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Nov 29

Here’s What’s Happening in Business and Financial News…

Cleared for Takeoff…
On Wednesday, a federal bankruptcy judge approved the settlement of the U.S. government’s antitrust lawsuit against American Airlines (AA) and US Airways (LCC). The judge ruled that the settlement did not compromise American’s bankruptcy- reorganization plan, which had been given conditional approval back in September. The ruling clears the way for the two companies to complete their merger around December 9. The merger will create the world’s largest airline. [Continue reading...]

Nov 27

In Business and Financial News:

Different Buyer, Different Suit…
First, Jos A. Bank wanted to buy Men’s Wearhouse and was turned down flat. Now the tables have turned and Men’s Wearhouse (MW) has offered to buy Jos. A Bank (JOSB) for $1.5 billion or $55.00 a share. Men’s Wearhouse director Bill Sechrest said in a statement that the acquisition has strategic logic and would benefit its shareholders, workers and customers.

Goodbye, Bro…
The New York Stock Exchange is losing another top executive: Larry Leibowitz. Larry is the guy known around Wall Street as the chief operating officer of stock exchange parent NYSE Euronext, and everywhere else as the brother of “Daily Show” host Jon Stewart. NYSE Euronext was bought this month by rival from Intercontinental Exchange Group Inc. Leibowitz, is one of several top executives leaving the company for green pastures after the merger is completed. He will leave the combined company at the end of the year. Hmmm Jon Stewart might have a new sidekick on his show????

In The Markets:

Asia:
Asian markets were mixed on Wednesday. Chinese markets (Hang Seng and Shanghai Composite) were higher on continued hopes of financial reforms, while the Nikkei (Japan) was down as investors took profits.

Europe:
European shares fell on Tuesday after data from the U.S. painted a mix picture of the economy.

US:
US markets closed higher on Tuesday despite lower than expected November consumer confidence number. DJIA: 16073.63 +1.09 NASDAQ: +23.18 4017.75 S&P 500: +0.40 1802.88

In Dinner or Drink:

Turkey Lasagna
Ingredients
• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• 1 cup chopped yellow onion (1 onion)
• 2 garlic cloves, minced
• 1 1/2 pounds sweet Italian turkey sausage, casings removed
• 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes in tomato puree
• 1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
• 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, divided
• 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
• 2 teaspoons kosher salt
• 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
• 1/2 pound lasagna noodles
• 15 ounces ricotta cheese
• 3 to 4 ounces creamy goat cheese, crumbled
• 1 cup grated Parmesan, plus 1/4 cup for sprinkling
• 1 extra-large egg, lightly beaten
• 1 pound fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced

Directions
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Heat the olive oil in a large (10 to 12-inch) skillet. Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes over medium-low heat, until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add the sausage and cook over medium-low heat, breaking it up with a fork, for 8 to 10 minutes, or until no longer pink. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, 2 tablespoons of the parsley, the basil, 1 1/2 teaspoons of the salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Simmer, uncovered, over medium-low heat, for 15 to 20 minutes, until thickened.
Meanwhile, fill a large bowl with the hottest tap water. Add the noodles and allow them to sit in the water for 20 minutes. Drain.
In a medium bowl, combine the ricotta, goat cheese, 1 cup of Parmesan, the egg, the remaining 2 tablespoons of parsley, remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Set aside.
Ladle 1/3 of the sauce into a 9 by 12 by 2-inch rectangular baking dish, spreading the sauce over the bottom of the dish. Then add the layers as follows: half the pasta, half the mozzarella, half the ricotta, and one 1/3 of the sauce. Add the rest of the pasta, mozzarella, ricotta, and finally, sauce. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup of Parmesan. Bake for 30 minutes, until the sauce is bubbling.

We are thankful and grateful for your support of Before24 the last six months.
From our family to yours we wish you a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Nov 26

In Business and Financial News:

Wave Your Hands…
Apple (AAPL) confirmed Monday that it has indeed purchased PrimeSense, the 3D sensing company behind Microsoft’s Kinect sensor, for approximately $330 million. The company, best known for powering the gesture control used by Microsoft Xbox 360 game console, is also used in 3D scanners, iRobot’s Av, and the Asus Xtion. The company’s technology could be used in any number of Apple’s actual and hypothetical products in development, including the long-rumored Apple television set or an Apple-made smart watch. We will have to wait to see what Apple has up its sleeve. [Continue reading...]

Nov 25

In Business and Financial News:

Book by Tweet…
Loews Hotels will let you make reservations for your next stay by tweet. You can now send a tweet to @Loews_Hotels and include the hastag #BookLoews. A reservation specialist will reply to your tweet with a link to a chat window, where you will lock in your reservation. After switching to a secure window you can finalize everything by inputting your credit card info. Loews Hotels, however, is not taking bookings via Twitter 24/7. The twitter function shuts down for the evening around 10 p.m. PT. So if you have a need to book after that hour, you will have to do it online by yourself or wait till morning. [Continue reading...]

Nov 22

In Business and Financial News:

We’re Finished…
On Thursday, the U.S. government announced that it expects to sell the last of its stake in auto giant General Motors (GM) by year end if the price remains in the same range. The Treasury Department said that it still owns 31.1 million shares of the company, less than 2%. During the financial crisis, the government received 912 million shares in exchange for a $49.5 billion bailout. The government already sold part of its stake, recovering $38.4 billion for taxpayers. GM, who emerged from bankruptcy in 2009, has been profitable for 15 straight quarters accumulating almost $20 billion in net income on strong new products. The company has also invested $ 8.8 billion in its U.S. facilities and has added about 3000 workers.

The Verdict’s In…
A jury has ordered Samsung Electronics to pay $290 million to Apple (AAPL) for copying vital iPhone and iPad features. The verdict, announced Thursday, found 13 older Samsung devices infringed on Apple patents. A previous jury awarded Apple $1.05 Billion but a U.S. District judge ordered a new trial and tossed the old verdict out after concluding the previous jury had miscalculated the amount Samsung owed. A third trial to consider Apple claims against the newest Samsung devices also infringed on Apple’s technology is scheduled for March.

Dumping…
Federal investigators are probing, Progress Rail, a subsidiary of Caterpillar Inc. (CAT) to determine if the company, as part of a possible scheme to bill railroad companies for unnecessary repairs, dumped train parts into the ocean near the Port of Long Beach, California.
The maker of heavy equipment disclosed in a securities filing three weeks ago it received a federal grand jury subpoena to provide documents and information on its Progress Rail unit, which repairs locomotives and railcars. A grand jury investigation is now being conducted by the U.S. Attorney for the Central District of California. They are examining whether Progress Rail dumped brake parts and other items as a way of concealing evidence the company was charging owners of rail equipment for replacing parts that were still in good shape. Railcar owners and the railroads hire Progress Rail to make repairs or replace worn brake shoes, wheels and other components.

In The Markets:

Asia:
Asian markets closed out the week flat as investors balanced the DJIA hitting 16,000 and continued mixed messages from the Fed regarding tapering.

Europe:
European stocks closed lower Thursday hurt by a combo of disappointing Chinese data and worries the Fed will soon start to scale back its asset purchases.

US:
US markets rallied on Thursday with the DJIA hitting 16K for the first time ever. Better earnings and talk from the Fed there is still room on their balance sheet for more asset purchases made investor jolly. DJIA: +109.11 16009.93 NASDAQ: =47.88 3969.15 S&P 500 +14.49 1795.86

In Dinner or Drink:

Champagne Fizz
1 1/2 oz. gin
1 oz. lemon juice
1 tsp. superfine sugar
3 Oz chilled Champagne

Pour the gin, lemon juice and sugar in a cocktail shaker half-filled with ice cubes, and shake well. Strain into a champagne flute, add champagne, and serve.

Have a safe and wonderful weekend, yall!

Nov 21

In Business and Financial News:

Paper Cut…
Tribune Co. (TRB) announced Wednesday that as part of the company’s initiative to bolster its digital operations it will cut nearly 700 jobs associated with its publishing business. The reduction, which did not involve front-line reporters, represents only 6% of the media company’s overall workforce and will be spread across the company’s newspapers such as the Chicago Tribune and Los Angeles Times. As part of the realignment the company will unify the non-editorial parts, like marketing, advertising, digital media and manufacturing, under the same leadership.
The restructuring announcement came only four months after the company said it would spin off publishing assets into a separate company, enabling more focus on the more profitable broadcast TV business. Tribune announced earlier this month that they turned a profit in the third-quarter. Shares of the company were down in Wednesday trading. [Continue reading...]

Nov 20

In Business and Financial News:

And We Are Done…
On Tuesday, JPMorgan Chase and the US Department of Justice finally shook hands and finalized a record $13 billion settlement of multiple investigations over toxic mortgage investments. The kind of toxic mortgage investments that helped spark the 2008 financial crisis. Under the deal, the bank agreed to pay $9 billion to settle federal and state civil claims by various entities related to the mortgage securities. It also includes a $2 billion non-tax-deductible fine to the Department of Justice. JPMorgan Chase will provide $4 billion in the form of relief to aid consumers harmed by improper mortgage actions of JPMorgan and the two subsidiaries, Bear Sterns and Washington Mutual.

The agreement included a statement of facts. In the statement the nation’s largest bank admitted that it knew that residential mortgage-backed securities that it marketed did not comply with underwriting guidelines and weren’t fit for sale. The bank has denied any wrong doing. The agreement ends civil mortgage-related probes that have recently dealt a financial black eye to the leading bank survivor of the financial crisis, and to its CEO, Jamie Dimon. [Continue reading...]

Nov 19

In Business and Financial News:

Let’s Fly Away…
The Dhabi airshow was the place to be this weekend for all things air travel. Boeing (BA) formally launched its 777x jetliners over the weekend with record orders, along with deals from several other models, valued at $100 billion – just one of several jet-buying commitments valued at over $150 billion for airplane makers such as Boeing and rival Airbus at the Dubai Airshow. The large value of these commitments highlights the growing ambition of Persian Gulf airlines. Announced on Sunday, the orders are part of the Gulf region’s efforts to become the dominant transit point for airline passengers.
Boeing’s new 777X family includes two long-range jets capable of handling about 350 to 400 passengers and costing about $350 million to $377 million at list prices. The family of planes is Boeing’s first, designed in part for the special needs of the Gulf carriers. Their powerful engines and extra-wide wings, for example, will facilitate flying in the region’s extreme heat, which makes taking off fully loaded more difficult.

No One Wants Your Cookies…
Google has agreed to pay $17 million to settle allegations by 37 states and the District of Columbia that it placed unauthorized tracking “cookies” in 2011 and 2012. The settlement comes after Google’s $22.5 million settlement with the Federal Trade Commission last year over the same practice. Google says it discontinued the policy in 2012. Cookies are small files that track users’ actions as they surf from site to site on the Web. In February 2012, The Wall Street Journal first reported Google and three other online-advertising companies had figured out a way to go around the default privacy setting of Apple’s Safari Web browser, tracking users’ without their knowledge. Normally Apple’s Safari browser automatically blocks the small files placed by advertisers known as cookies. However, special computer code used by Google’s DoubleClick unit found a loophole that allowed cookies to be placed on the computers of users who viewed certain ads.

In The Markets:

Asia:
Asian markets closed mixed on Tuesday. The Hang Seng and Shanghai moved higher as investors hope more reforms are coming, while the Nikkei was weighted down by the continued stronger yen.

Europe:
European stock markets closed higher on Monday after data showed the Eurozone’s trade surplus grew more than expected in September easing some of the concerns a stronger currency would have a greater impact.

US:
US stocks closed mixed on Monday after the Dow Jones hit 16,000 but dropped after well-known investor Carl Ichan said he is very cautious about stocks and expects the market to have a “big drop”. DJIA: +14.32 15976.02 NASDAQ: -36.90 3949.07 S&P 500 -6.65 1791.53

In Dinner or Drink:

Simple Sugar Cookies

Ingredients
1 cup butter, unsalted
1 cup white sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt

Directions
In a bowl, cream the butter and sugar. Beat in the eggs and vanilla.

In a second bowl, combine and mix well the flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir flour into butter mixture 1 cup at a time. Chill dough for 3 to 4 hours.

Roll out dough and cut into shapes with cookie cutters or a knife. Brush with milk and sprinkle with colored sugar. Bake on a sheet pan or a parchment lined sheet pan in a preheated 350 degree F oven for 10 to 15 minutes depending on the size of the cookie. Remove cookies to a rack to cool completely.

Nov 18

In Business and Financial News

Exploration…
On Friday, Forbes Media, the family-owned business magazine publisher, sent a letter to employees saying that the company has hired Deutsche Bank (DB) to explore a possible sale of the company. In recent years, print media has suffered severe losses of both readers and advertisers to online media.

Forbes media was started by B.C. Forbes in 1917. His son Malcolm succeeded him as publisher and handed it down to his son Steve, who is still chairman and editor in chief. Two years ago, Mike Perlis was brought in as the first non-family member to serve as CEO of the company. Additionally, the Forbes family also sold a minority stake in the company to investment firm Elevation Partners, which includes rock star Bono as one of its partners, in August 2006. [Continue reading...]

Nov 15

In Business and Financial News:

Stay the Course…
Janet Yellen reiterated in a Senate Banking Committee confirmation hearing that the Fed’s QE and stimulus measures will continue to make a “meaningful contribution to economic growth and to improving the outlook.” In fact, Yellen maintained that under her leadership, no significant changes would be made to the central bank’s low interest rate policy and that ongoing support for the Fed’s massive monthly bond buying of government and mortgage-backed securities, while risky, is crucial as the economy moves to more solid ground. At the same time, Yellen dismissed any sort of rhetoric that implied the creation of bubbles.

Her confidence fueled investor optimism this morning in Asia, as key indexes across Asia gained and built upon Thursday’s S&P 500 and Dow Jones’ record high closing numbers. Yellen is widely considered the forerunner to officially succeed Ben Bernanke as Fed Chief, thereby making her the first woman to head a major central bank. [Continue reading...]

Nov 14

In Business and Financial News..

We Want Part of You…
On Wednesday, Fairholme Capital Management stated that it would like to buy parts of bailed-out mortgage-finance giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. In a letter sent late Wednesday to federal regulators, Bruce Berkowitz, Fairholme’s chief investment officer, made the formal offer to buy the mortgage finance giants from the government in a recapitalization valued at $52 billion. The proposal, which faces very long odds, could raise the need for a mortgage-market overhaul to the forefront.

Fairholme has been hard at work building interest in its proposal with other preferred shareholders, including hedge funds Perry Capital LLC and GSO Capital Partners, owned by Blackstone Group. A spokeswoman for the FHFA declined to comment. A spokesman for the Treasury Department, which has invested $188 billion in Fannie and Freddie, also declined to comment. [Continue reading...]

Nov 13

In Business and Financial News:

Cleared For Take Off…

After months of court dates and negotiations, the government has finally given its nod to the marriage of U.S. Airlines (LCC) and American (AMR). On Tuesday, the Justice Department announced that it had reached an agreement which will allow US Airways and American Airlines to complete their $11 billion merger. The agreement requires both airlines to scale back operations at airports in Chicago, New York, Washington, Los Angeles, and several other big cities. In a letter to its employees the airlines said that the merged carrier will have to give up more than 52 landing slot pairs at Washington’s Reagan National, 17 slot pairs at New York LaGuardia and additional gates and other facilities at various other cities. [Continue reading...]

Nov 12

In Business and Financial News:

At It Again…
Our favorite activist investor Carl Icahn is at it again. Last time we saw him he was trying to stop Michael Dell from taking his company private, and this time he is after oil driller Transocean (RIG). Icahn, a minority shareholder in the company, for months has been pushing the company for a $ 4 per share dividend and cutting the number of directors. The company said Monday that it has agreed to support a dividend of $3 per share and will reduce its board to 11 directors from 14. In addition, Transocean will also look at boosting margins by $800 million through cost cutting. [Continue reading...]

Nov 11

In Business and Financial News:

Jobs, Jobs, Jobs…
On Friday, we learned how many jobs were added to the economy in October and what a pleasant surprise it was. The economy added 204,000 jobs in October, amazing everyone including highly trained analysts who had expected last month’s government shutdown to somewhat damage the labor market. Also as part of the NFP (Non-Farm Payroll) report, the U.S. Labor Department said that the unemployment rate edged up to 7.3% from 7.2% due to the 16 day fiscal standoff in Congress. So, if you’re scratching your head on this one, here’s the backstory. The Department of Labor census takers conduct a survey of a sampling group once a month. They call each of the sampling households and ask questions, including if they worked last week. They do not ask questions like, are you unemployed or how long you have been unemployed? They then take the “no’s” and “yes’s” and formulate the unemployment rate. During the 16 day shutdown, thousands more people were at home and not technically employed, potentially raising the numbers of “no’s” in the survey. [Continue reading...]

Nov 8

In Business and Financial News:

Unlike…
Facebook (FB) is changing its “Like” button around the web. On Thursday, the world’s largest social network unveiled its new, fresh design for its Like button. The company’s famous “thumbs up” is all but gone replaced by a little “f”. Facebook also introduced its new share button, which allows users to comment as well as share. Additionally, Facebook made the logo a darker shade of blue and changed its font. In addition, it is giving websites the option of lumping the like and share buttons together. Change is good?? [Continue reading...]

Nov 7

In Business and Financial News:

From Battlefield to Barista…
On Wednesday, Starbucks (SBUX) announced that it will hire 10,000 veterans and military spouses over the next five years, as part of an aggressive push to hire vets returning to the civilian work force. Starbucks also announced that they have plans to open five new stores on or near military bases. The new stores will share their profits with local communities. The company will also provide vets and their spouses a free tall brewed coffee on Veteran’s Day (Monday, November 11).
The unemployment rate for veterans who have served since September 11, 2011 is a staggering 10.1%, compared to that of the general population which was 7.2% in September. Other major US companies have also started to launch ambitious plans to hire veterans including UPS (UPS), JPMorgan Chase (JPM) and Wal-Mart (WMT), who has said they expect to hire 100,000 veterans by 2018. [Continue reading...]

Nov 6

In Business and Financial News:

Open Up…

On Wednesday, Samsung (SSNLF) will offer investors and analysts a rare public viewing, as the world’s largest smartphone and television maker attempts to boost its fledgling stock price. The company will hold its first analyst day in eight years and will feature presentations by all the heads of business units, from mobile devices to appliances and even TV sets. Attendees of the event will have a chance to raise issues that have weighed on their minds, like when the company will raise its historic low dividend or when the company might come out with an ADR (American Depository Receipt) and be traded around the world.  [Continue reading...]

Nov 5

In Business and Financial News:

Abandon…

Monday was supposed to be the day that someone would ride in on a white horse and save Blackberry. Instead, the company abandoned a tentative $4.7 billion plan with the front runner Fairfax Financial, kicked the current CEO out, hired a new one, and got a $1 billion infusion from a current stock holder. Not bad for the little Canadian phone maker who everyone thought was down and on their way out. The phone maker tapped John Chen, former chief executive of enterprise software company Sybase Inc., to succeed Chief Executive Thorsten Heins on an interim basis to help lead the search for a new CEO. The company also named Chen to be executive chairman.

The company has a long way to go after losing considerable market share to competitors like Samsung and Apple. Some Wall Streeters think that the company may finally have a game plan for helping the fledgling company crawl back into the smartphone space. [Continue reading...]

Nov 4

In Business and Financial News:

Auction Anyone?

The deadline to buy Blackberry is Monday, and bidders are still expected to come out of the woodwork. Here’s a list of the potential buyers for the struggling cell phone company:

  • Fairfax Financial Holdings (FRFHF) was the bidder to beat since they already have a signed deal with Blackberry; however, according to sources, the company still hasn’t lined up the money to pay the $9 a share promised.
  •  Mike Lazaridis and Doug Fregin, cofounders of Blackberry in 1984 but who no longer work at the company, have been in talks with mobile phone chipmaker Qualcomm (QCOM) and Cerberus Capital Management LP to submit a bid.
  • Lenovo Group, who in October signed a non-disclosure to look at Blackberry’s books, is said to be planning a merger possibility worth $4.7 billion.
  • Facebook: Rumor has it a couple weeks ago Mike Lazardis and Doug Fregin meet with Facebook to talk about a potential deal; however; no one has a heard a beep as to any such deal. Since the founders have spoken and could be in a deal with others, we think it’s highly unlikely that Facebook is even remotely interested.

With the deadline fast approaching, we will have to stay tuned to the crackberry soap opera to see just who the winner bidder will be. [Continue reading...]

Nov 1

In Business and Financial News:

Will You Help Me, Pleeeaase…

The agency overseeing the new Obamacare site announced Thursday that they have asked experts from the leading tech companies to create so-called tech surge to fix the struggling HealthCare.gov website. Experts from Google and other prominent tech companies have been called in to help fix the struggling HealthCare.gov website after it crashed for over 36 hours. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said the surge includes “dozens” of people with expertise in the site’s key issues: reliability, stability, and large-scale operations. The surge will be made up of government employees and employees from top tech giants, such as Google (GOOG), Red Hat (RHT), and Oracle (ORCL). [Continue reading...]

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