Obama Has A Bullish New Message For America11:06:41 01/12/2015
Posted by: Admin
For most of last year, President Barack Obama tempered his pitch on the US economy: It may be improving, he would say, but millions of Americans had yet to benefit from the rebound.

But now that caveat is gone, replaced by a bullish new message as Obama marches into his second-to-last year. "American resurgence is real," he says. "Don't let anybody tell you otherwise."

Despite multiple signs the recovery is indeed taking hold, some are saying otherwise, from conservatives to liberals in the president's own Democratic Party who point to stagnant wages and a yawning income gap between rich and poor. The clashing messages reflect Obama's need to boost his economic credentials and establish a post-recession legacy, and the desire by lawmakers to push their divergent economic policies.

Obama's retooled message, which he is unfurling as he approaches his Jan. 20 State of the Union address, comes as the public begins to warm toward the economy. An AP-GfK poll last month found negative perceptions of the economy overall are down compared with four years ago, with 57% describing it as "poor" compared with 83% who did in November 2010.

The new tone was evident last week during trips to Michigan, Arizona, and Tennessee, where he touted the government bailout of the auto industry, unveiled new housing measures, and called for free community college. This week, he is focusing on information technology and cybersecurity with events in Washington and Iowa.

For Obama, the idea of changing his tone on the economy gelled after the November midterm election, aides say. So in the two weeks in December before leaving for a Hawaii vacation, he huddled with his economic team to begin outlining themes for his Jan. 20 State of the Union address and recast his rhetoric.

His audience, aides say, is the two-thirds of voters who were too disgruntled to cast ballots in November.

"They need to understand that there are reasons to be optimistic, that there is true, tangible, solid growth and that we believe it's going to portend good things," White House communications director Jennifer Palmieri said in an interview.

Some White House allies say there is a risk Obama's new message won't resonate, or may even backfire, if he doesn't acknowledge many Americans are still struggling.

"He's got to paint a picture of why there are continued problems and what can be done about it," said Lawrence Mishel, an economist and president of the liberal-leaning Economic Policy Institute.

But White House officials no longer worry that optimistic assessments of the economy will seem tin-eared or that bright economic news will sour; concerns they still felt after encouraging first quarters in 2010, 2011, and even 2012.

"It's still a very dynamic situation and there's still concern that on any given day indicators can go in a different direction," Palmieri said. "But now it feels like you largely have some solid ground beneath you."

That solid ground includes a 5.6 unemployment rate for December, the lowest since 2008. Employers added 252,000 jobs in December, a healthy gain that contributed to 2014 being the best year for hiring in 15 years. The average price of gas in the United States is $2.20 per gallon, the lowest since May 2009. While the stock market has fizzled some in the past few days because of slumping oil prices, the Dow Jones industrial average set a record high by closing at 18,053 the day after Christmas.

White House officials also point to the Gallup Economic Confidence Index, which moved into positive territory last week for the first time since 2007.

How much of the credit Obama deserves is a matter of debate. Economies rise and fall because of numerous factors, not all driven by government policies. But in recent days, Obama has been touting his administration's 2009 stimulus plan, the bailout of the auto industry, his healthcare law and new financial regulations as key factors in the comeback. Yet another key player has been the independent Federal Reserve Bank, which has kept its benchmark interest rate near zero for six years and primed the economy by buying up trillions of dollars in government and private sector bonds.

Still, weaknesses remain. Nearly 7 million people are working part time but would prefer full-time work. Participation in the labor force has dropped to a low of 62.7%. While some of that reflects the retirement of baby boomers, it also reflects the fact that many out-of-work Americans have given up looking for jobs.

Republican House Speaker John Boehner on Thursday said the economy was improving "a bit, but most Americans aren't seeing it."

On that point, he doesn't get much of an argument from liberal Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts.

"For tens of millions of working families who are the backbone of this country, this economy isn't working," she told the AFL-CIO last week. "These families are working harder than ever, but they can't get ahead. Opportunity is slipping away."

Central to Warren's case are stagnant wages. Wages rose only 1.7% in 2014, hardly above the 1.3% inflation rate. Wages, however, have been flat or have declined for decades, and their immobility is not simply associated with the current recovery.

Still, Palmieri said Obama hadn't abandoned his commitment to tackle stagnant wages.

"That's what's left undone, right?" she said. "The president has been clear that is what the next two years are about."

Copyright (2015) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed

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 Samsung May Kill Its Prettiest Phone Yet10:05:10 12/29/2014
Posted by: Admin
Samsung is reportedly discontinuing its first metal smartphone, the Galaxy Alpha, just a few short months after it was introduced, according to a new report from the Korean news source ET News (via The Verge).

The Galaxy Alpha, which was officially unveiled in August, comes with brushed aluminum metal edges that look similar to those on the iPhone 5 and 5s.

It's one of Samsung's best-looking phones yet, but the company will supposedly axe the Alpha in favor of its recently announced Galaxy A5.

The A5 looks a lot like the Galaxy Alpha but is a bit thinner. In fact, Samsung says the Galaxy A5 is the company's slimmest phone yet at 6.7 millimeters. That's also thinner than the iPhone 6, which is 6.9mm.

Samsung's Galaxy A5 launched in China in November, but it will supposedly be coming to South Korea in January. There's no word on whether the Galaxy A5 will be released in the US or any other markets just yet.

AT&T is the only carrier in the US offering the Galaxy Alpha, but it is unclear exactly when and if it will stop selling it if ET News' report proves to be true

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 View Comments (5)Tags: smartphone samsung apple iphone smart tech smart technology PostID: 154a16da6b2bd7
 Encana Corp. to Buy Athlon Energy Inc. for $5.93B11:07:06 10/10/2014
Posted by: Admin
Encanca Corp, (ECA) who is Canada's second largest natural gas poducer, has agreed to buy Athlon Energy Inc. for $5.93 billion in cash. This is Encana's largest purchase since the company was formed in 2002.

The $58.50-a-share agreement is a deal that includes the assumption of $1.15 billion in long-term debt.

Athlon, whose largest shareholder is private-equity firm Apollo Global Management LLC (APO), produces about 30,000 barrels a day in the Permian Basin in Texas.

“This transformative acquisition further accelerates our strategy and provides us with a prime position in what is widely acknowledged as one of North America’s top oil plays,” Chief Executive Officer Doug Suttles said in a statement. “The Athlon team has built an exceptional asset with massive running room that includes greater than 10 years of drilling inventory.

Encana expects to spend $1 billion on the basin next year, raising production to 50,000 barrels a day. The acquisition, which will add 140,000 acres to Encana’s portfolio, with a potential recoverable resource of about 3 billion barrels of oil equivalent.
 View Comments (7)Tags: Encana Corp. Athlon Energy Inc. PostID: 15437f61a4ce3e
 eBay and PayPal to Split Next year10:16:59 10/09/2014
Posted by: Admin
eBay announced recently that it will split from PayPal sometime in 2015. The two will trade as entirely separate companies. Carl Icahn has been pushing for the split for some time.

eBay head John Donahoe told the New York Times, after a “deliberate” review eBay and its board “got to the same place Carl got early on”.

Donahoe and CFO Bob Swan are both expected to retain an advisory role after the split.

American Express exec Dan Schulman is joining PayPal as President and will head the free standing company after the split.
 View Comments (5)Tags: eBay PayPal John Donahoe Bob Swan Dan Sculman American Expresss Carl Icahn PostID: 1543698db39196
 Microsoft's Next Windows Version will be Called Windows 1011:25:59 10/08/2014
Posted by: Admin
Microsoft will skip version 9 and head right to Windows 10 in order to emphasize advances it is making toward a world centured on mobile devices and internet services.

The company is restoring some of the more traditional ways of doing things and promises that Windows 10 will be familiar for users regardless of which version of Windows they are now using.

Joe Belfiore, a Microsoft executive who oversees Windows design and evolution, said Windows 10 will offer "the familiarity of Windows 7 with some of the benefits that exist in Windows 8" to help business users make the transition.

Microsoft executive Terry Myerson said Windows 10 will be "a whole new generation" and, as expected, will work across a variety of devices — from phones to gaming consoles.
 View Comments (7)Tags: Microsoft Microsoft Windows 10 Terry Myerson Joe Belfiore Windows 7 PostID: 1543557870994a
 GM CEO Mary Barra Lays Out Growth Strategy10:42:46 10/07/2014
Posted by: Admin
General Motors (NYSE: GM) Ceo Mary Barra recently laid out an aggressive growth strategy in Milford Michigan.

Barra unveiled several initiatives she said are designed to help the company achieve 9% to 10% profit margins on an adjusted basis by early next decade.

The company has hit a record 20 million recalls so far in 2014. GM has confirmed 19 related deaths, and others are being investigated.

New products, technology, manufacturing materials and methods are at the top of Barra's list in order to regain its reputation.

Barra said that next year about 27% of GM's global sales volume is expected to come from vehicles that are either new brands or brands that have been refreshed within the prior 18 months. That figure is expected to rise to 38% in 2016.

Within two years, GM also plans "to execute the world's largest automotive deployment of 4G LTE high-speed mobile broadband" in vehicles.
 View Comments (6)Tags: GM General Motors Mary Barra Growth Strategy PostID: 15433fbe646fd8
 Mercedes-Benz and BMW Aim to Sell More Standardized Cars10:57:45 10/06/2014
Posted by: Admin
Both Mercedes-Benz and BMW are focusing on selling more standardized cars and services in order to boost profit margins and simplify the ecomplex list of options for buyers. Standardizing equipment also helped the market to gauge the second-hand value of a car.

Ian Robertson, BMW board member responsible for sales and marketing, said the new 4-series coupe was being offered with four different trims, and the i8 hybrid sports car was being offered in only three packages of options.

"We have packaged a number of trim levels to help the customer and ourselves, because the complexity was very high. A clearly understandable package was the M sport package," Robertson said.

He was referring to cars equipped with the performance luxury trim which comes with more ornate bumpers and spoilers and top of the line engines.

"It helps customers with understanding what is available, that also helps with the residual values of the car and therefore the leasing rates," Robertson explained.

"There are two approaches, you build to order, or you build to stock," Ola Kaellenius, head of sales for Mercedes-Benz said in an interview on Thursday.

"In Germany the classic approach is to build to order, but in the United States the dealer orders the cars and waits for the customer to drive it out of the showroom. We offer both."
 View Comments (6)Tags: Mercedes Benz BMW Oia Kaellenius Ian Robertson Standardized cars PostID: 15432ade972de4
 FedEx Plans to Hire 50,000 Extra Workers07:43:17 10/04/2014
Posted by: Admin
FedEx announced that it plans to hire more than 50,000 extra workers to handle what is shaping up to be another record year for holiday-season package deliveries.

Last year the company had hired 40,000 temporary holiday workers.

Rival UPS said it would hire up to 95,000 seasonal workers.

FedEx Corp. announced that it earned $606 million in the June-through-August quarter, up 24 percent from the same period in 2013. The results beat expectation.

CEO and Chairman Fred Smith said the company was helped by strength in the ground-shipping segment, solid volume and revenue increases at the freight division and growth in U.S. volumes for the core FedEx Express business.

"We expect continued revenue and earnings growth in fiscal year '15," which ends next May, "assuming moderate global economic growth and stable fuel prices," Smith said on a conference call with investors.
 View Comments (3)Tags: Fedex Fred Smith UPS Hire extra workers PostID: 154308615e51f6
 SoftBank Corp. Expects a Gain of about $500 Billon Yen from Alibaba Listing09:32:04 10/03/2014
Posted by: Admin
Japan's SoftBank Corp said it expected a gain of about 500 billion yen ($4.6 billion) from Alibaba Group Holding's share listing in New York. The company owns a 32% stake making it the Chinese company's biggest shareholder.

SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son also told CNBC that he would want to own more of Alibaba. Asked if he would like more of Alibaba, Son told CNBC on Friday: "Of course."

Son added: "Anything is possible but we are happy the way it is."

SoftBank said in a statement that it would book the estimated 500 billion yen gain in the half-year to end-September and would announce a precise figure at a later time.
 View Comments (11)Tags: Softbank Alibaba Masayoshi Son PostID: 1542ea55472efa
 Cadillac Moving Headquarters to New York10:33:03 10/02/2014
Posted by: Admin
Cadillac luxury brand is moving its headquarters to New York in 2015 to get closer to those living lives of luxury.

"There is no city in the world where the inhabitants are more immersed in a premium lifestyle than in New York," Johann de Nysschen, the brand's new president, said in a statement issued Tuesday announcing the move. "It allows our team to share experiences with premium-brand consumers and develop attitudes in common with our audience."

Cadillac's leaders and its marketing operations will move to loft offices in the SoHo section of Manhattan. Most of the company's employees will remain in Michigan, including technical product development teams. Manufacturing also will not change.
 View Comments (9)Tags: Cadillac New York New Headquarters PostID: 1542d621f3de9f

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