Financial
NADA: New car sales expected to rise 5.8 percent PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by Associated Press   
Sunday, 26 January 2014 07:26

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Boosted by rising employment, home values and housing construction, Americans will buy 16.4 million new cars and light trucks this year.

That's the prediction from the National Automobile Dealers Association, which is meeting in New Orleans.

Economist Steve Szakaly (ZAK-uh-lee), says the 5.8 expected increase will mark the sixth year of recovery from the financial crash and automotive bankruptcies.

Jonathan Banks, analyst for the group's Used Car Guide, says those years of new-car buying and leasing will push prices down for recent-model used cars and trucks, averaging 2.5 percent less than last year's prices. He says 5- to 8-year-old vehicles remain scarce because few people bought cars during the recession. Those prices are likely to be flat.

He says used-car prices are likely to be slightly lower than last year's.


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Natural gas soars as cold grips homes, drillers PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by JONATHAN FAHEY, AP Energy Writer   
Saturday, 25 January 2014 07:41

NEW YORK (AP) — The frigid winter of 2014 is setting the price of natural gas on fire.

The price in the futures market soared to $5.18 per 1,000 cubic feet Friday, up 10 percent to the highest level in three and a half years. The price of natural gas is up 29 percent in two weeks, and is 50 percent higher than last year at this time.

Record amounts of natural gas are being burned for heat and electricity. Meanwhile, it's so cold that drillers are struggling to produce enough to keep up with the high demand. So much natural gas is coming out of storage that the Energy Department says supplies have fallen 20 percent below a year ago — and that was before this latest cold spell.

"We've got record demand, record withdrawals from storage, and short-term production is threatened," says energy analyst Stephen Schork. "It's a dangerous market right now."

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Johansson addresses criticism over SodaStream deal PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by Associated Press   
Sunday, 26 January 2014 07:25

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Scarlett Johansson has responded to criticism over her new ad campaign for an Israeli company that operates in the West Bank, but she's not pulling out of the endorsement deal.

The 29-year-old actress said in a statement released Friday to The Huffington Post that she "never intended on being the face of any social or political movement, distinction, separation or stance" as part of her affiliation with SodaStream International Ltd.

The Israeli drink maker recently signed the "Her" and "The Avengers" actress as its first "global brand ambassador." She is to appear in a television ad during the Super Bowl on Feb. 2.

SodaStream has come under fire from pro-Palestinian activists for maintaining a large factory in an Israeli settlement in the West Bank, a territory captured by Israel in 1967 and claimed by the Palestinians.

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Wal-Mart's Sam's Club to cut 2,300 workers PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by ANNE D'INNOCENZIO, AP Retail Writer   
Saturday, 25 January 2014 07:40

NEW YORK (AP) — Wal-Mart Stores Inc. said it's eliminating 2,300 workers at its Sam's Club division as it reduces the ranks of middle managers in a bid to be more nimble.

The layoffs, which cut 2 percent of the membership club's U.S. employee count of about 116,000, mark the largest since 2010 when the Sam's Club unit laid off 10,000 workers as it moved to outsource food demonstrations at its stores.

The cuts come as Sam's Club strives to compete better with Costco Wholesale Corp. and online players like Amazon.com's Prime membership service. They also follow layoffs announced by several other major retailers in recent weeks that include Macy's Inc., J.C. Penney and Target Corp.

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