The world adds two million millionaires, Harvey Davidson goes electric and a courtroom defeat for Lance Armstrong. Read about these and other of the day's top business news stories
The Millionaires Club Added Nearly Two Million New Members Last Year
Nearly 2 million people around the world became millionaires last year, a year-over-year increase of 15 percent, The Associated Press reports. The increase raised the number of millionaires to an unprecedented 13.7 million. A report from consultant Capgemini and the Royal Bank of Canada estimates the combined net worth of millionaires at $53 trillion in 2013, up 14 percent from the previous year and the second biggest increase since the two companies began issuing wealth reports 14 years ago. Japan gained 425,000 millionaires, a rise of 22 percent, its biggest year-over-year increase since 2000. Japan's was the largest percentage gain among the 25 countries with the most millionaires. The report is based on a survey this year of more than 4,500 people in 23 countries.
Born to be Electric
Harley-Davidson has introduced its first electric motorcycle, which is not expected to hit the market for several more years. The sleek model can go from 9 to 60 mph in less than four seconds, The Chicago Tribune reports. The bike isn't in production yet. The company plans to showcase the models across the country so riders can provide feedback, which will then be used to refine the bike There is currently (no pun intended) almost no market for full-size electric motorcycles. The millions of two-wheeled electric vehicles sold each year are almost exclusively scooters and low-powered bikes that appeal to Chinese commuters. But analysts say that Harley has the heavy metal marketing power to create demand. Harley sold more than 260,000 old school motorcycles last year. Some 2,400 electric motorcycles are expected to be sold this year.
Quanta Computer on the Clock to Mass Produce First Apple Smartwatch
Taiwan's Quanta Computer Inc will start mass production of Apple Inc's first smartwatch in July, The Chicago Tribune reports.The as yet unnamed watch will be Apple's first foray into a niche product category. Quanta’s work for Apple has thus far focused on laptops and iPods, product lines seen as in decline. Commercial launch of the new watch may come as soon as October, sources told the Tribune. Apple’s smartwatch will feature a display that likely measures 2.5 inches diagonally and is slightly rectangular, one of the sources said. Apple expects to ship 50 million units within the first year of the product's release, although these types of initial estimates can be subject to change. The watch is currently in trial production at Quanta, which will be the main manufacturer, accounting for at least 70 percent of final assembly, the source said.
Judge Says ‘No’ to Lance Armstrong
A federal judge denied a request from former cycling champion Lance Armstrong to dismiss a whistleblower lawsuit against him and his former cycling team for defrauding the U.S. government by using banned performance-enhancing drugs. U.S. District Judge Robert Wilkins said the complaints were strong and had merit, saying they were "rife with allegations that Armstrong had knowledge of the doping, and that he made false statements to conceal the doping and the attendant obligation which would have resulted if the government had known of the doping." The cycling team was sponsored by the U.S. Postal Service, which is trying to receive damages for Armstrong’s wrongdoing. Armstrong had his seven Tour de France victories taken away from him in 2012 by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency for his role in the doping scheme.
Oracle Misses Earnings Expectations
The software maker Oracle saw quarterly earnings and revenue fail to reach analysts’ expectations Thursday, and the report sent shares lower in late-hours trading. The company posted fiscal fourth-quarter earnings, excluding items, of 92 cents per share, up from 87 cents a share in the year-earlier period. Revenue increased to $11.32 billion from $10.95 billion a year ago. Analysts contacted by Thomson Reuters thought the company would report earnings of 95 cents a share on $11.48 billion in revenue. Oracle says its quarterly profit fell 4.2 percent to $3.65 billion from $3.81 billion a year ago.
New York Officials Approve Medical Marijuana
New York state leaders have agreed to legalize medical marijuana for use in the Empire State. Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the drug will be used for severely ill patients, and will only be administered by doctors under the direction of the state’s health department. The "Compassionate Care Act" negotiated by Cuomo and lawmakers does not allow the drug to be sold in plant form or smoked; it can only be administered through an oil-base or vaporizer. State Sen. Diane Savino, one of the bill sponsors, said marijuana can be prescribed for at least six diseases, including epilepsy, AIDS, ALS and neuropathy. The program will not be put into use until 2016 to allow for the creation of organizations to grow the drug and others to operate as dispensaries.