SEARCH

Tuesday
May102011

Positive Earnings and Big Deals Give Stocks a Boost Tuesday

Comstock Images/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Corporate deals and optimistic earnings pushed stocks higher Tuesday.

The Dow closed up 76 points, the Nasdaq added 29 and the S&P gained 11 by the end of Tuesday's trading session.

The largest of these corporate deals is Microsoft's purchase of Skype for $8.5 billion.  It will give the software giant access to the more than 170 million people who use the Internet phone service every month.

Crude bounced up and down Tuesday, closing just under $104 a barrel.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
May102011

Google Launches Beta Music Service

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif.) -- Google’s getting into music.

The search giant on Tuesday launched a beta version of a service that it says will allow users to “listen to your personal music collection on the Web or any compatible device.”

“Music Beta” is available to users free for a limited time at music.google.com.

The new service from Google comes on the heels of reports that Apple is planning a live music streaming service.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
May102011

General Motors Invests $2 Billion in Plant Expansions, Upgrades

Bill Pugliano/Getty Images(TOLEDO, Ohio) -- General Motors announced Tuesday a $2 billion expansion of its domestic auto making operations that will result in the creation or retention of 4,000 jobs spread across 17 facilities in eight states.

GM Chairman and CEO Dan Akerson revealed the plans at a transmission plant in Toledo, Ohio. He was not specific about where the new jobs would be added, but local union officials say the Toledo site would add 250-400 workers.

Most of the 4,000 jobs -- as many as 3,000 -- will be new hires while the rest will be the preservation of workers who faced layoffs, a company spokesman said. "We are doing this because we are confident about demand for our vehicles and the economy," Akerson said in a statement. "This new investment is on top of $3.4 billion and more than 9,000 jobs that GM has added or saved since mid-2009."

The announcement was another positive marker on GM's road to recovery since emerging from bankruptcy almost two years ago. Its April sales figures were up 26 percent from last year's and GM's first quarter earnings tripled those from 2010.

The announcement not only shows off GM's resurgent production of cars but its production of jobs, perhaps a far more meaningful barometer to taxpayers who helped rescue the company with a $49.5 billion bailout. While in bankruptcy, the company closed a dozen factories.  

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
May102011

Report: Microsoft on Verge of Buying Skype

Mario Tama/Getty ImagesUPDATE: Microsoft has agreed to purchase Skype for $8.5 billion, The Wall Street Journal reports.

(NEW YORK) -- Microsoft is on the verge of making its biggest acquisition ever, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The software giant is reportedly close to sealing a deal to buy Skype, the Internet telephone service that boasts more than 660 million users worldwide, for $7 billion to $8 billion.  When everything's accounted for, the takeover is estimated to be valued at $8.5 billion.

Both companies have declined to comment on the possible acquisition, but the Journal, citing people familiar with the matter, says Microsoft could announce the deal as early as Tuesday.

If it happens, the acquisition could help Microsoft become a bigger force in the smartphone market.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
May102011

More Laid Off Workers Finding Employment, Survey Says

Creatas Images/Thinkstock(CHICAGO) -- In yet another sign that the U.S. jobs market is improving, more laid off workers are finding new positions, according to a new survey released on Tuesday.

After surveying over 900 full-time workers who were laid off in the past year, CareerBuilder.com found that 59 percent of them -- three in five workers -- were able to find new positions.  The latest figure is an improvement from 2010, when 55 percent of laid off workers were able to find a new job.

The employment firm said opportunities are opening up in all industries and that more people are finding work at the same pay as their old jobs.

But despite recent improvements, long-term unemployment is still very high, and the jobless rate is way above normal levels.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
May102011

$100M Fortune Distributed, 92 Years After Man's Death

Comstock/Thinkstock(SAGINAW, Mich.) -- The descendants of Wellington R. Burt, who became fabulously wealthy in the age of the robber barons, will finally inherit his fortune -- 92 years after his death.

Burt, who died in 1919 at age 87 in Saginaw, Mich., made his wealth in the lumber and iron industries. For reasons not described in his will, he stipulated that the majority of his fortune would be distributed 21 years after his last surviving grandchild's death.

That granddaughter died in 1989. Now 12 descendants will split the fortune, estimated at $100 million to $110 million.

Danielle Mayoras, attorney and co-author of the book, Trial & Heirs: Famous Fortune Fights!, said she suspects the reason Burt chose 21 as the year stipulation was because the common law's Rule of Perpetuities. That rule forbids leaving money to anyone 21 years after the death of the last identifiable individual living at the time the will or trust was created.

Christina Alexander Cameron, the great-great-great-granddaughter of Burt, is one of the 12 heirs who agreed among themselves how to split the funds. She and her sister, Cory, will each inherit about $2.6 to $2.9 million.

Press accounts imply that Wellington Burt experienced familial conflicts, which led to the unusual will. Burt had left his children $1,000 to $5,000 annually, relatively small amounts, except for a "favorite son" who he gave $30,000 annually, according to The Saginaw News. Burt, however, cancelled a $5,000 annuity to one of his daughters over a disagreement about her divorce, the newspaper reported. Through a trust he left his secretary $4,000 annually and a cook, housekeeper, coachman and chauffeur each received $1,000 annually.

Since his death, Burt's relatives tried to break the trust in court, claiming Burt was not of sound mind when he created his last testament, and engaged in other legal disputes.

But now a court order mandates that the trust must be distributed by May 21.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
May102011

Report: 7.5 Million Facebook Users Under Age 13

NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images(YONKERS, N.Y.) -- Millions of kids under the age of 13 may be lying their way on to Facebook.

In violation of the social network's requirement that members be at least 13 years old to open an account, about 7.5 million users in the U.S. are under the age of 13, and about five million are under the age of 10, Consumer Reports said in a report released Tuesday.  That's out of 20 million U.S. minors in total who actively used Facebook last year, Consumer Reports said.

The annual survey, which looks at the "State of the Net," asked more than 2,000 U.S. households with an Internet connection about their experiences with online security threats, social networks and identity theft.

Jeff Fox, technology editor for Consumer Reports, said the 7.5 million figure was extrapolated from the number of parents surveyed who knew that their underage children were Facebook members.  But even that number could be low, he said, because they can't estimate the number of kids who join the site without their parents' knowledge.

Reacting to the report, Facebook said it is not easy for an online company to enforce an age limit.

"Recent reports have highlighted just how difficult it is to implement age restrictions on the Internet and that there is no single solution to ensuring younger children don't circumvent a system or lie about their age," the social network said in a written statement.  "We appreciate the attention that these reports and other experts are giving this matter and believe this will provide an opportunity for parents, teachers, safety advocates and Internet services to focus on this area, with the ultimate goal of keeping young people of all ages safe online."

Facebook's privacy policy does caution kids under 13 years old against registering for an account.

"If we learn that we have collected personal information from a child under age 13, we will delete that information as quickly as possible," the company says.

To verify that each user is old enough open an account, Facebook asks members to enter their birth dates when they sign up.  But Fox called the safeguard "a pretty flimsy screening." 

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
May102011

Housing Market Being Affected by Falling Home Prices

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Home prices across the country have been falling for some time now, but have they reached a bottom?  Not quite yet.

Average home prices have been falling for at least four years, and the only people really benefitting from the price drops have been first time home buyers.

As economist Paul Dales explains, "Housing does pretty much look like the bargain of a lifetime.  It is incredibly undervalued when you compare the price of housing to disposable incomes."

But Dales says with tighter lending rules many people who want to buy a home don't qualify for a mortgage.  And for those with a mortgage, he says, "if your home is worth less than the existing mortgage then you're not going to be able to re-finance it."

As for the trend of falling prices, "we expect it will continue throughout this year," he says.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
May102011

Google, Apple Testifying Over Cellphone Tracking Claims

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Following reports that their phones are tracking users, Apple and Google will testify before a Senate committee on Tuesday to answer questions on smartphone privacy.

Both companies have told lawmakers that their phones are not spying on customers but rather keeping track of Wi-Fi hot spots and cellphone towers used in figuring locations.  They say the data collected is sent to the company in an anonymous and encrypted form so it cannot be used to track where you go.

In related news, The Detroit News reports that two Michigan women have filed a $50 million lawsuit against Google, demanding the company stop selling phones that can track your location.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
May102011

General Motors to Announce Hiring Blitz

Bill Pugliano/Getty Images(DETROIT) -- General Motors is launching a hiring blitz and updating plants in eight states. Jobs will include up to 2,000 new hires at the Chevy Volt Plant in Detroit-Hamtramck, and hiring could start in late summer and extend at least through 2012.

The automaker is expected to announce plans to create or retain more than 4,000 jobs at 17 facilities over the next two years.

The announcement will be made Tuesday at the Toledo, Ohio transmission plant, where GM will unveil plans for an eight-speed fuel-efficient automatic transmission.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio