Oil prices up on stimulus hopes
Oil prices rose to $116 per barrel in international markets today due to hopes for stimulus measures from the central banks in the US and Europe, as well as a slow restart from refineries in the Gulf after Hurricane Isaac. According to Reuters, markets are anticipating actions from a meeting of the European Central Bank on Thursday. If the US unemployment report is negative on Friday, markets anticipate the Federal Reserve will announce QE3 next week. While the supply of oil has been strong, demand has been down. But Gulf Coast production has not yet resumed, keeping prices high while tensions bubble between Israel and Iran. The Dow closed up 90 points on Friday ending at 13,090. Markets were closed Monday due to the Labor Day holiday. European and Asian markets are mostly negative on Tuesday.
Toys R Us waives layaway fee
As the holiday season begins to approach, Toys R Us is making its layaway program easier to use by waiving any fees. The Associated Press indicates that the $5 service fee will be waived for purchases made from September 4 to October 31. There will be no minimum purchase price and orders must be picked up by December 16. Layaway programs re-emerged after the start of the recent Recession. Toys R Us implemented its program in 2009 for large items and broadened it to all items in 2011. Toys R Us has 874 stores, including its Babies R Us stores, in the US.
Samsung reviews suppliers for labor violations
Samsung said it will inspect 250 Chinese companies that make products for the South Korean firm to ensure no labor laws are broken, according to Reuters. A US based group indicated that seven children under the age of 16 were working at an HEG Electronics facility in China, however, Samsung reports its audit indicated inadequate management and excessive overtime, but no child labor. Samsung will conduct inspections of 105 suppliers in China by the end of September and another 144 firms by year end. This action comes after similar actions by its rival Apple earlier this year.
Hogs face slaughtering machines
As the cost of grain continues to increase due to the drought, the number of hogs that are slaughtered also increases. The Wall Street Journal reports that the pace of slaughter for hogs has increased by 16 percent since mid-July compared to the usual 4 to 6 percent generally seen this time of year. Grain prices doubled between mid-2007 and 2008 and the number of hogs being slaughtered jumped from the monthly average of eight to nine million to 10 million. Expect similar reactions this year, as farmers choose to slaughter the hogs rather than feed them with expensive grain. Ultimately the price of pork will increase.
Survey finds interest in Apple TV
Eighty eight percent of current Apple customers would be interested in buying an Apple television, according to USAToday. A survey shows that consumers want to merge their home and mobile content. The features of most interest to consumers would be Wi-Fi, cloud storage and synching. While Apple has yet to announce that it will enter the TV field, consumers are ready for its entrance.
Job seekers must be familiar with software applications in their field
According to July figures from the Labor Department, 40.7 percent of individuals of the unemployed have been out of work 27 weeks or more. The Washington Post reports that one of the key criteria used when making an employment decision is whether the individual has stayed current with the technology used within their field. This ranges from lawyers to marketers. Even if the individual has been within a field for a number of years and has had no reason to learn the skill, employers assess that individual’s competence by whether they have been willing to proactively teach themselves new things. Experts indicate that even if you are currently employed, it is always a good idea to take extra classes to keep yourself current with changing technology and other skills.
Tooth fairy averaging $3 per tooth
USA Today reports that kids found an average $3 per tooth under their pillows this year, up 15 percent from last year. Some received as much as $20 per tooth. Teachers say that tooth inflation causes children to lose perspective of the value of money. Visa on Tuesday is launching an app to determine the average payoff a child can expect based upon the parent’s age, gender and geography. It also shows how much the parent may have received when he or she was 8.
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.