June 22, 2013

Briefcase

Wall Street stocks turn around following two-day plunge

Traders decided that the stock market has suffered enough, at least for now.

After a two-day plunge, stocks ended the week with an advance Friday, suggesting that Wall Street may be successfully weaned from the Federal Reserve's easy money, after all.

"Saner heads are prevailing," said Jim Dunigan, chief investment officer at PNC Wealth Management. "People are looking a little deeper into the message from the Fed -- the economy is getting better," he said. "At the end of the day that's a positive."

Investors had known that sooner or later the Fed would quit spending $85 billion per month pumping money into the U.S. economy.

Ex-Enron chief Skilling gets 10 years cut from sentence

One of the country's most notorious financial scandals came to a protracted legal conclusion Friday as ex-Enron Corp. CEO Jeffrey Skilling -- already in prison for his role in the once-mighty energy giant's collapse -- was resentenced to 14 years as part of a court-ordered reduction and a separate agreement with prosecutors.

Skilling's sentence was reduced by 10 years, and his attorneys say it's likely that with time off for good behavior and other factors he will be released in 2017.

Skilling has been in prison since 2006, when he was sentenced to more than 24 years by U.S. District Judge Sim Lake. But an appeals court vacated his prison term in 2009, ruling that a sentencing guideline was improperly applied. That meant a reduction of as much as nine years.

Starbucks hiking prices in all stores starting Tuesday

Starbucks wants a little extra change for that latte.

The Seattle-based coffee company says it's hiking prices on average by 1 percent nationally starting Tuesday. But it says the price for many drinks, such as medium and large brewed coffees and Frappuccinos, won't change in most of its 11,000 U.S. cafes.

For a small brewed coffee, the price will increase by 10 cents at most. Other drinks could increase by more than that.

Gogo Inc. fails to connect with Wall Street investors

Gogo Inc., which provides Internet service on airline flights, failed to connect with the stock market Friday.

The company is growing rapidly, but it is also unprofitable. And the initial public offering of stock came at the end of a tumultuous week on Wall Street, which may have unnerved investors. The Dow Jones industrial average tumbled 560 points Wednesday and Thursday.

On Friday, Gogo's stock fell 5.8 percent in its first day on the Nasdaq.

The company, which is based in Itasca, Ill., uses a network of cell towers to provide Internet access for passengers on more than 1,900 planes. Customers include four of the five biggest U.S. airlines -- United, Delta, American and US Airways -- which charge passengers for Internet access.

First Apple computer could fetch $500,000

It's the kind of electronic junk that piles up in basements and garages -- an old computer motherboard with wires sticking out.

But because it was designed and sold by two college dropouts named Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, it could be worth more than $500,000.

An Apple 1 from 1976, one of the first Apple computers ever built and forerunner of today's MacBooks, iPads and iPhones, goes on the auction block at Christie's next week. The bidding starts at $300,000, with a pre-sale estimated value of up to $500,000.

Unemployment fell in May in half of U.S. states

Unemployment rates fell in half of U.S. states last month, led by drops in California, West Virginia, New York and Hawaii.

The Labor Department said Friday that unemployment rates rose in 17 states and were unchanged in eight.

Hiring has been steady nationwide, leading to a better job market in many areas of the country. Employers added jobs in 33 states last month.

Olive Garden luring diners with more cheap prices

If the free breadsticks and unlimited soup and salad aren't enough, Olive Garden is hitting the gas on other promotions to get customers through its doors.

Darden Restaurants Inc., which has been struggling to hold onto customers in recent years, said deal offers like "2 for $25" dinner specials helped drive up customer traffic at its flagship Olive Garden and Red Lobster chains in the latest quarter. The company said it will keep stressing the affordability of its food in the year ahead to attract more diners.

Facebook says system bug exposed contact information

Facebook says a bug in its system caused 6 million users' contact information to be inadvertently exposed.

The social media company said Friday that a bug led to users' contact information, such as email addresses or phone numbers, to be accessed by other users who either had some contact information about that person or some connection to them.

Facebook said it has fixed the problem and is in the process of notifying affected users via email.

- From news service reports

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