Gasoline prices fall for fifth straight week
On Monday, the US Energy Information Administration reported that the average price of gasoline dropped to $3.790 per gallon, down 3.8 percent from the 2012 peak of $3.941 reached on April 2nd. According to the Wall Street Journal, the decline is due to the fact that tensions over the Iran nuclear program have eased, demand is down in the US and Europe, some refineries scheduled to close have been brought back online, and crude oil bottlenecks in the supply chain have become unclogged. A 10 percent drop in fuel prices adds about 0.1 percent to disposable household income, according to the EIA, and is positive for the economy.
Stocks began with gloomy Monday but rebound
The Wall Street Journal reports that stocks began Monday with a 68 point decline mid-morning due primarily to the weekend election results from the Eurozone. The market rebounded to close at 13,008, only 29 points lower than Friday. CNBC is reporting that Asian markets are mostly up on Tuesday but European markets are declining.
Europe’s biggest bank beats expectations
HSBC, Europe’s biggest bank, beat earnings expectations with an underlying profit of $7 billion in the first quarter. The progress, according to CNBC, was due primarily to its investment banking income and a fall in US bad debts. HSBC indicates that some of its profits were due to expense cuts, including eliminating 14,000 jobs since last year and exiting non-core businesses.
Bank of America issues Principal Reduction letters
Bank of America announced Monday that the first homeowners should receive offers in the mail this week for principal reduction on home loans as part of the $25 billion mortgage settlement with leading service mortgage servicers and federal and state officials. According to USA Today, more than 200,000 homeowners may qualify for an average monthly savings of 30 percent. Mortgages must have been at least 60 days behind on payments as of January 31st.
Pepsi heirs sue company
The heirs of Richard Ritchie, who founded Pepsi Co., are suing the company over the right to share with the public documents detailing their father’s invention. According to USA Today, the formula for Pepsi was originally invented by a pharmacist and included pepsin and cola nuts, thus leading to the name. Ritchie enhanced the formula in the 1930s and made the brand successful. Apparently a copy of the enhanced formula was given to the company but Ritchie retained a copy for himself. This copy was discovered by the heirs in his personal materials in 2008. The company claims that the documents are company property and can not be made public.
Amazon becomes purveyor of fashion
Amazon’s chairman, Jeff Bezos, said in a recent interview, that Amazon is making a significant investment in fashion to convince top lines to work with them. According to the New York Times, Amazon hopes that top designers such as Michael Kors, Catherine Malandrino, Jack Spade and Tracy Reese will sell through them. While Amazon has a service that competes with Gilt, selling high end items at sale prices, this foray is meant to sell high end fashion at high prices. Amazon’s shipping costs are the same whether it is selling a $10 or $1,000 skirt, and the higher price leads to higher profits. Amazon also owns Zappos.com, MyHabit,
Endless.com, and Shopbop.
Girl Scouts expand to candy bars
Nestle will announce today that it is making a limited edition Nestle Crunch Girl Scout Candy Bar to be sold June through September at retailers nation wide. The candy bars are to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Girl Scouts and will help raise funds for the group. According to USA Today, the candy bars will expand to include three traditional Girl Scout Cookie flavors including Thin Mints, Caramel Coconut, and Peanut Butter Crème. Critics complain that the Girl Scouts should not be supporting unhealthy food choices but Nestle responds that a healthy diet is all about moderation.
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.