiated a deal to trade older games for a copy of the newest version.  "I started with Pong when I was a kid."

Call of Duty is a little more ambitious than Pong, the two-dimensional monochrome table tennis simulation.  Players are supposed to be Cold War-era CIA operatives trying to track down Soviet weapons using custom weapons.

"All the little gadgets and all the little things that you have in the game" is what the Pong fan said he liked about Call of Duty.  "Every game you can shoot.  This one gives you something a little different, something a little bit more advanced."

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Monday
Nov082010

Can Workers Be Fired for Criticizing Their Boss on Social Networking Sites?

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The National Labor Relations Board has accused American Medical Response of Connecticut of illegally firing an employee after she criticized her supervisor on her page at Facebook.com, according to The New York Times.

The case, viewed by some as ground-breaking, represents the first time the labor board has intervened on behalf of workers, arguing that the criticisms of one’s boss or company on a social networking site “is generally a protected activity and that employers would be violating the law by punishing workers for such statements,” writes The New York Times.

An administrative law judge will begin hearing the case on Jan. 25.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Monday
Nov082010

Morgan Stanley Money Manager in Hit-and-Run Controversy 

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(DENVER) -- The district attorney’s office in Colorado dropped felony charges against a Morgan Stanley Smith Barney private wealth manager who allegedly hit a bicyclist with his car in Eagle, Colorado, instead choosing to press lesser misdemeanor charges.

Martin Joel Erzinger, a financial advisor in Denver, Colorado, was accused of hitting Dr. Stephen Milo with his car on July 3 before driving away. He was caught a short time later in a parking lot across town.

"When you take a case through jury trial, there's always certainly a bit of uncertainty. This is a guarantee that he will have this on the record for the rest of his life," Mark Hurlbert told ABC News.

Hurlbert, who was also the prosecutor in the rape case that was dismissed against Kobe Bryant in September 2004, said the decision to drop the felony charge was not an act of leniency based on Erzinger's wealth or occupation. Instead, Hurlbert said, a felony charge through a jury trial was uncertain to be as punitive as two misdemeanor charges.

Erzinger, 52, now faces two misdemeanor traffic charges for leaving the scene of an accident and causing serious bodily injury.

"For the rest of his life, Mr. Erzinger will have on his record that he drove carelessly and caused serious bodily injury to another human being," said Hurlbert. "He may face potential jail time, which is up to a judge. And he'll lose his driver's license and pay restitution."

According to court records, Erzinger didn't call the police. When they tracked him down, he was placing his rearview mirror and a piece of the bumper in his trunk.

Milo, 34, who lives in New York City, suffered spinal cord injuries and bleeding from his brain.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Monday
Nov082010

Sarah Palin Takes On Ben Bernanke

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- With the midterm elections behind her, Sarah Palin is shifting her focus to tackling the Federal Reserve's monetary policy. In remarks at a trade association convention in Phoenix on Monday, Palin called on Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke to “cease and desist” the “Fed’s pump priming addiction.”

“I’m deeply concerned about the Federal Reserve’s plans to buy up anywhere from $600 billion to as much as $1 trillion of government securities. The technical term for it is ‘quantitative easing.’ It means our government is pumping money into the banking system by buying up treasury bonds. And where, you may ask, are we getting the money to pay for all this? We’re printing it out of thin air,” Palin said, according to the National Review, which obtained a copy of her prepared remarks.

“And if it doesn’t work, what do we do then? Print even more money? What’s the end game here? Where will all this money printing on an unprecedented scale take us? Do we have any guarantees that QE2 won’t be followed by QE3, 4, and 5, until eventually – inevitably – no one will want to buy our debt anymore?” Palin said. “We shouldn’t be playing around with inflation.”

The former Alaska governor also took her concerns to Twitter, posting Monday morning, “Today:trade speech;tmrw school event 2 start discussing QuantitativeEasing w kids around US so they prepare 4 Feds experiment w their future.”

Palin’s comments come as President Obama prepares for the G20 summit in South Korea later this week, where the Federal Reserve’s $600 billion “QE2” program is expected to be a key issue.

Obama defended the policy Monday in India and hit back at criticisms that QE2 risks destabilizing the global economy.

“I will say that the Fed's mandate, my mandate, is to grow our economy. And that's not just good for the United States, that's good for the world as a whole,” Obama at a press conference Monday in New Delhi. “The worst thing that could happen to the world economy, not ours -- not just ours, but the entire world's economy -- is if we end up being stuck with no growth or very limited growth. And I think that's the Fed's concern, and that's my concern as well.”

Instead of QE2, Palin is expected to call for a stable dollar and broad economic reform. “It’s the only way we can get our economy back on the right track,” she said.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Monday
Nov082010

Google to Provide In-Flight Internet for Holiday Air Travel

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Google Chrome, Google’s Web browser team, on Monday announced plans to team up with AirTran, Delta and Virgin America Airlines to provide passengers with a new service for holiday travel called Gogo Inflight Internet.

Gogo will allow flight passengers to access free Wi-Fi service while traveling on domestic flights during the holiday travel season.

Travelers flying on AirTran, Delta or Virgin America will be able to utilize the service between November 20, 2010 and January 2, 2011.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio