Archives for News

Drop in defaults helps JPMorgan Chase

JPMorgan Chase & Co is expected to post an increase in first-quarter profit of more than 50 percent on Wednesday, as the bank weathers a slowdown in trading and fewer borrowers default on credit card loans. Analysts on average expect the second-largest U.S. bank earned $1.16 a share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. That compares with a year-earlier profit of 74 cents a share. JPMorgan is the first of the major U.S. banks to report earnings and is expected to set an upbeat tone for the sector, showing an improvement in credit quality and only moderate trading losses. The bank
Read More

Wal-Mart cuts back on space for electronics

Wal-Mart Stores is cutting the size of its electronics department as popular gadgets shrink and making room to add back dropped items like fishing poles, fabric and full-figure fashions. “It’s still a vibrant category but much smaller items are being sold,” Rosalind Brewer, president of Walmart East, said while speaking at the ISI Retail Summit on Tuesday. Company officials said Wal-Mart will be selling the same number of products despite the reduction in the physical size of its electronics departments. They added that the size of the electronics departments will vary store by store. Over the last couple of years,
Read More

Who fired first shots of the Civil War?

A raid 150 years ago by Confederate sympathizers on a Union fort at what is now Pensacola Naval Air Station was likely little more than an ill-planned and drunken misadventure, perhaps ended by one soldier’s warning shot — and a blank one, at that. But don’t tell Pensacola residents that the Jan. 8, 1861, skirmish meant nothing — the event is the stuff of legend in this military town. Some even claim the clash was the Civil War’s first, three months before the battle on April 12, 1861, at South Carolina‘s Fort Sumter, which is widely recognized as the start
Read More

Microsoft targets business market

Microsoft Corp is making its strongest push yet into the steadily growing business software market in the hope that it can create another multibillion-dollar business. The world’s biggest software company, which still gets the majority of its sales from its Windows and Office franchises, is hoping it can wrestle market share from heavyweights SAP AG and Oracle Corp, and upstart online vendor Salesforce.com Inc. “The opportunities to make a good business economically are wonderful,” said Microsoft Chief Executive Steve Ballmer in a telephone interview on Monday. “We’re pretty pumped up.” Research firm IDC predicts that companies will spend $118 billion
Read More

Docs don’t always follow their own advice

When doctors step into their patients’ shoes, their treatment decisions don’t always line up with the advice they give in their clinics, a U.S. survey says. Faced with hypothetical treatment scenarios, when they imagined themselves as the sick person, doctors more often chose therapies that carried a higher risk of death but fewer severe side effects, said the survey, in the Archives of Internal Medicine. “I don’t think any patient would expect that. If they found out, they would raise a lot of questions,” said Peter Ubel, at Duke University, who led the research. “It has nothing to do with
Read More

At 63, James Taylor ‘still hungry’

James Taylor has filled huge arenas, won five Grammys, been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and influenced generations of musicians. His 2010 Troubadour Reunion Tour with Carole King was a major commercial success. Yet every single time he gives a concert, he worries people won’t come. “That’s always the question,” says the 63-year-old singer, songwriter and folk rock icon. “Are people gonna show up? Will they buy tickets?” But there’s a silver lining to the worry: “It’s kept me hungry,” he says. “It’s kept me grateful.” Now in his fifth decade of performing, Taylor, whose appearance
Read More

Obama saved favorite programs from budget cuts

A close look at the government shutdown-dodging agreement to cut federal spending by $38 billion reveals that lawmakers significantly eased the fiscal pain by pruning money left over from previous years, using accounting sleight of hand and going after programs President Barack Obama had targeted anyway. Such moves permitted Obama to save favorite programs — Pell grants for poor college students, health research and “Race to the Top” aid for public schools, among others — from Republican knives. And big holes in foreign aid and Environmental Protection Agency accounts were patched in large part. Republicans also gave up politically treacherous
Read More

Obama claims ‘everything’ is on the table for cuts

President Barack Obama, plunging into the rancorous struggle over America’s mountainous debt, will draw sharp differences with Republicans Wednesday over how to conquer trillions of dollars in spending while somehow working out a compromise to raise some taxes and trim a cherished program like Medicare. Obama’s speech will set a new long-term deficit-reduction goal and establish a dramatically different vision from a major Republican proposal that aims to cut more than $5 trillion over the next decade, officials said Monday. Details of Obama’s plan are being closely held so far, but the deficit-cutting target probably will fall between the $1.1
Read More

Food price surge fuels biofuel critics

A surge in global food prices has prompted fresh criticism of US subsidies for ethanol, which diverts massive amounts of corn from global food supplies for energy. Producers of ethanol argue that the biofuel helps blunt the impact of high imported petroleum prices, but critics say the US policy giving tax breaks for ethanol used in motor fuel ends up being bad for food, energy and the environment. The issue has created unusual political alliances, with environmental groups and some lawmakers from both parties clashing with farm interests and legislators from the corn-producing midwest states. Senators Tom Coburn, a Republican
Read More

Republicans find themselves on Medicare hot seat

Now it’s their turn to try to fix the health care mess. Republicans, just like President Barack Obama, may discover that’s easier said than done. The GOP budget expected to go to the full House this week would remake health care programs for the elderly and the poor that have been in place for nearly half a century. Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., says his approach would “save” Medicare by keeping the financially troubled program affordable for federal taxpayers. But it turns out that people now 54 and younger would pay the price. By one authoritative estimate, they’d be
Read More