Cold March Keeps Shoppers’ Spending Tepid
NEW YORK — So much for new spring shorts and T-shirts. As cold weather lingered across most of the country, Americans shopped modestly in March. U.S. retailers reported a key revenue figure rose slightly during the month, as shoppers held back on spending because of the cold weather across the nation, particularly the Midwest and East Coast, and continued fears about the economy. Economists monitor consumer spending because it accounts for more than 70 percent of economic activity. According to a preliminary tally of 15 retailers by the International Council of Shopping Centers, revenue in stores open at least a year rose 1.6 percent, or 2.5 percent excluding drugstores. That was below expectations, said Michael Niemira, chief economist at the ICSC. Weather was a factor, with March being the coldest in seven years. The comparison with last March was especially tough. Last year saw the warmest March on record, according to weather research firm Planalytics Inc. “Wintry weather conditions ...
Economy Gains Steam Adding 236,000 Jobs; Unemployment Rate Falls to 7.7%
For some time time now, the American economy has been a strange dichotomy. On the one hand, we’re in the midst of an historically strong four-year bull market, yet the unemployment rate remains stubbornly high. The real estate market is showing impressive strength, yet GDP growth is sluggish. The result is a situation where consumers, businesses, and even the government have become overly cautious, each waiting for the other to make the first move before they start behaving like we’re in a real recovery. Last month, however, the situation began to look a bit brighter. The Labor Department announced that the economy added 157,000 jobs in January, but revised its previous estimates to show that job growth in the later half of 2012 was much better than expected. And this morning’s report — which shows that the economy added 236,000 jobs in February, and that the unemployment rate fell to 7.7% — is more evidence that the thawing of the labor market has picked up speed of late. Looking ...
Mergers and Acquisitions Boom! Is This a Good Sign for the Economy?
Wall Street dealmakers are off to a busy start to 2013, as some of corporate America’s most recognizable names have become involved in multi-billion-dollar mergers and acquisitions. Just yesterday, American Airlines and US Airways announced they would be merging in an $11 billion deal, while private equity firm 3G and Warren Buffett‘s Berkshire Hathaway announced a $28 billion joint acquisition of food conglomerate H.G. Heinz. And these two deals follow hard upon $24.4 billion leveraged buyout of Dell by private equity firm Silver Lake Partners and the firm’s founder, Michael Dell. Indeed, according to data from Deallogic, U.S. companies have spent $219 billion on mergers and acquisitions so far in 2013, a sharp increase from 2012, when firms spent just $85 billion during the same period. And U.S. firms are on pace to have the biggest year in M&A activity since 2000. While all this activity will be surely benefit shareholders of acquired firms — as well as lots of Wall ...
Personal Finance Daily: Will American–US Airways merger create fare hikes?
If American Airlines and US Airways merge, could that reduce overall capacity and send prices skyward? Also in Personal Finance Daily, learn about surprisingly common tax-filing errors, get tips on lobbying your local government, and discover seven shining energy stocks.
AMR Union Agrees to Labor Terms
The third and final big union at AMR agreed to basic labor terms in the event that the American Airlines parent merges with US Airways, further smoothing the carriers' path to a potential marriage.