The Dow's unprecedented benchmark, Samsung's iFine and bitcoins in space top our roundup of the day's top business news stories.
Dow Closes above 16,000
The Dow Jones industrial average closed above 16,000 on Thursday for the first time in its more than century-old history. The unprecedented accomplishment followed the release earlier in the day of a better-than-forecast jobless claims report and, reports CNN, “was the latest major milestone to fall in a bull market that’s riding the powerful combination of a slow-but-steady economy, solid corporate profits and record low interest rates, thanks to the Federal Reserve.” The Dow jumped 109 points to close at 16,010, a 0.7 percent gain on the day. Also on Thursday, the Standard and Poor's 500 was shy 4 points shy of 1800, and the Nasdaq composite 31 points from 4000.
Samsung Ordered to Pay iFine to Apple
Samsung Electronics must pay Apple $290 million in the patent dispute involving technology used in iPhones and iPads, a federal jury ruled on Thursday, USA TODAY reports. The jury deliberated for two days. Apple and Samsung are embroiled in worldwide patent litigation disputes spanning multiple global courts. Apple was seeking $380 million. "For Apple, this case has always been about more than patents and money," Apple spokeswoman Kristin Huguet said in a statement. "It has been about innovation and the hard work that goes into inventing products that people love." Apple's legal victory brings its damages haul against Samsung to $929 million, including an order in March that awarded $599 million over 14 products and one in April for $40.5 million.
Branson to Accept Bitcoins for Space Travel
Sir Richard Branson announced Friday that he will accept bitcoin as payment for anyone that wants to get involved with his commercial space flight venture. Virgin Galactic, the name of Branson’s space effort, has already accepted its first bitcoin payment from someone in Hawaii. Branson was an early investor in the new digital currency, and said the woman who paid for her space flight made “quite a lot of money getting into bitcoin early on.” Branson said he converted the bitcoin into actual dollars in order to set the price on the space venture and make it easier to give her the money back if she changes her mind about going into space. Branson believes many of his space travelers will use bitcoin to pay for the flight because the type of person who invests in the new currency is likely to be the kind of person who wants to be on the first commercial flight into outer space.
Wal-Mart Moves Up Cyber Monday to Saturday
Wal-Mart Friday announced that it would have its big savings day for online purchases on Saturday, Nov. 30, two days after Thanksgiving, rather than waiting for the ceremonial Cyber Monday sales that had been the norm the last few years. Wal-Mart says it will offer significant savings on electronics on Nov. 30 and the prices will run through Dec. 6. That will include prices on goods include Xbox and iPad products. "Every year there's a bigger appetite for Cyber Monday, so we're giving our customers great deals and rolling back our free shipping minimum to $35, helping them extend their budgets this holiday season," Wal-Mart said in a statement. Cyber Monday was created by electronics stores as a response to Black Friday, which involved in-store sales the day after Thanksgiving, although this year many stores are opening on Thursday to get an early jump on Black Friday as well.
Google Offers its Own Debit Card
Google, wanting to get more involved in the commerce end of the Internet, announced it will offer a prepaid debit card that will allow consumers to make purchases with funds they have in their Google wallet. The card can also retrieve cash from ATMs, according to a Google company statement. Google Wallet is a smartphone app and online payment service that allows for purchases and money transfers. The debit card will allow Google to make inroads in online commerce and allow the company to monitor purchases to learn more about consumer shopping habits. The card will be free and will not include any usage fees from Google, although the ATMS might require fees.
North Dakota Named Best-Run State
For the second consecutive year, North Dakota has been named America’s best-run state, according to an annual survey conducted by 24/7 Wall St. The criteria used in the extensive survey are financial data, the services each state provides and their residents' standard of living. California was named the worst-run state for the third consecutive year. Rounding out the top five best-run states are Wyoming, Iowa, Nebraska and Utah. Immediately following California as the worst-run states are New Mexico, Illinois, Rhode Island and Nevada.