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APA’s philosophy is to work closely with our clients to develop an in-depth understanding of their unique needs and objectives. We then customize a municipal bond portfolio that best meets their specific goals and needs. APA manages high quality municipal bond portfolios in four strategies: Short-Term, Intermediate-Term, High Income, and Taxable.

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News Analysis for the Investor on Nov. 5, 2012

Companies change to part-time workers due to healthcare law

| BY Catherine McBreen


Companies to hire part-time workers to avoid Obamacare

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that many companies that employ low-wage employees are moving toward offering part-time jobs to mitigate Obamacare’s requirement that companies provide health care or pay a fee.  Restaurants, hotels and retailers have started or will be starting to limit schedules of hourly workers to below 30 hours per week.  That is the threshold at which employers would have to offer insurance or pay a $2,000 fine for each worker.  That portion of the law will go into effect in 2014.

Asia and the next financial crisis

A report by Capital Economics, reported by CNBC, warns that the Asian economies could cause the next financial crisis as private sector credit surges. Hong Kong, Vietnam, and China have the most private credit and as long as their economies continue to grow, the economy will remain in balance.  In Ireland, credit usage grew rapidly, along with home prices.  When the bubble burst, however, the economy was thrown into bankruptcy.  Experts worry about similar challenges, especially in China, where real estate prices are increasing.  Asian markets and European markets are both down today due to the uncertainty of the US election.

Apple paid only 1.9 percent tax rate on earnings outside of US

The Associated Press reports that Apple paid an income tax rate of only 1.9 percent on its earnings outside of the US in its latest fiscal year.  Foreign earnings totaled $36.8 billion on which Apple paid $713 million in taxes.  Foreign earnings were up 53 percent from 2011. The tech giant’s corporate tax rate for US earnings is 35 percent.  Apple may pay some taxes to the countries in which the products are sold but it uses a technique know as “Double Irish with a Dutch sandwich” which routes earnings through various countries to avoid taxes.  Apple does set aside part of its foreign profits which could make them subject to US tax in the future.

Cargo industry suffers huge losses due to Sandy

USA Today is reporting that the cargo industry suffered an estimated $1 billion in damages due to Hurricane Sandy.  The Port of New York and New Jersey’s maritime container terminals remain closed and ships are diverting to other cities. Additionally, shippers face labor and maintenance for trucks and trains that still are not moving through the flooded area.  Estimates are that the industry is losing $80 million per day.  Blocking cargo threatens the entire economy because businesses are unable to receive their supplies. 

Greece votes this week have big implications

Greece’s coalition government faces two important votes this week in order to secure the next portion of its bailout loan from creditors.  According to the Associated Press, key votes on the budget bill and an omnibus bill that allows for further cuts will be voted upon, however, one of the minority parties threatens to vote against the bills. The bills need only a simple majority to pass.  The bills must be passed prior to the meeting of the Eurozone finance ministers on November 12. Meanwhile, Greek workers plan on striking throughout the week.

Coffee prices fall

Arabica coffee futures in recent weeks have been well below 2011 levels when prices peaked above $3 per pound.  The Wall Street Journal indicates that coffee futures closed at $1.53 per pound last week.  Brazilian coffee growers are storing their beans in order to raise prices.  But Colombia and Central American growers just finished their harvest and are pushing prices lower. Brazil accounts for one third of the world’s coffee production.  But Central American growers cannot hold their crops and continue to try to sell their harvests.  This may force the Brazilians to sell their beans and cause prices to drop even lower.  I guess this is a good time to grab a cup of coffee!

About the Author

Catherine McBreen

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.