Discover to Refund Credit Protection Fees
Discover Financial Services has agreed to pay $200 million in refunds to more than 3.5 million cardholders who bought credit protection services over the phone, plus $14 million in penalties to banking regulators, according to the New York Times. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the FDIC jointly investigated Discover over deceptive telemarketing and sales practices, including misleading customers into thinking that services like credit score tracking and identity theft protection were free. While neither admitting nor denying the allegations, Discover agreed to not engage in similar acts and to pay the penalties.
European Central Bank and German Bundesbank Check Legality of Bond Buying Program
Earlier this month, ECB President Mario Draghi announced that the central bank would buy unlimited amounts of bonds issued by euro member states, provided they put in a formal request for aid and fulfilled specific domestic policy conditions. According to CNBC, Bundesbank was the sole dissenting voice in the decision. The plan calmed markets and was meant to lower the borrowing costs of euro zone states such as Spain and Italy by purchasing their bonds. But the Germans felt that the ECB is venturing beyond its powers and now wants to make sure that the bond buying program does not violate the ban in EU treaties of direct financing of state deficits. These legal actions may shake up markets on Tuesday. Asian markets were mixed but European markets are mostly down. The Dow fell 20 points on Monday to close at 13,558.
LA Billionaire and Guggenheim to buy LA Kings, Staples Center
Reuters is reporting that LA billionaire, Patrick Soon-Shiong and Guggenheim Partners are making a bid for Anshutz Entertainment Group or AEG. AEG owns the Los Angeles Kings, the Staples Center in LA and more than 120 sports or entertainment venues around the world. AEG is close to breaking ground on a $1.2 billion football stadium in downtown LA. Soon-Shiong, a surgeon and one-time professor at UCLA, is rumored to be LA’s wealthiest man after the creation and sale of two pharmaceutical companies. Guggenhiem has more than $160 billion in global assets under management.
Facebook stock falls after Barron’s slam
The stock of Facebook took another hit on Monday after Barron’s magazine published an article that said the stock was “still too pricey”. According to the Associated Press, Barron’s believes that Facebook has not figured out how to advertise on mobile devices now that Facebook’s users have migrated. The stock fell $2.03 or 8.9 percent on Monday to close at $20.83 per share. The stock went public at a price of $38 per share in May. Barron’s believes the price should be around $15 per share.
Kellogg to sell cereal and snacks in China
Kellogg, the maker of Frosted Flakes, Pop-Tarts and Eggos, is hoping to expand to China, according to USAToday. Kellogg currently gets most of its revenue from North America, however, China is predicted to be the largest food and beverage market within the next five years. Cereal is not common within China, however, as milk consumption has grown, so has interest in cereal. General Mills, the maker of Cheerios and Wheaties has already entered China through a partnership. Kellogg will enter the market through a partnership with Wilmar International, a Singapore based agribusiness. Kellogg also owns Pringles, Cheez-Its and Keebler’s, and will promote those products in China as well.
Hotels are sprucing up interiors
Hotel owners are increasing their spending on improvements to their properties this year, including upgrading guest rooms, restaurants , technology and other amenities. The New York Times, indicates that spending will reach $5 billion this year, the most since 2008. Guest satisfaction with hotel rooms had fallen dramatically in recent years as hotels cut back on expenditures. Occupancy rates this year, however, are the highest since 2007 and rates for rooms are at their highest since 2008, thus providing capital for improvements. Starwood, Hyatt and Marriott are among the chains upgrading their hotels.
Halloween Spending Up this year
A survey done on behalf of the National Retail Federation indicates that spending on the Halloween holiday is expected to increase $8 billion, up 17.5 percent from last year. CNBC reports that seven in ten Americans will celebrate this year and the average person will spend $79.82 on decorations, costumes and candy. That is up from $72.31 last year. The largest part of the budget will go to costumes. Families with children will spend about $1.1 billion on their children’s costumes, slightly more than last year. Adults, however, will spend $1.4 billion on costume. Pet costumes will represent about $370 million in sales.
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.