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Friday
Oct132017

US stocks close slightly higher, Nasdaq hits new record

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The Nasdaq Composite reached a new record on Friday as U.S. stocks closed slightly higher.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 30.71 (+0.13 percent) to finish at 22,871.72.

The Nasdaq gained 14.29 (+0.22 percent) to close at 6,605.80, while the S&P 500 finished at 2,553.17, up 2.24 (+0.09 percent) from its open.

Crude oil was about 1.46 percent higher with prices at $51 per barrel.

Winners and Losers:  After President Donald Trump announced the government would end subsidies to insurers under the Affordable Care Act, health care stocks took a hit including Tenet Healthcare (down 5.10 percent).

Hostess Brands Inc sunk 11.09 percent on news that the Twinkee-maker's chief executive officer would retire.

Sears Holdings Corp. soared 9.19 percent on Friday. Sears Canada was granted court approval to liquidate its remaining stores, leaving 12,000 jobless.

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Friday
Oct132017

Flight 666 to 'HEL' on Friday the 13th to end

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Friday the 13th may spark dread for the superstitious. And for many people, the number 666 is associated with the devil based on the book of Revelation in the Bible.

But for 11 years some airline passengers have flown in the face of any such fearful associations -- taking Finnair’s flight AY 666 from Copenhagen to Helsinki, which has the airport abbreviation “HEL” -- on Friday the 13th.

The airline tweeted on Friday that the flight landed safely in HEL.

Finnair also announced that Friday would be the last time a flight of that number would fly on Friday the 13th. Asked why by a customer on Twitter, the company said it was retiring the "666" flight number because the airline is growing and adding more numbers. Finnair also noted that it still has a flight from SIN (the code for Singapore's airport) to HEL.

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Friday
Oct132017

'Stranger Things' costume draws online backlash

ABCNews.com(NEW YORK) -- The Netflix hit show "Stranger Things" is sure to provide some costume inspiration this Halloween, but some online retailers are raising eyebrows with a "sexy" take on one of the series' central child characters.

The "Upside Down Honey" costume is based on Millie Bobby Brown’s onscreen character, Eleven, but is intended only for adults.

It features a short light-pink baby-doll dress with a ruffled bust, thigh-high white socks, a bomber jacket and accessories.

Although there do not appear to be child-sized versions of the costume, some critics on social media claim the design sexualizes a child star. Brown was 12 at the time of filiming "Stranger Things" and is now 13.

One retailer selling the costume, Yandy Lingerie and Costume Company, told ABC News in a statement, "We don't take ourselves too seriously and neither do our customers."

"The Yandy girl strives to be the talk of the Halloween party," the company statement said. "And we've found these topical, pop culture inspired costumes with a fashion-forward twist are always a fan favorite year after year."

Physically-revealing costumes for adults based on fictional or real-life characters are not new. There are also costumes modeled on the "Harry Potter" character Hermione Granger, the clown monster Pennywise, and first lady Melania Trump.

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Thursday
Oct122017

Taco Bell launches limited edition clothing line with Forever 21

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- In a rare kind of collaboration, a fast food chain now has a complete fashion line.

The "hot" new clothing collaboration between Taco Bell and Forever 21 has fans of the two chains drooling.

The "fast-fashion" clothing retailer and fast-food brand introduced the new limited-edition collection inspired by iconic graphics of the taco chain.

Super fans and influencers flaunted the fun food clothing line -- "Forever Taco Bell" -- on the catwalk at a runway show and launch event in Los Angeles on Wednesday.

The clothing items feature bold and playful prints ranging from Taco Bell's pink-and-purple bell logo to their variety of hot sauce packets.

The line was designed for men, women and kids and will be available online and in around the world in physical stores.

A pop-up shop at the launch of the Forever 21 Taco Bell line sold was pieces ahead of their in-store availability -- and tacos, of course.

Customers are sharing their looks on social media with the hashtag #F21xTacoBell.

Taco Bell has already been selling clothing at the retail shop of its flagship Las Vegas cantina and through a 2014 collection of taco-themed socks with brand The Hundreds.


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Thursday
Oct122017

Financial psychologist Dr. Brad Klontz discusses emotions and savings ahead of National Savings Day

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- October 12 marks National Savings Day, founded by Capital One with the hopes of helping people save their money and learn new strategies for doing so. It was announced at the beginning of 2017 by The Registrar at National Day Calendar and can be observed annually. 

Ahead of National Savings Day, Capital One psychologist Dr. Brad Klontz, who is also a financial psychologist for Creighton University, spoke with ABC News about the emotions tied to savings and a new study uncovering an effective way people can save.

He tells ABC News that, after conducting interviews with Americans in major cities, he found positive memories tied to sentimental items could be harnessed to improve financial decision-making more effectively than a "standard lecture on the importance of savings."

He says participants were divided into two groups. One group was presented a standard lecture on saving money, and the other was required to bring "a sentimental item from their past," such as a teddy bear or necklace from their grandmother, to their meeting.

He then asked those with the sentimental item to think about why it was valuable to them, uncovering the reasons why a person would save a specific item. The group proceeded to turn the conversation towards money and why they would save their money in the same way they were preserving a sentimental item. Each person in the group discussed specific saving goals.

For instance, a person would not just save money for a “vacation,” but a trip to a narrower, more meaningful destination, such as a place where their ancestors were born.

The results of the study showed people in the sentimental item group were saving three times more per month over the course of three weeks than those who took a standard lecture.

The study found by incorporating personal nostalgia and savings experiences into financial planning, it presents a strong opportunity to harness emotions in order to facilitate better and healthier financial decision-making.

Full results of his study can be found here.

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Thursday
Oct122017

Online shopping hasn't killed brick-and-mortar retailers

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images via ABCNews.com(NEW YORK) -- Reports of the death of bricks-and-mortar retailers, as Mark Twain famously said, are greatly exaggerated.

Some people are doubling down on this pronouncement after some big chains, including Macy's, said they were hiring fewer seasonal workers. But those who read closer will see that other retailers are doing just the opposite. Target, for example, plans to increase total holiday hiring by 43 percent -- its first increase in five years.

Target is emblematic of the reality that gets lost in the eagerness of the mass media to declare the death of shopping malls: Though some retailers are withering, many retail chains are actually quite healthy.

The notion that bricks-and-mortar stores are moribund is fed by these three myths:

All major retailers are suffering. Online sales are growing for all retailers, but nearly 85 percent of retail sales still take place in stores. And major retailers, including Nordstrom, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Burlington Stores, T.J. Maxx and Target, are undertaking significant expansions this year.

Lines between traditional and online retailing are blurring. The two actually work in tandem. Nordstrom is opening smaller stores with limited inventory to support its growing online operation. (You’ve probably been told in a clothing store that you can get the color you want online.) Shoppers can now go into Target to buy Casper mattresses, formerly sold only online. According to marketing expert Allan Haims, shoppers have come to view online and in-store retailing through “a single lens.”

Millennials shun traditional shopping, and seldom visit retail stores. Actually, they’re leaving home to shop in droves, visiting multiple locations in one outing to find what they want -- an important vital sign for the future health of bricks and mortar.

"The retail industry has been operating on the outdated assumption that boomers are shopping for deals primarily in-store and millennials are searching for deals mostly online," says Greg Petro, an online analyst with First Insight. "But the behavior of these two generations is evolving.”

Instead of fixating on the next sexy online enterprise, investors will likely see new allure in retail chains based on something that’s been forgotten amid the digital fever: capital. Big chains have better resources than purely online enterprises to pay for warehouse space, giving them a leg up. And retailers that execute online sales adroitly and burnish their brands in cyberspace stand to do well against purely digital disrupters. Meanwhile, as physical stores become viewed as essential to compete, purely online enterprises will face new capital and management challenges that are old hat to bricks-and-mortar chains.

No, real stores aren’t dying—they’re just changing. They’re taking a page from online retailers’ book, and vice-versa.

Dave Sheaff Gilreath is a founding principal of Sheaff Brock Investment Advisors LLC. He has more than 30 years of experience in the financial services industry. Neither he nor members of his family own shares of retail stocks. Any opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author.
 
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Wednesday
Oct112017

Starbucks executive chairman Howard Schultz: Cutting the corporate tax rate would be 'a mistake' without complete reform

Stephen Brashear/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Starbucks' executive chairman, Howard Schultz, said lowering the U.S. corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 20 percent would “a mistake” without overhauling the entire tax system.

“You can’t have a corporate tax cut without having a transformation in complete tax reform. And if there’s going to be a corporate tax cut that is going to add to the national debt ... then I think it’s a mistake,” he told ABC News' Rebecca Jarvis.

Starbucks paid an effective tax rate of 34.3 percent in the company's fiscal third quarter.

In addition to cutting corporate tax rates, President Trump's proposed tax plan would reduce the number of personal income tax brackets from seven to three and nearly double the standard deduction for individuals and married couples. In an effort to promote his tax overhaul, Trump will give a speech today in Pennsylvania to an audience consisting mostly of truckers, whom the president said the proposed changes would benefit.
If the proposed corporate tax cuts take effect, Schultz said, employees should be the ones to benefit.

“I would hope that [businesses] would use it in ways that would advance their employees, to work what we need to do at our communities and building a better society,” he noted.

He said this is what Starbucks would do.

He also argued that corporate profits as a result of tax cuts will not “advance the economic issues of inequality in America” and cautioned that “the current level of enthusiasm and optimism that exists in the stock market today, in my view, is not a proxy for the U.S. economy.”

Schultz, who was the first in his family to graduate college, stepped down as Starbucks' CEO earlier this year, with many speculating that he would pursue a career in politics.

“I think about politics, but I have no intention of running for public office. I think about politics because I’m concerned about the need that we have for true, authentic leadership in the country,” Schultz told Jarvis.

He continued, “I feel like I’m in the best possible position right now to do the things I’m doing.”

Right now he's focused on content. His latest project is “Upstanders,” a Starbucks original series that features “ordinary people doing extraordinary things,” he explained. Schultz produced and wrote the series with Rajiv Chandrasekaran, a senior vice president of Starbucks and a former Washington Post senior editor.

Season 2 features 11 stories of people displaying acts of “courage and humanity.” Schultz believes viewers are drawn to the compassion and authenticity of the people featured in the series.

“There’s no Starbucks advertising. There’s no Starbucks placement. It’s not about marketing. It’s not about selling more coffee. It's really about just telling the American story,” Schultz said.

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Wednesday
Oct112017

Harvey Weinstein scandal illustrates why some women remain silent after workplace harassment

ABC News (NEW YORK) -- The mounting sexual misconduct allegations against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein have raised questions about why at least 17 women who are speaking out now remained silent for so many years.

Actresses including Angelina Jolie, Ashley Judd, Rosanna Arquette, Mira Sorvino and Gwyneth Paltrow have recently come forward, sharing their own personal accounts of the alleged harassment they said they faced while working with Weinstein.

The accusations of sexual harassment, unwanted touching and even alleged rape made against Weinstein by actresses, writers, assistants and more date back decades, which he has vehemently denied.

"These allegations are so extreme and they’ve been circulating for decades in Hollywood," Marisa Guthrie, TV editor for the Hollywood Reporter, said on "Good Morning America” today. "So I think this is a wake-up call and there are other shoes to drop here."

When asked whether she believes the revelations will help to end the infamous Hollywood "casting couch," the term for demanding sexual favors in exchange for career advancement, Guthrie replied, "I hope so. I think everybody hopes so."

Weinstein, through a spokeswoman, has denied claims of any nonconsensual sexual relations. His wife, fashion designer Georgina Chapman, announced Tuesday she is leaving Weinstein after 10 years of marriage.

'Not an easy thing to do' Ashley Cullins, a staff writer for the Hollywood Reporter who has covered the Weinstein scandal, told ABC News that his outsized power in the movie industry likely affected how long women stayed silent about his alleged misconduct.

"When you're just starting out in this industry, you know there are hundreds, if not thousands, of people who want your job," Cullins said. "Coming forward about sexual harassment and sexual assault is not an easy thing to do, especially if your entire career is on the line."

Sexual harassment in the workplace, however, is an issue that extends far beyond Hollywood.

ABC News' chief business correspondent Rebecca Jarvis, citing 2016 data from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), said sexual harassment allegations are not discussed as much as 94 percent of the time.

"They don’t file a complaint and part of the issue is the imbalance of power and the fear that many women face, and men who are in the situation, in that imbalance of power," Jarvis said on "GMA."

"We’ve heard of EEOC research that 75 percent of the time those who do complain face retaliation."

While the Weinstein scandal has thrust the issue into the national spotlight, an ABC News interview late last year with 10 women from 10 different industries found that sexual harassment knows no occupational boundaries.

When asked how many of the participants had been sexually harassed over the course of their career, all 10 women raised their hands.

Of the 10 women who said they were sexually harassed, only two said they ever filed a human resources complaint against their harasser.

Dr. Janet Taylor, a New York City-based psychiatrist, said women may not feel comfortable going to the human resources department because often the harassers are in a position of power and the women may feel they could lose their jobs.

Typically, the women are younger, they may be in a socioeconomic status that means they're very dependent upon their job," she said. "And the perpetrators know this and in fact prey on them and count on their silence."

Amanda, a participant who wished to only go by her first name, told ABC News that speaking out about sexual harassment "always feels like an uncomfortable choice."

"I really have to think about my values and what’s important to me and weigh them against my career,"she added.

'Strength in numbers'

ABC News chief legal analyst Dan Abrams noted that one issue with women's silence on sexual assault or harassment violations is they often run up against statute of limitations and their alleged harasser can avoid charges.

"The statute of limitations is a real problem in cases like this. Why? Because women are afraid to come forward. They don’t want to come forward," he said. "They don’t know what the impact will be on their lives, et cetera, which is why you see more and more states trying to change the statute of limitations."

Weinstein, 65, was investigated by the New York Police Department in 2015. The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office decided not to file charges after a two-week investigation and Weinstein was never prosecuted.

The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office told ABC News in statement Tuesday, "If we could have prosecuted Harvey Weinstein for the conduct that occurred in 2015, we would have. Mr. Weinstein’s pattern of mistreating women, as recounted in recent reports, is disgraceful and shocks the conscience."

It continued, "While the recording is horrifying to listen to, what emerged from the audio was insufficient to prove a crime under New York law, which requires prosecutors to establish criminal intent.

Subsequent investigative steps undertaken in order to establish intent were not successful. This, coupled with other proof issues, meant that there was no choice but to conclude the investigation without criminal charges."

At least one Weinstein accuser, Louisette Geiss, has hired discrimination attorney Gloria Allred, who is asking Weinstein to agree to arbitration.

"We could agree on a retired judge and let’s let the alleged victims come in, present their evidence against Mr. Weinstein," she said on "GMA." "Mr. Weinstein can present his defenses. If the judge finds in favor of the alleged victims, the judge can order damages, according to proof at trial."

Jarvis said she believes the fallout from the Weinstein scandal could have a real impact on how sexual harassment violations are treated in workplaces across all industries.

"I think there is strength in numbers and I think the outcome here is really going to ultimately dictate how other women perceive this," she said. "If Harvey Weinstein, for example, goes back to his career, if there are not ultimately issues and the women who are coming out face issues and retaliation in their careers, there are going to be women who are fearful to do the same."

She continued, "If the opposite happens, if justice is served, if the women who have come forward go on to flourish in their careers and this isn’t an issue or a stain on their reputation, then you’re going to see more women feel comfortable."

Guthrie echoed that the more women speak out, the greater the impact.

"It can’t be the girls, the sisterhood against the old boys club," he said. "It has to be everybody speaking out about this and raising their hand and saying, ‘I saw this and we can’t tolerate this.’"

She said of Weinstein, "That’s part of the reason … he could keep doing this for so long because everybody kept quiet about it and people who knew about it kept quiet about it. I think we’re going to hear from more people coming forward or being outed as having known."

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Wednesday
Oct112017

Facebook's Sheryl Sandberg to meet with Russia investigators on Capitol Hill

Antoine Antoniol/Getty Images for Cannes Lions(WASHINGTON) -- Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook's chief operating officer, is scheduled to meet with top lawmakers investigating Russian efforts to influence the 2016 presidential election at the Capitol on Wednesday, ABC News has learned.

The meeting with Reps. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., and Mike Conaway, R-Texas, comes as congressional investigators review thousands of Facebook ads linked to Russia that sought to sow division among U.S. voters ahead of the election.

Facebook turned over the ads and related data to congressional investigators and the special counsel's office. The social media giant, along with Twitter and Alphabet (Google), has been invited to testify before the House and Senate intelligence committees about Russian efforts to impact the election using social media on Nov. 1.

Sandberg is also slated to meet this week with members of the Congressional Black Caucus regarding race-related Facebook ads that were linked to Russia, according to a committee aide.

Those ads, which were also turned over to congressional investigators, were aimed at inflaming racial tensions, according to a source who has reviewed the advertisements.

A representative for Facebook declined a request for comment.

An aide to Conaway did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment.

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Wednesday
Oct112017

Couple finds hidden camera in their Florida Airbnb

ABC News(LONGBOAT KEY, Fla.) -- A couple said they are "distressed" after discovering a hidden camera, directly pointed at their bed, in a room they rented from the popular site Airbnb.

"My wife and I are distressed by this situation. I hope more victims will come forward,” Derek Starnes told ABC News affiliate WFTS-TV of Tampa Bay, Florida, after he said he found a camera hidden in the smoke detector of the room he rented through Airbnb in Longboat Key, Florida.

Starnes said he was only able to notice the obscured pinhole camera because he works in the information-technology sector.

Wayne Natt, 56, who posted the room on Airbnb, was arrested for video voyeurism and is currently out on bond. His arraignment is scheduled for next month. Neither Natt nor his attorney immediately responded to ABC News' request for comment on Wednesday.

Airbnb told ABC News that Natt had an account on their website for two years, and had at least 40 reviews. The company said they have permanently banned him from the site.

"We are outraged at the reports of what happened; as soon as we were made aware, we permanently banned this individual from our community and fully supported the affected guests," Benjamin Breit, a spokesperson for Airbnb, told ABC News in a statement.

"Our team has reached out to local law enforcement to aid them with their investigation of this egregious offense, and we hope justice is served. We take privacy issues extremely seriously and have a zero-tolerance policy against this behavior," Breit added.

Local authorities said they found two cameras hidden in smoke detectors at the property.

Lieutenant Bob Bourque of the Longboat Key Police Department told WFTS-TV that they seized "a lot of computer storage data devices, hard drives, computers, laptops, S.D. cards, anything that would store data" from Natt's home.

While Starnes said he was able to spot the pinhole camera because of his background in IT, to the untrained eye, experts recommend using the camera light on your phone to spot the reflections on a lens if you are looking for hidden cameras. There are also certain apps that claim they can detect hidden cameras. In addition, if you are extremely concerned about your privacy, you can also purchase an RF detector, which checks for wireless signals and may be able to detect hidden cameras.

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