Small businesses were feeling more optimistic in May despite the fact that they were not planning on employing more individuals or creating jobs. Time Warner is looking to buy Vice Media to increase its presence with millennials. Walmart reorganizes its e-commerce. McDonald's sales are down. Hybrid cars lose market share.
Small business optimism at highest since 2007
CNBC is reporting that small business owners were more upbeat about the economy in May and reported the highest score since 2007. The National Federation of Independent Business released its Optimism Index on Tuesday. The Index rose 1.4 points in May to 96.8, the highest reading since September 2007. The Index, however, remains far below readings that have normally accompanied an expansion in the US economy. The NFIB indicates that the “soft” components, such as expectations about sales and business conditions drove the uptick. The harder components, such as job openings, job creation plans, inventory and spending actually fell in May.
Time Warner to invest in Vice Media
Time Warner is finalizing an investment in Vice Media that would value the digital media and publishing group at more than $2 billion. The Financial Times reports that Vice produces a news show for Time Warner’s HBO cable network and operates some of the most popular channels on YouTube. It has succeeded n reaching millennial viewers that have drifted away from traditional medial. Vice started as a music magazine in Canada but has been fueled by online video, especially gonzo-style films from world trouble spots. It received headlines when it took former basketball star Dennis Rodman to North Korea to meet Kim Jong Un and has recently won acclaim for its HBO series.
McDonald’s sales remain weak in the US
According to the Wall Street Journal, McDonald’s Corp. said its same store sales in the US fell again last month, extending its longest stretch without comparable growth in the core market in more than a decade. On Monday it posted a 1 percent decline in May in sales for US restaurants open at least 13 months. That marked the sixth month in the past seven when sales dropped in its largest market. McDonald’s has been focusing on improving customer focus through service, value and menu initiatives to stabilize its business. Breakfast remains a robust business for McDonald’s, despite new challenges from rivals. Global same store sales rose 0.9 percent in May due to strong growth in China, the UK and France.
Walmart reorganizes e-commerce
Walmart announced two high-level changes to its e-commerce team on Monday as it pushes to ramp up its online business. The New York Times reports that Walmart indicated that the President of Walmart.com was resigning and Fernando Madeira, who has been the President of Walmart’s Latin American e-commerce was being promoted. Madeira will lead Walmart.com’s domestic and Latin American teams as well as other “growth areas”. Walmart.com has recently hired 1,000 employees in the Silicon Valley as well as an additional 600 people in Brazil. It has also been beefing up its e-commerce centers and has announced three new centers to be located in Texas, Pennsylvania and Indiana.
Hybrid cars lose market share
USA Today is reporting that the number of new hybrid car models being offered to consumers is increasing, but the market share is not keeping pace. A new study from HIS Polk indicates that the market share of hybrid vehicles actually declined in the first quarter of this year compared to last. Lately, hybrid vehicles have been making up about 3 percent of the market share. This year, consumers had 47 choices, almost double the number available in 2009. The Toyota Prius remains the most popular hybrid and accounts for 23 percent of hybrid market share this year. That is down from 55.3 percent in 2011.
Catherine S. McBreen is President of Millionaire Corner. McBreen plans and develops content for Millionaire Corner. Catherine balances editorial content to meet the informational needs of both new and seasoned investors. She designs special monthly surveys on topical issues affecting the economic environment.
McBreen has a B.S. in speech communications from Northwestern University and a J.D. from DePail University College of Law. She is a member of the American Bar Association, the Illinois Bar Association, and the Chicago Bar Association.
Well-known for her expertise in the affluent and retirement arenas, McBreen is a frequent speaker at industry conferences. She has been quoted widely by the financial media, including The Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal, Research, Private Asset Management, On Wall Street, Reuters, Bloomberg News, The Dow Jones Newswires and Worth. Cathy has appeared as a guest on CNBC Closing Bell, First Business Morning News, Neal Cavuto at Fox Business News, ABC and CBS radio.
McBreen is co-author with Spectrem President George H. Walper, Jr. of the book "Get Rich, Stay Rich, Pass It On: The Wealth-Accumulation Secrets of America's Richest Families" (Portfolio, January 2008)
Catherine is the mother of four and is involved in many school and community events.