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Thursday
Feb102011

Germans in Talks to Acquire New York Stock Exchange

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- One of the crown jewels of U.S. capitalism may soon fall into foreign hands.

The New York Stock Exchange is in negotiations to be acquired by German stock exchange Deutsche Borse AG.

While both companies suggest it is a merger of equals, Deutsche Borse shareholders would control about 60 percent of the combined company.

News of the planned merger comes after years of consolidation among stock markets around the world, but the thought of the storied Wall Street exchange falling under German control might rankle some people, including members of Congress.

The Wall Street Journal reports Thursday that the acquisition is symbolic of New York's "fading dominance" as a global financial center.  The NYSE traces its history on Wall Street to 1792. 

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Feb102011

Bank of America Announces Program to Help Military Homeowners 

Photo Courtesy - Bank of America Logo/PRNews Foto(NEW YORK) -- Bank of America announced Thursday on Good Morning America it will help members of the military who have trouble meeting their mortgage payments by creating a new program to assist those active duty soldiers.

“What we’re going to do is set up a program of our own that allows us to reduce their principal if they get in trouble, extend their payments, bring their rates down,” Larry DiRita, a spokesman for Bank of America, said.

“Our goal is, look, if you are a military person, you are deployed, you don’t need to be worrying about your house. If you do find yourself in a distressed situation let us know and we will start working with you right away,” he said.

ABC News received an email last month from Sgt. Keith Oliver, a soldier currently deployed in Iraq. He wrote that after Bank of America had reduced his payments for two years the bank suddenly came back and said he owed about $19,000 or else he would face foreclosure.

He kept calling the bank to explain he was deployed but Oliver said he bounced from one department to another until finally he contacted us to ask for help.

When ABC News called Bank of America, it quickly realized the error and fixed the situation with Oliver.

“I guess when ABC News called them they said, ‘Okay, well this person is pretty serious,” Oliver said.

DiRita says the situation is serious and wants to help other soldiers in similar circumstances.

“Our goal is, look, you are overseas defending the homeland we are going to take care of your home,” DiRita said.

“It is very important that people tell us up front ‘I’m in the military, I need some help.’ We’ll put you into this new unit and we’ll go from there,” he explained.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Feb102011

Foreclosure Activity on the Decline?? Not So Fast

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(IRVINE, Calif.) -- New numbers out Thursday from the firm RealtyTrac show foreclosure activity dropped 17 percent in January compared to a year ago. 

About 261,000 properties across the U.S. received foreclosure notices in January, up one percent from December but down sharply from January, 2010.  RealtyTrac, which monitors such activity, reports Nevada had the most foreclosures of any state for the 49th month in a row. RealtyTrac says Nevada and other states with high numbers face a couple of challenges, so by definition they're going to have higher numbers.  They had a lot of underlying conditions including over-priced homes and risky lending practices.

RealtyTrac says overall, foreclosure rates have only dropped because banks are bogged down with legal paperwork, and that numbers will likely go back up.  

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Feb102011

Unemployment Claims Drop for Second Straight Week to 383,000

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The number of people filing for unemployment benefits continued to drop for a second straight week, according to the Labor Department's latest report released Thursday.

For the week ending Feb. 5, the department said jobless claims dropped by 36,000 to 383,000.  The previous week, claims stood at 419,000.

The four-week average also went down, decreasing by 16,000 to 415,500 from the previous week's average of 431,500.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Feb102011

Report: Twitter Worth Close to $10 Billion

Photo Courtesy - Nicholas Kamm/AFP/ Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Twitter, the online messaging network, estimates its revenue will reach a reported $100 million this year, but its value is estimated to be 100 times that amount, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Citing people familiar with the matter, the Journal reported Thursday Twitter is believed to be worth between $8 billion and $10 billion.

Meanwhile, the messaging service, which had a revenue of $45 million in 2010, estimates its revenue will more than double this year to $100 million to $110 million.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Feb102011

Food Prices on the Rise

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Consumers may soon pay more for many products, as prices of corn, soybeans, wheat and other basic foods are soaring due to a shortage.

When the price of corn goes up, meat may cost more becaue corn is used to feed cattle hogs and chickens. 

Cereal makers are being squeezed as well, as more price hikes for breakfast cereal and many other popular foods are almost certain.

A severe drought in China could also push basic food prices even higher. 

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Feb102011

Report: Apple Starts Production on New iPad

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Apple has begun manufacturing a new version of the iPad that will be sleeker and faster than its predecessor, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The Journal, citing sources, reports the second generation tablet will be thinner and lighter than the first model, and will feature a camera on the front of the device for video-conferencing.  The new iPad will also have a faster processor and more memory.

The tablet is expected to debut in the next couple of months, and will initially only be available through Verizon and AT&T in the U.S.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Feb102011

US Airways Unloads Increased Fees on Heavy Luggage

Photo Courtesy - USAir [dot] com(TEMPE, Ariz.) -- Here's a little reminder for anyone planning to fly US Airways in the near future: travel light.

The carrier announced a series of price hikes for passengers who insist on taking everything with them but the kitchen sink.

These new prices, which apply to flights purchased now for travel on or after March 1, mean bags weighing between 50 and 70 pounds will cost $90, up from $50.  Previously, people hauling bags weighing more than 70 pounds were charged $100.  But, effective immediately, the fee is now $175.

US Airways said that checked bags fees will remain at $25 and $35 for the first and second bags respectively.  However, the price of all bags checked after that jumps from $100 to $125 each.

So far, no other airlines has announced similar price hikes for overweight and oversized luggage sizes.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Feb102011

IRS Establishes Initiative for Taxpayers Hiding Assets Offshore

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The Internal Revenue Service announced a new voluntary disclosure initiative intended to "bring offshore money back into the U.S. tax system" allowing people with undisclosed income hidden overseas to "get current with their taxes," the agency said in a statement Tuesday.

According to the limited-time offer, Americans who have been hiding money in offshore accounts have until August to fess up and avoid jail time.  The initiative would require those who come forward to pay back taxes, interest and reduced penalties. 

IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman said the risk to individuals hiding assets offshore is increasing due to new laws forcing foreign banks to hand over information on American depositors.

Taxpayers have until the Aug. 31 deadline to file "all original and amended tax returns," the agency stated.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Feb092011

Facebook Opens Office in Hong Kong, Second in Asia

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(HONG KONG) - Social networking giant Facebook is set to expand its global operations with an office in Hong Kong, reports the BBC.

The office will be its second in Asia after one was opened in Singapore last year. The site, however, continues to be banned from operating in China where the company would have access to an additional 450 million Internet users.

Facebook currently has 500 million users worldwide.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio