Retail Sales in U.S. Rose in September by Most in Three Months

Retail sales climbed in September by the most in three months, showing American shoppers began to spend freely again after shying away from merchants earlier in the quarter.

The 0.6 percent advance followed a revised 0.2 percent decline in August, Commerce Department figures showed Friday. So-called core sales, used to calculate gross domestic product, rose a smaller-than-projected 0.1 percent.

Source: Retail Sales in U.S. Rose in September by Most in Three Months

CEOs Are Paid Fortunes Just to Be Average

meyerVerizon’s purchase of Yahoo! for $4.83 billion, while an interesting exercise in combining content, networks and mobile services, highlights the broken norms for paying executives of U.S. corporations.

The short version is that issuing and repricing of stock options compensates executives for bull markets rather than their own performance is absurd.

When the deal is complete, Yahoo Chief Executive Officer Marissa Mayer will walk away with more than $200 million for doing little more than keeping the seat warm for the past four years. Or consider the billion dollars Jack Welch was paid for being brilliant enough to start as General Electric’s CEO when the bull market began in 1982, and then leaving in 2000 when the bull market ended. It didn’t hurt either that he cashed in his stock options just before a huge earnings scandal blew up, revealing how the numbers had been massaged for years. The accounting fraud led to a Securities and Exchange Commission settlement related to hedge accounting and revenue recognition and other disclosures.

Read more at: Bloomberg View.


Stock Markets End Slightly Lower After Fed Decision – The New York Times

The slightness of the moves suggests that Wall Street will go back to worrying whether the Fed will raise interest rates later this year.

The Federal Reserve decides to leave interest rates unchanged. So what does that mean for the markets? For borrowers? For savers? For investors?

Source: Stock Markets End Slightly Lower After Fed Decision – The New York Times

Google becomes … Alphabet?

g-icon“Our company is operating well today, but we think we can make it cleaner and more accountable. So we are creating a new company, called Alphabet. I am really excited to be running Alphabet as CEO with help from my capable partner, Sergey, as President.”  – Larry Page, Google CEO

Of note:

  • “What is Alphabet? Alphabet is mostly a collection of companies. The largest of which, of course, is Google. This newer Google is a bit slimmed down, with the companies that are pretty far afield of our main internet products contained in Alphabet instead.”
  • “What do we mean by far afield? Good examples are our health efforts: Life Sciences (that works on the glucose-sensing contact lens), and Calico (focused on longevity).”
  • “Fundamentally, we believe this allows us more management scale, as we can run things independently that aren’t very related.”

“Alphabet is about businesses prospering through strong leaders and independence. In general, our model is to have a strong CEO who runs each business, with Sergey and me in service to them as needed. We will rigorously handle capital allocation and work to make sure each business is executing well. We’ll also make sure we have a great CEO for each business, and we’ll determine their compensation. In addition, with this new structure we plan to implement segment reporting for our Q4 results, where Google financials will be provided separately than those for the rest of Alphabet businesses as a whole.”

“We are excited about…

  • Getting more ambitious things done.
  • Taking the long-term view.
  • Empowering great entrepreneurs and companies to flourish.
  • Investing at the scale of the opportunities and resources we see.
  • Improving the transparency and oversight of what we’re doing.
  • Making Google even better through greater focus.
  • And hopefully… as a result of all this, improving the lives of as many people as we can.”

“What could be better? No wonder we are excited to get to work with everyone in the Alphabet family. Don’t worry, we’re still getting used to the name too!”

What is in store for Google, err Alphabet, and its 1 billion+ users? To be continued …

Source: Alphabet

New Research Paper Finds that Brazil’s Economic Slowdown Results from Policy Decisions

A new research paper from the Center for Economic and Policy Research examines the causes of Brazil’s recent economic slowdown and finds that policy choices rather than external factors have been the most important cause.

Of note: “The government’s contractionary policies led to a pronounced decline in private investment as well, so that total investment (public and private) fell sharply.”
Read the article: New Research Paper Finds that Brazil’s Economic Slowdown Results from Policy Decisions

Hillary Clinton’s ‘Economy speech’ falls flat with Wall Street and reformers

‘Underwhelming’ to both Wall Street AND reformers? See some excerpts:

“Clinton laid out the soft contours of a “growth and fairness economy” in a speech designed to appeal to struggling middle-class workers with promises of higher pay and more generous federal policies. But she left out many hard specifics on tougher tax policy toward the rich and corporate America. And she offered limited pledges to crack down on big Wall Street banks while hitting her strongest notes promising to toss rogue bankers in prison while ripping recent worker productivity comments from Jeb Bush.

Read more:

“Clinton perhaps hit her high point with a direct attack on recent comments from former Florida governor Jeb Bush who said last week that Americans need to “work longer hours” to increase economic growth. To significant applause, Clinton cited hard-working nurses and other Americans and said, “They don’t need a lecture. They need a raise.”

Read more:

“Many conservatives breathed a sigh of relief after the speech, having feared a fresh set of innovative proposals that might have required serious responses.”

Read more:


Source: Hillary Clinton 2016: Economy speech falls flat with Wall Street and reformers – POLITICO

Teaching Financial Literacy Through Entrepreneurship

Maryland Council for Economic Education | Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Files for Download (right-click on the links below and selects “Save As”):

Today’s Presentation (PPT) LINK: 062514_Teaching Financial Literacy Through Entrepreneurship – RODMAN

Today’s Unit on Financial Literacy 2014 (PDF) LINK: 062514_Teaching Financial Literacy Through Entrepreneurship

Entrepreneurship Unit Plan (activities and lessons) (PDF) LINK: 062311_Entrepreneurship in Economics – Lesson Plans and Activities

Culminating Activity: Create a Business Plan (includes instructions, rubric and samples) (PDF) LINK: !ECON_Semester Project and Rubric

National Treasures Found at “Flying Horse” Tomb

Better known as the Flying Horse Tomb, the tombs in Cheonmachong are best known for the many artifacts, relics and Silla Dynasty treasures that were discovered when this tomb was excavated and then rebuilt.

According to local historians:

Cheonmachong (Heavenly Horse Tomb) was probably the tomb of a king of the Silla Dynasty. The tomb is representative of wooden chamber tombs with stone mounds of the Silla period. Its circumference was 157 meters and 12.7 meters high. It is believed to date back to the fifth or sixth century.

The tomb was build by placing a wooden coffin and a wooden chest for funerary objects on the flat floor and building a wooden chamber over them. Boulders were then placed on top of the chamber and an earthen mound was built over the pile.

Over 11,500 artifacts were retrieved when the tomb was excavated. They include a gold crown and a pair of birch bark saddle flaps which were painted with a flying horse, thus giving the tomb its present name, Cheonmachong, or Flying Horse Tomb.