McClatchy-Tribune News Service
Business Budget for Friday, August 30, 2013
Updated at 8 a.m. EDT (1200 UTC)
This budget is now available on MCT Direct at http://www.mctdirect.com, with direct links to stories and art. See details at the end of the budget.
^Blind Comcast executive developing a talking TV channel guide
Comcast expects the talking guide to come with its next-generation X2 platform in 2014.
800 (with trims) by Bob Fernandez. MOVED
^Analysis: Tesla may build safe electric cars; when will they be affordable?
What Tesla has accomplished is remarkable, and it appears on track to become the first successful automotive startup in a century. Investors certainly think so, having pushed the stock up 323 percent this year.
But whether the bullish bet pays off in the long term will depend on whether Tesla can break out of its niche of selling government-supported cars to rich people. Despite the hot start, some huge obstacles remain in Tesla's path.
750 by Brian Thevenot. MOVED
^MORE BUSINESS NEWS
^Today's market report
600 by MarketWatch staff.
^Auto review: Infiniti's Q sedan courts Gen X
Q is Infiniti shorthand for a more sophisticated, aspirational re-imagination of a brand that has long played runner-up to Lexus and other luxury marques.
For the foreseeable future, all Infiniti models will start with Q, including the first Q out of the gate: the new 2014 Q50 midsize sport sedan, which went on sale in August with a starting price of $37,605, including destination and handling.
1000 by Susan Carpenter. MOVED
^Auto review: Countryman a grand interpretation of original Mini
They clung to the road with tires and wheels no larger than American dinner plates.
Nonetheless, Mini's goofy little front-driver turned into corners with real zeal, zigging and zagging like a twice-indicted five-term congressman.
They were big, big grins in a small white-topped can.
Just don't expect to find a lot of those old virtues in new models of the Mini, which are becoming more Midi. Not that the new Minis don't have their own strengths on a much grander scale.
1000 by Terry Box. MOVED
^Auto review: Activehybrid 3 is BMW's grand experiment
Is it worth it? It's a close call.
700 by Mark Phelan. MOVED
^Auto review: Tesla packs power, style into cutting-edge Model S
Case in point: electric cars. Battery technology limits their effectiveness as a practical solution for many motorists, since electric cars travel 100 miles at best, as opposed to 300 miles or more in a conventional car. And electric cars take as long as 12 hours to recharge, as opposed to a five-minute fill-up.
They also boast high sticker prices, since most automakers lack the economy of scale to produce them affordably. This saps any savings you'd realize by choosing an electric car over one powered by gasoline, even though electric car buyers are entitled to a $7,500 federal tax credit.
So you can only imagine the envy that the Tesla Model S Performance model must evoke in corporate suites across the automotive world.
1300 by Larry Printz. MOVED
These features regularly move on Friday:
300 by Tom Hudson. MOVED
550 by Brad Bergholdt. MOVED
650 by Mark Phelan.
550 by Larry Printz.
550 by Paul Brand. MOVED
^PERSONAL FINANCE COLUMNS
These features move Friday for Sunday release:
800 by Gail MarksJarvis. MOVED
1000 by Gregory Karp.
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^NOW FROM MCT _ VIDEO
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^BEST OF BUSINESS: THE WEEK'S TOP FEATURES
EDITORS: The following are among the best McClatchy-Tribune News Service business stories that moved this week and are still suitable for use this weekend and beyond.
^Japan plans to lift economy by getting new moms back to work
JAPAN-WOMEN-BIZPLUS:LA _ Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has an unprecedented plan to boost economic growth and shore up his country's shrinking labor force _ help more women return to work.
About two-thirds of Japanese women leave the workforce after the birth of their first child. Most do not return for years, if ever. It's a major reason the employment rate of Japanese women is one of the lowest in developed economies, particularly among those married and well-educated.
1250 (with trims) by Don Lee in Tokyo. MOVED
^How 'Teslanaires' made fortunes on Tesla Motors stock
PFP-TESLANAIRES:SJ _ In June of last year, Patrick Hop poured his life savings _ $30,000 _ into Tesla Motors Inc. stock, then trading at about $32 per share. When the stock hit $115 this July, he dumped all his shares and invested in options on Tesla stock, which are high-risk bets on the stock's future performance.
Now Hop, a 22-year-old senior from Millbrae, Calif., studying applied math at the University of California-Berkeley, estimates he's made about $250,000 _ at least on paper.
"I have a high risk tolerance, but I don't think the stock is that risky," he said.
Hop is far from alone in being bullish on Tesla, which has developed a cultlike following not seen since the early days of Apple. The company's stock has skyrocketed more than 300 percent this year, and some analysts say shares could double again within the next three to four years as Detroit races to play catch-up.
Along the way, scores of individual investors have placed heavy _ and extremely risky, many experts would warn _ bets on Tesla's stock, which is one of the most volatile on the Nasdaq.
1150 (with trims) by Dana Hull. MOVED
^Swashbuckling nerds at Lockheed test next-generation warfighter
TESTPILOTS-BIZPLUS:FT _ Naval Academy graduate Bill Gigliotti knows the stereotypes people conjure up when he tells them he's a test pilot.
The heroic image of American test pilots goes as far back as 1938, when Clark Gable flew a fictitious experimental flight on an aircraft known as a B-17 bomber. Other films, such as Tom Cruise's "Top Gun," added "reckless" and "cocky" to the descriptions.
But Gigliotti and other pilots who are instrumental in developing the nation's next-generation warfighter _ Lockheed Martin's F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Lightning II _ are nothing like "Iceman" and "Maverick."
Instead, they are an unusual combination of nerdy engineer and brave trailblazer.
900 (with trim) by Yamil Berard in Fort Worth, Texas. MOVED
^For some returning veterans, police work is a natural choice
WRK-VETERANS-POLICE:CC _ Unlike many veterans who leave military service with no idea where their next job is coming from, Star Cazador had it all figured out _ what she would do, where she would do it, and how much she would like it. Taking a cue from fellow Marines who sought careers in law enforcement after discharge, Cazador applied to the Santa Clara County (Calif.) Sheriff's Office. It seemed to her like a natural transition.
Although many veterans feel that law enforcement is a natural fit, some former soldiers resent being typecast. Others say the profession is the least suitable career choice for veterans who are still working out emotional issues from deployments. And some veterans consider a career in law enforcement because they consider it one of the few viable options in a challenging job market.
1000 (with trims) by Gary Peterson. MOVED
^Big spenders from China have outlet malls elated
USCHINA-OUTLETS-BIZPLUS:SA _ They came empty-handed, but they left clutching loaded shopping bags.
Throngs of Chinese tourists swarmed Vacaville (Calif.) Premium Outlets on recent weekends, scooping up luxury handbags, designer sunglasses and American jeans. With prices that are often 50 percent cheaper than goods at home, the Chinese aren't shy about opening their wallets.
The Chinese have long shopped in New York and Los Angeles, but many of them are now turning to suburban outlet malls where they can get more bang for their buck.
750 by Richard Chang. MOVED
^High-tech food delivery aims to connect restaurants, diners
FOODDELIVERY:OX _ Fledgling food-delivery startups using new communications technologies are changing the dining experience for some diners.
Palo Alto, Calif.-based DoorDash, Berkeley, Calif.-based SpoonRocket and Chicago-based GrubHub Seamless each offer a different approach to delivering food fast and at reasonable prices.
850 (with trims) by George Avalos. MOVED
^Higher profits draw some wheat farmers to corn, beans
FARM-WHEAT:MS _ Jay Nord surveyed his wheat field from the seat of a combine as he mowed down this year's crop.
The impressive machine is a new Case IH with 60 percent more horsepower than his old combine and the ability to harvest one-third more grain with each pass.
Of course, if he grew only wheat, he wouldn't be driving it.
The big money to reinvest in new equipment for Nord's Red River Valley farm comes from his soybean and cornfields. Wheat makes up a shrinking percentage of his production _ and it's a similar story at farms throughout the state.
Once the lifeblood of Minneapolis, the nation's onetime flour milling capital, wheat's presence has been fading. Minnesota's wheat acreage in 2012 was 60 percent less than it was during the grain's heyday in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
1200 (with trims) by Mike Hughlett in Wolverton, Minn. MOVED
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