US consumer confidence rises on better job outlook
U.S. consumer confidence jumped this month on a better outlook for hiring and overall growth, supporting other signs that show the economy could accelerate in 2014.
The Conference Board says that its index of consumer confidence rose to 78.1 in December, up from 72 in the previous month. November's figure was revised up from 70.4.
Consumer confidence is nearly back to where it was before the partial government shutdown in October. Steady job gains and a surging stock market have made Americans more optimistic about the economy and hiring both now and in the next six months.
US home price gains slow in October from September
U.S. home prices rose in October from the previous year at the fastest pace in almost eight years. But price gains slowed in most U.S. cities from September to October, suggesting the increases are leveling off.
The Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller 20-city home price index rose 0.2 percent from September to October, down from a 0.7 percent increase from August to September.
Monthly price gains slowed in 18 of the 20 cities tracked by the index. And prices declined in nine cities, including Chicago, Denver, and Washington. For the year, prices are still strong, reflecting big gains in earlier months. They have risen 13.6 percent over the past 12 months, the fastest since February 2006.
Machinists chief once called pensions 'sacred'
The national union chief who has forced a vote on a pension-freezing Boeing contract proposal once called those retirement plans sacred and derided alternatives as risky.
In statements during the past few years, Tom Buffenbarger has advised union members about the importance of protecting defined-benefit pensions. He also warned that the union shouldn't "fall prey to the trap that's been set elsewhere by other companies and other industries where we don't have pensions for new hires."
Boeing workers, predominantly in the Puget Sound area, are set to vote Friday on a proposal that would freeze existing pensions and deny fixed pensions to new employees.
Since machinists rejected an initial contract offer in November, a total of 22 states have submitted bids to secure work on Boeing's new 777X aircraft. Boeing is vowing to produce the new 777X airplane in the region if the contract is approved.
Target reveals gift card snafu
Target is getting hit with another lump of coal this holiday season.
The nation's second-largest discount retailer says that an unidentified number of gift cards sold over the holidays were not properly activated. The Minneapolis chain says the number of cards affected was less than 0.1 percent of the total sold and that it will honor the affected cards.
Holders of Target gift cards can check the balance by following instructions on the back of the card. Customers can bring faulty cards to any Target service desk or call 800-544-2943 for help.
Revlon to exit China business to cut costs
Revlon said it is leaving China and cutting 1,100 jobs as part of a cost-cutting measure.
Most of the jobs cuts will be in China. Revlon's operations there make up only 2 percent of the company's sales, which have been declining. Global sales fell 1.3 percent to $1.02 billion in the nine months through September, compared with the same period in 2012. Revenue in Asia dropped 3.5 percent to $166.8 during that time.
The departure will save the makeup company $11 million a year, Revlon said in a regulatory filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Revlon expects to take a $22 million restructuring charge, mostly this year. About $10 million of that charge is for employee severance and other benefits, and about $12 million consists of product discounts and inventory write-offs.
All-clear coming for ND town near oil train derail
A southeastern North Dakota town narrowly escaped tragedy when a train carrying crude oil derailed and exploded nearby, the mayor said Tuesday, calling for changes in how the fuel is transported across the U.S.
No one was hurt in Monday's derailment of the mile-long train that sent a great fireball and plumes of black smoke skyward about a mile from the small town of Casselton. The fire had been so intense as darkness fell that investigators couldn't get close enough to count the number of burning cars.
Worries about the smoke plume prompted officials to ask Casselton's 2,400 residents to voluntarily evacuate Monday evening, and most did. The recommendation was lifted Tuesday afternoon, but officials were urging residents south of the derailment to remain vigilant about changing conditions, Cass County Commissioner Ken Pawluk said.
Residents said the blasts endured for hours after the derailment, shaking their homes and businesses. A BNSF spokeswoman said 18 tanker cars burned.
Apple: We had no role in NSA's alleged iPhone hack
Apple Inc. says it played no role in the National Security Agency's alleged efforts to hack the iPhone, explaining that it was unaware of a recently revealed program apparently aimed at turning the best-selling smartphone into an improvised listening device.
The Cupertino, California-based company said it has never worked with the NSA to deliberately weaken its products, promising that it would "defend our customers from security attacks, regardless of who's behind them."
Netflix plans 50 percent pay hike for CEO Hastings
Netflix Chairman and CEO Reed Hastings is getting a 50 percent pay bump in 2014 after a year in which shares of the online video subscription company quadrupled to an all-time high.
A regulatory filing shows that Hastings' annual salary will climb from $2 million to $3 million next year, and his annual stock option allowance also will rise by $1 million to $3 million. The $6 million in total pay compares to $4 million in 2013, when his pay doubled.
Netflix Inc. shares hit an all-time high price of $389.16 in October after ending 2012 at $92.59. The company this year released original content like its "House of Cards" and "Orange Is The New Black" series, both of which have been hits with viewers.
By The Associated Press=
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 72.37 points, or 0.4 percent, to 16,576.66. The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 7.29 points, or 0.4 percent, to 1,848.36 and the technology-heavy Nasdaq composite rose 22.39 points, or 0.5 percent, to close out 2013 at 4,176.59.
Benchmark oil fell 87 cents on Tuesday to close at $98.42 on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
Wholesale gasoline fell 2 cents to close at $2.79 a gallon. Heating oil was unchanged at $3.08 per gallon. Natural gas futures closed at $4.23 per thousand cubic feet, down 4 percent.
Brent crude, a benchmark used to price international crudes used by many U.S. refiners, fell 41 cents to at $110.80.