Senate passes fast-track trade authority for Obama, but House fight looms

Business / Business News /

WASHINGTON -- After a lengthy debate, the Senate approved a contentious bill Friday that would grant President Barack Obama the power to speed up passage of trade deals, but a tougher battle is expected in the House.

The 62-37 vote to give the president so-called fast-track authority is a big boost for his top economic priority, bringing him ...Read more

Michelle Quinn: The ugly side of the Internet rears its head

Business / Business News /

It's been a week for the Internet's ugly side.

On Monday, President Barack Obama's launch of his new Twitter account @POTUS (for President of the United States) was greeted with a rash of racist and hate-filled tweets.

On Tuesday, it emerged that by using offensive terms for African-Americans on Google Maps, users are directed to the White ...Read more

Yellen expects Fed to raise key short-term interest rate this year

Business / Business News /

WASHINGTON -- Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet L. Yellen said Friday she expected the central bank to raise its benchmark short-term interest rate this year if the economy continues to slowly improve.

It was her clearest signal yet of when the Fed would increase the so-called federal funds rate for the first time since 2006.

The Fed has held ...Read more

Consumer Confidential: How the rich sometimes end up poor

Business / Business News /

Celebrities -- they're just like us. Or so the gossip magazines say.

I'll attest to this much: The rich and famous can have as hard a time protecting their money as everyone else. Just ask Kevin Bacon, erstwhile client of Ponzi-scheme con artist Bernie Madoff.

"Most people, unfortunately, are predisposed to spend more than they have," said ...Read more

California producers fear Mexico, Canada retaliation over labeling law

Business / Business News /

WASHINGTON -- California ranchers and their Capitol Hill allies are scrambling to peel away a country-of-origin labeling law they fear will hurt the state.

Facing potentially punishing tariffs on U.S. wine, apples, cherries and more, after a World Trade Organization ruling against the United States' labeling requirements for beef and pork, the ...Read more

Wal-Mart urges suppliers to curb antibiotics, treat animals better

Business / Business News /

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is asking its U.S. suppliers to follow new guidelines on animal treatment and antibiotics, making it the latest in a string of companies to curb the use of antibiotics in animals.

The Bentonville, Ark., company said Friday that the move, prompted by customer feedback, will give consumers more information about their food.

...Read more

Inflation increases slightly in April as energy prices remain low

Business / Business News /

WASHINGTON -- Inflation increased slightly in April as energy prices remained low and costs for groceries, clothing and airfares declined, the Labor Department said Friday.

The consumer price index rose 0.1 percent, in line with economists' forecasts, boosted by a big jump in medical costs.

It was the third straight monthly increase for the ...Read more

Proposed $19 million data breach settlement between Target and MasterCard is voided

Business / Business News /

MINNEAPOLIS -- The proposed $19 million settlement between MasterCard and Target Corp. over the Minneapolis-based retailer's 2013 data breach has been voided after the pact failed to attract enough support from banks.

As part of the proposed out-of-court agreement, at least 90 percent of banks affected by the breach had to approve the ...Read more

Jeff Stimpson: Handling a nursing home

Business / Business News /

The health of an elderly parent falters and fails, a home for decades gives way to a hospital room and suddenly the longtime source of family unity and strength can't even live alone anymore. That's a family challenge that often sends adult children to a financial advisor for help.

One family found that the answer involved a gutsy approach to ...Read more

Getting Started: How to resolve problems with a student loan servicer

Business / Business News /

Repaying student debt is hard enough. But student loan servicers often make the process more difficult than it needs to be, according to complaints collected by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

In some cases, for example, borrowers say that servicers (the companies that collect student loan payments) take days to process a check, ...Read more

Susan Tompor: Are you susceptible to a 'cracking card' scam?

Business / Business News /

Chicago street gangs, rap videos and guys who are skilled at "making paper" are all on the front edge of a scam that's already cost banks millions of dollars.

It's called "cracking cards."

What's weird about this scam is that con artists don't target and trick the elderly. Instead, millennials naively hand over PIN numbers for their ATM cards ...Read more

Grant Webster: Top economy? Your family's

Business / Business News /

Financial planning involves more than jerking your knee to the latest money headline. Sure, the world economy, the globe's tribulations and the latest loud investing pundit try to make you panic. How you react is vital to your long-term financial health.

When I introduce myself as a financial planner, the most common responses are, "So what's ...Read more

The Week Ahead: Investors will be watching former Lehman Brothers CEO

Business / Business News /

Dick Fuld has admitted mistakes. He has said he was wrong. He testified to Congress "bad judgments were made regarding the market." But he has never taken full-throated responsibility.

Fuld was the CEO at investment bank Lehman Brothers when it collapsed in September 2008. Its bankruptcy helped spread the financial industry's troubles to the ...Read more

The Journey: Consider limitations of online investment tools, regulators say

Business / Business News /

Just as investment industry behemoth Vanguard Group Inc. this month rolled out its new investment platform combining an automated and live-adviser experience with $17 billion in client money under management, regulators were rolling out a warning about the growing ranks of robo-advisers.

Vanguard's Personal Advisor Services offers automated ...Read more

Mark Phelan: Five battles the 2016 Chevy Camaro needs to win

Business / Business News /

The recently unveiled 2016 Chevrolet Camaro will face five key challenges when it goes on sale in the fourth quarter of this year:

-- Performance

-- Fuel economy

-- Ergonomics

-- Styling

-- Interior comfort

If it wins on those fronts, this all-new Camaro could earn Chevrolet new customers and help establish it as a go-to brand for 21st ...Read more

Under the Hood: Truck won't stop blowing hot air

Business / Business News /

Q: I'm hoping you can help me fix or at least understand what is happening with my 2006 GMC Yukon. All of the sudden hot air is coming out of the two driver's side air conditioning ducts regardless of what settings I attempt using on the control panel. It's so unpleasant to drive in warm weather. I can't use the vent or the air conditioner, and ...Read more

Paying for son's college weighs on serious Seattle-area savers

Business / Business News /

KENMORE, Wash. -- Jennifer Ferdinand and Todd Parker have steady jobs, pensions and retirement accounts. They keep their spending in check and expect to pay off their home mortgage after 15 years.

In short, the Seattle-area couple are well-positioned for the future, with a notable exception: paying for their son's college education.

Jonah, who...Read more

Auto review: Honda thinks outside the box for 2016 Pilot

Business / Business News /

You can't blame Honda for trying.

When the Japanese automaker last redesigned the Pilot in 2009, Honda designers gave the three-row crossover the look of a true SUV, with big, boxy proportions. While successful, the model lacked the conservative, sophisticated elegance that buyers had come to expect.

This has been rectified with the release of...Read more

Go inside secret lair where Ford developed the GT super car

Business / Business News /

DEARBORN, Mich. -- In the basement of Ford's Product Development Center here, in a room formally used to store foam, the Ford GT super car grew from sketches to clay models to prototypes now being tested on the track in preparation for sale in the second half of 2016.

Ford recently allowed reporters into the secret lair. Down dingy stairs and ...Read more

Could Monsanto's pursuit of rival Syngenta improve the company's troubled image?

Business / Business News /

CREVE COEUR, Mo. -- Monsanto's unsolicited courtship of Swiss rival Syngenta AG has the potential to do many things for the St. Louis-area agriculture giant.

For starters, it could propel the company back to a business model more heavily based on chemicals, rather than seeds and biotechnology. It could make Monsanto an even bigger player in the...Read more