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Friday
Dec102010

Sign of the Times: Standard & Poor's Adds Netflix to S&P 500

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The online movie rental and streaming service Netflix is being added to the S&P 500, Standard & Poor’s announced Friday, while The New York Times Company will be dropped to the S&P 400.

It’s just the latest example of how the digital age is proving unkind to the newspaper business. Print media is losing readers, advertisers and money as people turn to the Internet and rapidly advancing technology. Newspapers have struggled since the emergence of digital media and venerable publications like The New York Times are losing their dominance.

The change is set to take affect Dec. 17 after the close of trade.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Friday
Dec102010

Claims for Unemployment Benefits Drop by 17,000

Photo Courtesy - Spencer Platt/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Despite lawmakers paralyzed by partisan politics in Washington, the tattered economy seems to be mending on its own.

The latest signal of better health arrived Thursday from the Labor Department, which said that jobless claims fell to 421,000 last week.

That figure represents a drop of 17,000 from the week before but is still 11,000 more than the 410,000 claims for unemployment benefits during the week of Thanksgiving, which was the lowest number in two years.

Unemployment now stands at 9.8 percent overall, although it might drop in December because of all the seasonal hirings.

Adding to the optimism Thursday was a report of 801 chief financial officers, compiled by Bank of America, that says 47 percent expected their companies to bring on new help in 2011.  At this time last year, only 28 percent said the same for the upcoming year.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Friday
Dec102010

Home Values Dropped by $1.7 Trillion in 2010

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(SEATTLE) -- What millions of Americans consider their most valuable asset depreciated again in 2010.

Zillow.com, an online real-estate marketplace, reported Thursday that the value of homes across the nation fell by another $1.7 trillion this year, a 63 percent increase from the $1 trillion loss in 2009.

Stan Humphries, Zillow’s chief economist, said, “Despite a strong start to 2010, by the end of the year, homes lost more of their value in 2010 than they did in 2009.”

Humphries offered that first-time home buyer credit from the government spurred sales through the first half of this year but once these incentives expired, the housing market took a major hit.

This also means that a record 23.2 percent of single-family home owners owe more on their mortgage than their house is worth.

Since the end of the housing boom in 2006, Zillow estimates that about $9 trillion in value has been lost.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Dec092010

Consumer Spending Up Slightly in November

Photo Courtesy -- Getty Images(PRINCETON, NJ) – Daily consumer spending was up for the month of November, although it remains the same as a year ago.

A new Gallup poll based on self-reported daily spending shows that Americans spent an average of $66 per day in November, up slightly from $63 a day in October.

According to Gallup, spending over the last half of this year has run slightly under 2009 figures and now represents what they consider a “new normal.”

Lower- and middle-income families reportedly spent $56 per day in November, while upper-income Americans spent an average of $120 per day.

Copyright 210 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Dec092010

Morgan Stanley Execs Told to Expect Bonus Cuts in 2011

Photo Courtesy -- Getty Images(NEW YORK) – Morgan Stanley has put their executives on notice to budget for fewer bonuses as the securities firm deals with a makeover in a turbulent market.

According to The Wall Street Journal, executives were told they would receive 10 to 20 percent less in bonuses next year, although those values may change over the next several weeks if revenue surges in the final weeks of 2010.

Executives won’t be given the final word on their bonuses until January.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Dec092010

Facebook Founder Zuckerberg to Donate Most of Wealth to Charity

Photo Courtesy - Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images(SEATTLE) -- Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, who became a billionaire with his popular social networking website, is the latest entrepreneur to add his name to “Giving Pledge,” a charity started by fellow business moguls Bill Gates and Warren Buffet.

“Giving Pledge” encourages the rich to donate most of their wealth to charitable causes.  More than 50 people so far have agreed to do just that, with Zuckerberg among the latest promising to shed a majority of his fortune, estimated currently at $6.9 billion.

The 26-year-old, undoubtedly the youngest of the donors, is one of 16 billionaires that have just signed on, along with AOL co-founder Steve Case and investor Carl Icahn.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Dec092010

Electronic Payments on the Rise

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- At least 75 percent of all non-cash payments in the United States are now made electronically, says a new report by the Federal Reserve.

With the exception of credit cards, all types of electronic payments increased from 2006-2009, according to the nation’s central banks.

Meanwhile, the paper check -- once the gold standard of non-cash payments -- has slid to under 25 percent of transactions.  The Fed also reports that debit cards have now replaced credit cards as the most-used non-cash instrument.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Dec082010

Disney, ABC Reach $200-Million Deal with Netflix

Photo Courtesy -- Netflix(LOS GATOS, Calif.) – ABC has reached a $200-million streaming deal with Netflix, reports the Los Angeles Times.

ABC, which is owned by the Walt Disney Co., has reached an agreement that allows Netflix to stream ABC and Disney content over the Internet around two weeks after their original network broadcast.

In the agreement, Netflix paid $50,000 to $150,000 per episode to stream the television shows, adding to their rivalry with competitor Hulu, which is partially owned by Disney.

Netflix charges customers a monthly fee, starting at $7.99, for unlimited access to movies and TV shows on the Web.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Dec082010

Holiday Travel Up, 43.6 Million Will Fly Domestically

Photo Courtesy -- Getty Images(WASHINGTON) – The Air Transportation Authority has predicted a three-percent increase in air travel over the holiday season compared to last year.

The ATA expects 43.6 million passengers to travel on domestic carriers from December 16 to January 5.

According to the ATA, the busiest days for travel will fall on Dec. 21-23, Dec. 26-30 and Jan. 2-3, with 1.7 million to 2.3 million passengers flying per day.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Dec082010

Lowest Wage Earners Could Come Out ‘Behind’ In Tax Compromise

Photo Courtesy -- ABC News(WASHINGTON) – The Director of the National Economic Council has acknowledged in an interview with ABC News that the new tax cut compromise, if passed, could leave some low wage earners ‘behind.”

Despite attempts by Director Larry Summers to dust over the issue, he told ABC’s Jake Tapper that if some low-income earners “don't benefit from the unemployment insurance, if they don't benefit from the economic growth, if they don't benefit from the EITC or the child care or the American Opportunity Credit -- might be $80 behind.”

As The New York Times first reported, low wage earners who currently receive tax credits through the Making Work Pay tax credit may get a sour deal in the new compromise which replaces that tax credit with a tax reduction of two percent. For some however, the Making Work Pay credit is larger than two percent of their income – which means that some low income earners would pay more in 2011 than in 2010.
 
Summers argued that the deal would be better for low wage earners than the House deal that failed in the Senate or than if everything expires and nothing passes.
 
After being asked by Tapper, however, about how those on the lowest end of the spectrum would fair, Summers acknowledged that those who would get $400 in tax credits this year would get only $320 under the new compromise.

Copyright 2010 ABC New Radio







ABC News Radio