Icahn urges Apple to complete a share buyback. Bank of America liable for mortgage fraud and Michael Jackson is the top earning dead celebrity.
US unemployment applications drop to 350,000
The number of people seeking US unemployment benefits dropped 12,000 to a seasonally adjusted 350,000 last week, although the total was elevated by technical problems in California for the third straight week. The Associated Press reports that the four-week average jumped to 348,000. Falling applications generally leads to more hiring, however, in recent months, hiring has slowed rather than accelerated.
Chinese economy shows signs of growth
The New York Times indicates that the Purchasing Manager’s Index of manufacturing activity released in China by HSBC reached a seven-month high of 50.9. That was up from 50.2 in September and higher than many economists had expected. Readings above 50 indicate expansion in an economy. The Chief Economist at HSBC believes that the Chinese economy bottomed out in the third quarter and is expanding in the fourth quarter and that the momentum is likely to continue.
Bank of America liable for fraud in Countrywide Mortgage loans
A jury found Bank of America liable for fraud related to loans Countrywide Financial sold to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in a program called the “Hustle” in 2007. The Wall Street Journal reports that this is the first time a bank has been found liable for fraud for its dealings during the mortgage boom. According to the government, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac suffered gross losses of $850 million and a net loss of $131 million on the Hustle program. The government alleges Countrywide made $165 million on the program. Countrywide was guilty of processing mortgage applications at high speed with little checking for fraud, misrepresentations or other potential wrongdoing. Fifty seven percent of Hustle loans defaulted.
Icahn urges Apple to buyback $150 billion of shares
Billionaire Carl Icahn has asked Apple to commence an immediate tender offer of $150 billion. CNBC reports that Icahn made the demand in a letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook. While the letter praises Apple’s leadership, he believes excess cash should be used for the buyback. Icahn currently owns 4.7 million shares of the company with a value of $2.45 billion.
And the dead celebrity who made the most is………..
Forbes is reporting that Michael Jackson earned $160 million over the past year, despite the fact that he is dead. This is the third time in the past five years that Jackson has been the top-earning dead celebrity. Madonna was the top earning living celebrity making $125 million in the past year…but not even close to her dead friend. Jackson earned a large portion from two new Cirque du Soleil shows. He also continues to earn from his music and from his half of the Sony catalog that owns hits by the Beatles, Lady Gaga and Taylor Swift. Last year Jackson was eclipsed by dead celebrity Elizabeth Taylor (a newbie to the dead celebrity list). This year Taylor fell to fourth place. Elvis Presley is in second place and Charles Schulz, creator of Peanuts, is in third place.
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.