Investors seem to assume default will be averted

Warren Buffett likens it to a nuclear attack. Economists warn that government spending on programs like Social Security would plunge. The Treasury says the economy would slide into a recession worse than the last.

Yet you wouldn’t know that a U.S. debt default could amount to a nightmare from the way many companies and investors are preparing for it: They aren’t. The assumption seems to be that in the end, Washington will find a way to avert a default.

Brian Doe, a wealth adviser at Gratus Capital Management in Atlanta, has 35 clients who’ve entrusted him with $50 million for safekeeping. He isn’t losing sleep over a potential default. Neither are his clients, apparently. Not one has called him about the issue, he said.

Ford, University of Michigan opening battery research lab

Ford Motor Co. and the University of Michigan are opening a new battery research and manufacturing lab that they hope will speed the development of batteries for electric and hybrid cars.

The center, on the university’s campus in Ann Arbor, will bring together battery makers, car companies and researchers who will test new batteries for prototype vehicles.

Ted Miller, who manages battery research at Ford, said the lab will be unique in the U.S. He said that labs currently testing new battery chemistries can’t produce them in the amounts or formats needed for automotive research. And battery companies aren’t always sure that what they’re developing could be useful to the automotive industry.

New cellphone software may improve driving safety

Microsoft is updating its Windows software for cellphones to accommodate larger devices and make it easier for motorists to reduce distractions while driving.

It’s the third update to Windows Phone 8 software since the system’s release a year ago. Devices with this update will start appearing in the coming weeks, and older phones will be eligible for a free upgrade, too.

Something that may appeal to motorists: a new Driving Mode will automatically silence incoming calls and texts so that you can focus on the road. You also can configure the feature to automatically send out a reply to say that you’re driving.

Macy’s to break tradition, open stores on Thanksgiving

Macy’s Inc. says it will open most of its stores for the first time on Thanksgiving, breaking a long-standing tradition for the venerable retailer.

In a release issued late Monday, the Cincinnati-based chain said it will open its doors at 8 p.m. on that day and will remain open for 24 hours straight until the close of business on Friday. Last year, the chain opened its doors at midnight right after the holiday.

— From news service reports