The Week: Most Recent Business Posts recent posts.en-usThu, 18 Sep 2014 12:25:00 -0400http://theweek.com Recent Business Posts from THE WEEKThu, 18 Sep 2014 12:25:00 -0400Everything you need to know about Alibaba's blockbuster IPO<img src="" /></P><p class="p1"><span class="s1">For weeks, Wall Street has been working itself into a frenzy over Alibaba's potentially record-breaking IPO on Friday, Sept. 19, said Chris Wright at <em>Forbes</em>. But as is so often the case when internet companies go public, hype can quickly become hyperbole. So what exactly does the Chinese e-commerce giant do to warrant a market value of more than $170 billion, three times bigger than General Motors? </span>"It's almost easier to list what Alibaba doesn't do," said </span>Mark Broad at <em>BBC</em><span>. As China's biggest online commerce company, </span>Alibaba<span> owns several wildly popular and successful sites: </span>Taobao<span>, an eBay-like...</span></p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/sergio-hernandez" ><span class="byline">Sergio Hernandez</span></a>Thu, 18 Sep 2014 12:25:00 -0400Is this the first sign of rising inflation?<img src="" /></P><p>As <em>Business Insider</em>'s Joe Weisenthal points out, August was a stellar month for wage growth. Month-on-month wage growth rocketed to 0.4 percent after being flat in July. It was by far the best showing in a year:</p><p ><br />(<em>Bureau of Labor Statistics</em>/<em>Business Insider)</em></p><p>Why is this such a big deal? Well, wages are one of the key factors that the Federal Reserve is watching alongside the unemployment and underemployment rates as signifiers of labor market slack. Rising wages are a sign that employers are bidding up the price of labor, indicating that the supply of job seekers can't keep up with growing demand...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/john-aziz" ><span class="byline">John Aziz</span></a>Thu, 18 Sep 2014 11:17:00 -0400Why Microsoft was smart to spend $2.5 billion on a low-fi game based on computerized Lego blocks<img src="" /></P><p>Marcus Persson, better known as Notch, the founder of Mojang, says he doesn't "make games with the intention of them becoming huge hits."</p><p>But Minecraft, of course, became a huge hit, which was partly why Microsoft paid a cool $2.5 billion for Mojang, Minecraft's maker, earlier this week.</p><p>A deceptively simple game with low-fi graphics, Minecraft has attracted more than 100 million users who get their kicks from building virtual structures out of computerized, Lego-like blocks. Minecraft has become something of an art form, with users creating beautiful, incredibly complex structures, from space...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/john-aziz" ><span class="byline">John Aziz</span></a>Tue, 16 Sep 2014 11:10:00 -0400The U.S. dollar has been strengthening for 3 straight years! (That's not good news.)<img src="" /></P><p>After listening to naysayers and inflation hawks intone for years that the Federal Reserve's monetary policy would weaken the dollar and spike inflation, it's perversely gratifying to see that &mdash; even after all that money printing &mdash; the dollar has strengthened over the last three years:</p><p><br /></p><p >(Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis)</p><p>The dollar has been on a particular tear in the last few weeks. This is the ninth straight week where the dollar index has increased on the back of various geopolitical turmoils &mdash; from the ongoing crisis in the Ukraine and the expansion of ISIS in the Middle...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/john-aziz" ><span class="byline">John Aziz</span></a>Tue, 16 Sep 2014 06:31:00 -0400Personal finance tips: How to save on a low income, and more<img src="" /></P><p class="p1"><span class="s1"><strong> Saving on a low income</strong><br /></span>Earning a small salary doesn't mean you can't build a sizable nest egg, said Emily Brandon at <em>US News &amp; World Report</em>. Putting money in an IRA not only allows you to sock away money for retirement, but it also helps you reduce your tax bill. For instance, "a worker in the 15 percent tax bracket who contributes $500 to a traditional IRA will save $75 in federal income taxes." Low-income workers are also eligible for the saver's tax credit, which can be worth up to 50 percent of your retirement account contributions, depending on your salary. Roth IRAs are another good option...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/sergio-hernandez" ><span class="byline">Sergio Hernandez</span></a>Mon, 15 Sep 2014 07:03:00 -0400Would a bubble be good for the American economy?<img src="" /></P><p>In an interview with <em>Princeton Magazine</em>, <em>New York Times</em> columnist and Nobel-winning economist Paul Krugman faced a difficult and rather strange question: "Are bubbles good or bad and do we need them to create strong economic growth and reach higher levels of employment?"</p><p>The question relates to an often-quoted and often-misunderstood passage from a column in 2002, in which Krugman wrote that "Alan Greenspan needs to create a housing bubble to replace the Nasdaq bubble." After the housing bubble burst and caused the Great Recession in 2008, Krugman came under a lot of fire for that comment. He...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/john-aziz" ><span class="byline">John Aziz</span></a>Mon, 15 Sep 2014 06:07:00 -0400How an unemployment myth hurt millions of jobless Americans<img src="" /></P><p><br /></p><p>Extending benefits to unemployed workers beyond the 26 weeks provided by most states has little effect on the unemployment rate and essentially no impact on labor force participation, a recent working paper released by the Federal Reserve Board found.</p><p>That information, while interesting, would have been a whole lot more relevant had it been uncovered nine months earlier.</p><p>During the Great Recession and the years that followed, the Federal government regularly passed laws providing money for an extension of state unemployment benefits through a program known as Emergency unemployment Compensation...</p> <a href="">More</a>By Rob GarverFri, 12 Sep 2014 09:34:00 -0400How Lego beat out Barbie to become the king of toymakers<img src="" /></P><p><br /></p><p>Barbie's getting slammed by a ton of bricks &mdash; Lego bricks. Denmark's privately owned Lego A/S has edged out Mattel, maker of the Barbie doll, as the largest toy company in the world, based on sales over the first half of 2014.</p><p>The means that besides being a do-or-die period for retailers, as always, this year's holiday shopping season may also be a contest for the title of world's top toymaker.</p><p>Lego said Thursday that its first half sales rose 11 percent to just over $2 billion, powered by products related to <em>The Lego Movie</em>, which hit theaters in February and has taken in $468 million...</p> <a href="">More</a>By Yuval RosenbergThu, 11 Sep 2014 07:31:00 -0400How Japan's Shinzo Abe turned an economic recovery into a train wreck<img src="" /></P><p>Last year it was all looking so rosy. The Japanese economy was growing, the stock market was up, and consumer prices were finally beginning to rise after years of deflation. Economic analysts, including me, praised Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's monetary and fiscal stimulus, aka "Abenomics," calling it a bold but necessary solution to decades of economic stagnation. Then it all came crashing down.</p><p>In a truly awful second quarter, Japan's economy fell of a cliff, shrinking 1.8 percent between April and June, or an incredible 7.1 percent on an annualized basis.</p><p>That's brutal. And it's a slap...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/john-aziz" ><span class="byline">John Aziz</span></a>Mon, 08 Sep 2014 13:51:00 -0400Personal finance tips: When to buy a new car, and more<img src="" /></P><p class="p1"><span class="s1"><strong> Deciding to retire early<br /></strong></span>Stocks have been on a tear, said Liz Moyer at <em>The Wall Street Journal</em>, and the five-year bull market has allowed many investors to "at least ponder the possibility" of retiring early. But there are some important questions to ask before you cash in your nest egg ahead of schedule. First, have you saved enough? The market will inevitably dip, so it's important to "discount the current value of your portfolio" to account for future drops in the market. Retirement also means lifestyle changes, including learning to live on a leaner budget. Drawing on other accounts &mdash...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/sergio-hernandez" ><span class="byline">Sergio Hernandez</span></a>Mon, 08 Sep 2014 06:09:00 -0400