Category Archives: Business News

Wall Street nervous after China crash: China Stock Market

Wall Street nervous after China crash: China Stock Market, Friday was a rout in the stock markets; Monday is already looking worse. The Shanghai Composite index tumbled 8.5 percent—erasing the last of its gains for the year in its biggest single-day loss since 2007. European stocks have plunged nearly 5 percent. U.S. stocks nosedived at the opening bell: The S&P 500 fell 99.1 points or 5.03 percent, the Dow sank 991 points or 6.02 percent, and the Nasdaq pitched 335 points or 7.12 percent. There is only one word for all of this, and it is yikes. Brent crude, the benchmark for oil prices worldwide, is trading below $45 a barrel for the first time in six years. Even gold, so often a “safe haven” commodity that investors pour money into during periods of economic uncertainty, is being weighed down.

Despite climbing all spring, the Shanghai Composite has now erased its gains for the year.

What’s behind the apparent panic in the global economy? Mostly China. Over the past two weeks, China’s currency fell in value more than it did in the previous two decades. On top of that, all the recent economic data coming out of China seems to fundamentally contradict official reports of the country being on track for 7 percent growth. Investors and analysts have long questioned the accuracy of economic statistics produced by the Chinese government, so seeing those figures can’t have been entirely surprising. But it’s only recently become clear how big the gap between official reports and China’s economic reality might be. And the bigger that gap, the greater the ramifications could be worldwide. In recent years, China has accounted for up to half of global growth, though it makes up just 15 percent of global output.

Per the Wall Street Journal, China is looking into stimulus measures:

The expected move to free up more funds for lending—by reducing the deposits banks must hold in reserve—is directly aimed at countering the effects of a weaker currency, which could send more funds away from Beijing’s shores. The moves reflect an economy increasingly failing to cooperate with Chinese leaders’ playbook to control the world’s No. 2 economy.

The Journal says this could happen by the end of August or in early September, most likely via a half-percentage-point reduction in reserve-requirement ratios for banks. Another possibility is to just loosen the reserve requirements for banks that lend primarily to small and private businesses. China’s entrepreneurs have been stifled by the risk-averse tactics of many banks, which prefer to lend to state-owned companies than private, potentially higher-growth enterprises. Theoretically, stimulating that kind of private-sector growth would be better for China in the long run than falling back on exports, its traditional economic mainstay. (The leading theory for why China’s central bank devalued the yuan is that it was trying to prop up exports.) At the same time, as the Journal notes, these new “would-be drivers of the economy—high technology and entrepreneurship—aren’t filling the gap quickly enough.” In the meantime, expect a lot of turbulence in the global markets.

IKEA Recall: IKEA Issues Recall After 2 Deaths

IKEA Recall: IKEA Issues Recall After 2 Deaths, On Wednesday, IKEA announced that they were recalling around 27 million chests and dressers because they pose a fatal risk to children!

Along with the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the Swedish retail giant reported that two children died in 2014 after IKEA’s MALM chests fell on them.

Why? Because they were not anchored to a wall.

Even though the dressers are being recalled, customers are encouraged to order a free wall anchoring kit for the affected chests and dressers instead of returning them.

The international furniture company said in a statement that it is “deeply saddened” by the deaths and hopes “our efforts prevent further tragedies.”

CPSC Chairman Elliot Kaye praised IKEA for taking lead in the furniture industry to start producing more stable furniture, because many parents don’t know about the issue. He said:

“Today is a positive step and I commend IKEA for taking that step. But they need to do more and to make more stable furniture and they need to help lead industry.”

Company spokeswoman Mona Liss explained that they are taking the issue very seriously, saying:

“[IKEA will] continue to collaborate with the CPSC to find solutions for more stable furniture. We don’t know yet what those solutions will be but we are committed to working in collaboration to try to find better solutions.”

For safety precautions, CPSC is recommending that — unless the furniture is securely anchored to the wall — customers should immediately stop using any IKEA children’s chests taller than 23.5 inches and adult dressers taller than 29.5 inches.

Wal-Mart Heist: Disguised Man Steals $75K From Wal-Mart

Wal-Mart Heist: Disguised Man Steals $75K From Wal-Mart, Investigators were working Monday to identify a man who took more than $75,000 from an Oklahoma Walmart after disguising himself as an armored truck driver.

Bristow Police Chief Wayne Williams said authorities in northeast Oklahoma have received some anonymous tips about the identity of the man whose image was captured by a video surveillance camera.

“We’ve got some calls out on it, but nothing yet,” Williams said. He said officials do not believe the suspect lives in the area.

Authorities say the suspect entered the Walmart store in Bristow about 10:30 a.m. Saturday, walked to the cash office, signed for the deposit and walked out of the store. He drove away in a dark four-door Chevrolet.

“He came to the Walmart kind of dressed like a Loomis armored car driver,” Williams said. Walmart employees called police after the real Loomis employee arrived about 45 minutes later. Bristow is about 35 miles southwest of Tulsa.

Williams said Walmart has alerted its other stores about the theft and his department has notified other law enforcement agencies.

Walmart Stores Inc. spokeswoman Betsy Harden said she wasn’t aware of any similar incidents involving other Walmart stores.

“Obviously, it’s an ongoing investigation,” Harden said. She declined to comment on whether the Bentonville, Arkansas-based company plans to alter its policy on verifying the identity of workers who transport its cash deposits.

Williams said investigators have no evidence the suspect may have once worked for an armored transportation service and was familiar with its procedures.

“It’s not something we suspect. It’s a possibility,” Williams said.

Loomis spokesman Danny Pack declined to comment on the case.

Why Wal-Mart is bringing back greeters: Wal-Mart Greeters

Why Wal-Mart is bringing back greeters: Wal-Mart Greeters, You might once again be seeing the bright faces Walmart greeters earlier, just like founder Sam Walton intended.

Walmart is testing a pilot program in a few hundred of its approximately 4,500 stores to increase the store greeters’ door presence, in part, to decrease theft, as first reported by The Wall Street Journal. Three years ago, the biggest private employer moved its greeters further back into the store in what it called “action alley” — near self-checkout stations — in order to direct shoppers to open registers and perform other tasks.

“Some stores will literally move greeters to the door,” Walmart spokesman Brian Nick told ABC News.

Some of those greeters might check customer receipts as they leave, similar to what Costco does at its warehouses, Nick added.

Over time, Nick pointed out, some U.S. Walmart stores have phased out greeters, and some have done so during certain overnight hours in locations that are open 24 hours.

As part of the pilot program, the company is testing “asset protection customer specialists” who will wear yellow instead of the standard blue uniform at some stores. These staff members would help process returns at the door, perhaps scanning an item and putting a sticker on it to expedite the return process.

Walton introduced greeters in the 1980s to provide a warm welcome to customers and also deter thieves, as he mentioned in his 1992 autobiography, “Sam Walton: Made in America.” It’s a standard practice at many stores in the retail industry. Last month, Walmart CEO Doug McMillon said in a conference call that “shrink,” which describes loss from theft or disorder, was a “key urgent agenda item this year.” It cost the company 0.13 percent from its gross profit margin.

Why Wal-Mart is bringing back greeters: Wal-Mart Greeters

4 Gas Mileage Myths You Probably Believe

4 Gas Mileage Myths You Probably Believe, The summer road-trip season is here, and according to AAA, consumers can expect to see prices to hover around last summer’s high of $3.55 and $3.70 per gallon. Can you have your fun in the sun while avoiding pain at the pump?

Increasingly, newer cars are smashing old gas-saving truisms. For instance, buying a smaller car seems like a reasonable way to achieve higher gas mileage. However, compare a subcompact like the smart fortwo, which gets 38 mpg to a Chevrolet Cruze”s 36 mpg, and it becomes clear that smaller isn’t always better. Plus, the Cruze can fit five passengers and contains 15 cubic feet of space, while the ForTwo can only squeeze two passengers in 12 cubic feet of space.

Larger, longer sedans give more room for air to flow smoothly around the car than smaller shorter models, which reduces drag while highway driving.

It was once common knowledge that manual transmissions were more efficient, but improvements to automatic transmission mean the fuel use is now often about the same. The same goes for premium gasoline. Unless a car is specifically designed for high-grade gas, the extra cash per gallon is going to go up in smoke.

If everything you thought you knew about saving money on gas is wrong, then what can you do to cut down on fuel costs this summer? Here are a few tips:

Regular Maintenance

New air filters and regular oil changes are good for your car and wallet. Also, take a look at your tires before any road trip. The Environmental Protection Agency says even a slightly under-inflated tires can cost a car in fuel efficiency. By keeping you tires properly inflated, you can improve your vehicle’s gas mileage by up to 3.3 percent, which works out to an equivalent gasoline savings of approximately $0.11 per gallon.

Use Cruise Control

There are times when cruise control isn’t appropriate, such as heavy traffic or when climbing hilly roads,
but if you’re driving over relatively even terrain, cruise control can prevent unnecessary speed changes which waste gas. Cruise control can also keep drivers from creeping up in speed on long trips, saving you money on gas.

Slow Down

Highway driving is the most efficient way to get around, but speed too much and those savings go out the tailpipe. Fueleconomy.gov estimates each 5 mph over 50 mph is like paying an additional $0.24 per gallon for gas. You don’t want to drive too slowly on the highway of course, but keeping your speed around or under 70 mph can save a lot of cash on fuel, not to mention speeding tickets.

Travel light, store right

Excessive weight can ruin fuel efficiency in any car, so it is important to prioritize when packing for a long road trip. How you stow your stuff can also have a major effect on gas bills. Hauling cargo on your roof, for example, increases aerodynamic drag and lowers fuel economy by around 2 percent to 8 percent in city driving and 10 percent to 25 percent at Interstate speeds according to fueleconomy.gov.

What An Employer Can – And Can’t – Ask In An Interview

What An Employer Can – And Can’t – Ask In An Interview, If you’re on the job hunt, you might want to familiarize yourself with these topics that are out of bounds for employers., Job hunting? What you can and can’t be asked in an interview, You don’t need Miss Manners to tell you it’s rude to ask someone his or her age. “How old are you?” is also the kind of question that has no place in a job interview.

It’s one of several queries that are strictly off-limits when it comes to employers screening potential candidates.

“Anything that is listed as a prohibited ground of discrimination in the Human Rights Code would be unacceptable,” says Alka Kundi, a labour and employment lawyer with Borden Ladner Gervais in Vancouver.

Every province has its own human rights legislation, but in B.C., those prohibited grounds include:

Most employers are well-versed in what’s appropriate to ask and what isn’t, but there are still grey areas.

“Some of the more subtle ones are child care and family responsibilities; that’s an emerging area of human rights that is getting protection,” Kundi says. “Asking about child-care arrangements or obligations can be problematic if they’re not directly tied to employment-related requirements.”

The reason that employers can’t ask certain questions, of course, is that the answers could lead to bias in hiring. And asking inappropriate questions leaves an employer open to complaints of discrimination or potential legal action from unsuccessful candidates who believe they weren’t hired because of their disability, race, sex, or other ground protected under the code, even if the decision not to hire was legitimate.

“Our human rights laws prevent employers from refusing to employ someone for a reason related to prohibited grounds of discrimination,” explains lawyer Kelly Slade-Kerr, with Vancouver employment-law firm Hamilton Howell Bain & Gould. “Our laws say you can’t discriminate against somebody for reasons related to those factors. Employers making a decision on who to hire can’t consider any of those factors because it’s a violation of our human rights laws.”

Job seekers may want to consider familiarizing themselves with what’s fair game. Instead of asking if you have Canadian citizenship, for example, an employer should ask whether you’re legally entitled to work in Canada, Kundi explains.

Questions related to family life aren’t permissible, except as they relate to job performance, says Sheryl Boswell, marketing director at career site Monster.ca. “While you cannot ask a candidate if he or she has children or has adequate child care, you can ask about ability to perform the job,” Boswell says.

How One Man Retired At The Ripe Old Age Of 27

How One Man Retired At The Ripe Old Age Of 27, At 21, Brenton Hayden figured he’d need to accumulate $7 million to retire early and crafted a plan to do that., Retiring at 27: Ambitious, lazy or crazy?, I don’t know why the word “lazy” gets such a bad rap — I’m a big fan of lazy.

Here’s why: Lazy is a smart man’s motivation to get from point A to B as quickly as possible. A lazy person knows there’s lots of life and fun to be experienced, so finding the shortcuts through the slough just makes a lot more sense than dragging your feet down a long road.

Lazy can help you build a multi-million dollar business in a few short years and reach retirement in your 20s. At least, that’s how I decided to do it.

Everyone has their own version of what happens after we die. Mine is simple: you are dead. You are dirt. The end. Game over. Thank you and goodbye.

To some, this could be very troubling, and if you’re not careful, you could misinterpret this belief and make it an excuse to do nothing. It’s all futile anyways, right? Absolutely not.

Believing I only have one shot, I could not be more motivated to craft the exact life I want to live. I mean, what did I have to lose?

With retirement as my starting point, I decided $7 million after tax was the number and age 27 would be the deadline.

I was 21 at the time with only one year of operating my own thriving business, Renters Warehouse, under my belt.

The numbers for my property management company were already looking good and the trajectory was definitely heading towards my seemingly lofty ambitions. It was time to walk the walk.

I meticulously set forth to build a business that I could exit when the time was right, with employees and management that were just as vested in the long-term vision as I was.

With my self-imposed retirement goal nipping at my heels, I focused on building “bench strength” at Renters Warehouse. This meant having a president groomed to be CEO, an office manager capable of becoming my operations manager and a litany of cross-trained employees that were hungry for professional growth.

Transparency being paramount, I empowered key executives by giving them full access to the books, called on them for crucial management decisions and made sure they had a hand in the branding, funding and hiring decisions early on.

Woven into our company culture was the idea that leadership comes from all corners. It wasn’t long before the encouragement to step up would inch me closer and closer to stepping down.

How To Protect Yourself With A ‘Fake’ Credit Card

How To Protect Yourself With A ‘Fake’ Credit Card, Recent retail data breaches may have some shoppers on edge, but new software aims to eliminate the problem., How To Use A ‘Fake’ Credit Card To Protect Yourself From Hackers, Consumers who are feeling timid about using their credit cards following the massive data breaches at Target and Neiman Marcus might find solace in a new security system that uses randomly generated credit card numbers to fend off potential hackers.

The service, called MaskMe, was developed by the Boston-based privacy firm Abine, which is behind the popular blocking software DoNotTrackMe.

Here’s how it works: When you’re ready to make a purchase, MaskMe will randomly generate a masked card – a one-time-use credit card number, expiration date and security code with a name of your choosing. The card is produced virtually and looks like this:

If you are in a physical store, you can give the card information to the retailer to pay for your purchase. The card is only authorized for the amount you specify and after a single use, it will be destroyed.

Here’s a screenshot of the mobile app in the process of creating a card, courtesy of Abine:

If you are shopping online, the masked card will show up as a credit card option when you’re checking out. Once you select it, the service will automatically enter all the information you need. Abine inputs its own mailing address as the billing address for all masked cards.

“Masked cards are useful because they leave no trace of your real credit card on all those databases where you shop,” says Abine co-founder and CEO Rob Shavell. “The principal behind what we do for security is very simple: Hackers can’t steal what they don’t have.”

Some banks, including Bank of America and Discover, offer a similar one-time-use-only card for online purchases. But unlike MaskMe, those cards use consumers’ real names and addresses.

Shavell says its important to protect that information, as well.

“The average online store today works with over seven different targeted advertising, tracking, and data collection companies,” he said. “These purchases that you make with masked cards can no longer be connected back to a single card and fed into a profile of what you buy online – which can be sold without you even knowing it to insurers, banks, the government, you name it.”

Some consumers may have concerns about trusting Abine with their credit card info, however. What if Abine was hacked?

To protect against that possibility, Abine doesn’t store consumers’ real credit card info, Shavell says. That data is encrypted and stored by the company’s banking partner.