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  • bp-tease

    BP Continues Stealth Public Relations During Its Crisis

    Knowing that its name and future are at stake, BP has had to walk a fine line. Doing nothing to quell public outrage over the Gulf of Mexico oil spill would quickly erode the company's image. But undertaking aggressive and overt marketing to downplay the effects of the incident could just as easily paint the company as more concerned with profits than ecological impact.
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    Richard Florida: Rethinking Blue-Collar Jobs

    Following the release of his latest tome, The Great Reset: How New Ways of Living and Working Drive Post-Crash Prosperity, NEWSWEEK’S Nancy Cook asked Florida about his vision for “upgrading” the service economy. Excerpts:
  • Economy: Can the Recovery Keep on Trucking?

    Whether you are an economic pessimist or optimist, you have to consider all the data—not just the data you like. The problem is sussing out which data points to trust. Generally, measurements of actual activity are better than surveys about attitudes or behavior. What's more, many data series come out after the fact and are subject to revision, which makes them less reliable when it comes to gauging what's taking place right now.
  • Savings Rate Down as Americans Spend More

    Leading Indicator 2.7%The personal savings rate for Americans in March. The post-crash savings rate peaked at 6.4 percent in May 2009, and hasn't been below 3 percent since October 2008.
  • Will Splitting Offshore-Oil Regulator Prevent Future Accidents?

    On Tuesday, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar cut the Minerals Management Service in half, separating its duties of regulating the offshore oil and gas industry and of collecting billions in revenue from it. The move is a tacit acknowledgment that a conflict of interest is inherent to the agency’s dual mandate, and is an indictment of the decisions the MMS made that have arguably exacerbated the Deepwater Horizon disaster. With oil still leaking into the Gulf of Mexico (BP engineers are getting desperate), the MMS faces mounting criticism for its role in the mess, first for a 2003 decision not to require remote-control shutoff switches in the gulf as a last-resort safety mechanism in the event of a blowout, and second for granting BP an exemption from providing a detailed environmental report of the Deepwater Horizon site. ...
  • Surprise! 2009 Tax Bill Lowest in Nearly 60 Years

    Democratic leaders will no doubt be glad to see this report in this morning's USA Today. The paper ran the numbers, and by their calculations, Americans haven't seen such a low bill from the tax man since 1950. For those of you keeping score at home, that's 11 years before President Obama was born. Here's the key paragraph:...
  • gal-tease-damages

    Jobs: Where Will You Work in the Future?

    The year 2030 sounds far off. In a way, the number itself conjures images of silver unitards and hovercrafts, just as 2010 probably did to people back in 1990. A lot’s changed since then, but more has stayed exactly the same, which is part of the problem.
  • National Debt Should Not Be Ignored

    He did not like the question very much. Last Wednesday afternoon, at the Peter G. Peterson Foundation’s summit on fiscal responsibility, I asked Peter Orszag, the director of the Office of Management and Budget, whether unemployment would have to rise even further for the country to see our long-term economic challenges as a true, rather than a theoretical, crisis. Orszag winced slightly, which speaks well of him as a human being: it would be morally reprehensible to wish more people the pain of joblessness. “The unemployment rate seems pretty high to me,” he said, “and the share of the unemployed who are long-term unemployed is also quite elevated.”
  • What's Behind the Dow's Dizzying Volatility?

    What the hell is happening with the Dow? Despite Friday's positive employment numbers, in which the U.S. economy added 290,000 jobs, the stock market fell this morning—thanks to growing concerns about Greece's debt and Thursday's computer glitch that sent the market plummeting. ...
  • Measures to Save the Greek Economy May Worsen the Problem

    Thursday afternoon, the markets went on something of a joyride. Actually, it was more like a distress ride. After plummeting more than 900 points, the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed down about 3 percent. Why? It's unclear. CNBC said traders warned of a "black hole effect." A chief culprit, as Reuters pointed out, seemed to be fears of financial contagion from Greece, where residents are engaging in the ancient pastime of rioting.
  • Cosmocrats Bullish on Global Economy

    The more cosmopolitan you are, the more optimistic you are about economic prospects, or so it seems, according to a new study by HSBC. The bank surveyed more than 2,000 "global citizens" (a.k.a., people who are affluent, well educated, traveled, and often multilingual) in 10 major world cities and found that they were much more bullish on the state of their own personal finances, as well as the health of the global economy, than the average Joe....
  • gal-tease-recession-winners-losers

    The $2.3 Trillion Garage Sale

    Having waged a battle against financial mayhem for the last two years, the Federal Reserve is tentatively declaring victory. As it guaranteed debt and swapped cash for all sorts of assets, the Fed's balance sheet grew—from about $850 billion in assets before the crisis to about $2.3 trillion this spring. The binge included the purchase of $1.25 trillion of mortgage-backed securities issued by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. But in testimony to Congress in March, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said the purchases were coming to a close and that the Fed was now seeking to lessen its burden. The Fed is now discussing how to sell off these new assets.
  • Monopoly Comes to the App Store (and We're Not Talking About a Board Game)

    Apple’s next “magical” and “revolutionary” product? An iLegalDefenseTeam. According to the New York Post, the Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission are negotiating over which of the two agencies will launch an antitrust inquiry against the company, now the third-largest in America (by market capitalization). A decision could be made within days, but at this point, it’s just a rumor—neither the government nor Apple is confirming or denying anything. And even if true, an inquiry won’t necessarily result in legal action—it's just a preliminary investigation to determine whether any laws have been broken.Still, it’s bad news for Apple. The reputation of the tight-lipped Cupertino firm has done a 180 in the last couple of years, going from snazzy, innovative upstart to tech bully. Its public badmouthing of Adobe and its Gestapo-like tactics against the finders of a next-generation iPhone are only the latest black marks on the company’s record. App developers, music...
  • Goldman: It's About What's Legal

    The problem for Tourre—and for Wall Street more broadly—is that they’re so intent on proving that what they did was legal that they can’t see that what they did was wrong. These are men (and they usually are men) of the market, and they played by the market’s rules. And the market’s rules are these: you make as much money as you can without actually going to jail.
  • A Cop on the Beat

    As part of financial-regulation reform, congress is pushing for derivatives—the complex financial instruments behind many of the recent debacles—to be traded on centralized exchanges, where data and activity could more readily be seen by investors. Predictably, Wall Street opposes calls for change. JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon told analysts that such proposals could cost his bank from "$700 million to a couple billion dollars," and industry players warn that investors would suffer if trading becomes more transparent. But history has shown that banks often don't know what's good for them. ...
  • Did Hewlett-Packard Pay Too Much, Too Little, or Just the Right Amount for Palm?

    Is $1.2 billion a lot or a little for Hewlett-Packard to pay for Palm? With the acquisition, HP gains an instant foothold in the mobile Internet market—but it ain't much of one. Palm's webOS devices aren't exactly where it's at in the mobile space. The Pre and Pixi have been well reviewed, but they've failed to catch on in the marketplace. They haven't captured consumers' hearts like the iPhone; they haven't become an indispensable business tool like the BlackBerry; and they haven't gotten anywhere in the great big middle of the market, like Android handsets have. The Pre simply hasn't been the resurrection Palm hoped for. Only 408,000 of the company's phones were sold last quarter.That's poor performance, until it's compared with HP's position, which was . . . none at all. The company that has pioneered ...
  • Why You Should Invest Like It's 1976

    A year into the stock-market recovery, there's a lot of uncertainty about how long the boom will last. We may be able to learn something from the market's performance during the mid-1970s, as the similarities so far are striking. After peaking in January 1973, the Dow Jones industrial average fell 50 percent, to 570, by late 1974. Over the next 15 months, however, the market gained back nearly 75 percent of its value. The Dow's latest crash, from its October 2007 high of 14,000 to a low of 6,500 in March 2009, marked a similar loss over a similar period of time. The recovery is also strangely similar: in the 13 months since March 2009, the Dow has risen about 70 percent. If the 1970s model holds, the Dow could hit 11,500 sometime early this summer. Then comes decision time.By 1976, deficit spending and inflation (remember the energy crisis?) created headwinds that pushed the Dow down 30 percent over the next two years, where it hovered until the bull market took off in 1982. Some...