Gail MarksJarvis: Dividend increases likely to slow in 2016

Business / Business News /

Saved by the bell. Or make that dividends.

If you ever wondered if dividends matter, 2015 shows clearly that the extra cash dividends provide help investors.

Without counting dividends, investing in the stock market through the Standard & Poor's 500-stock index would have lost about 0.73 percent last year. But many companies pay dividends. And...Read more

Monsanto to pay $80 million civil penalty for Roundup-related accounting violations

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ST. LOUIS -- The Securities and Exchange Commission slapped Monsanto with an $80 million civil penalty for violating accounting rules and misstating past earnings related to rebates on its flagship weedkiller Roundup. Two accounting executives and a retired sales executive also agreed to pay penalties to settle the charges.

And while the SEC ...Read more

Walgreens rolls out drug disposal kiosks at 500 stores

Business / Business News /

CHICAGO -- Walgreens is installing medication disposal kiosks in more than 500 drugstores across the U.S. in an effort to combat prescription drug abuse.

The initiative, announced Tuesday, will allow for the safe disposal of unwanted and expired medications, including opioids and other controlled substances, ensuring the drugs are not misused. ...Read more

Walt Disney Co. posts record quarterly profit on success of 'Star Wars'

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LOS ANGELES -- Luke and Leia and crew led the Walt Disney Co. to a record profit in its fiscal first quarter.

The Los Angeles-area company reported net income of $2.88 billion in the first quarter that ended Jan. 2. That was a 32 percent increase over the same period a year earlier. Revenue rose 14 percent to $15.2 billion.

The blockbuster "...Read more

Lawyer for drug executive Shkreli says Congress tried to humiliate his client

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Benjamin Brafman, the criminal defense attorney for former pharmaceutical executive Martin Shkreli, is claiming the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee's reason for compelling his client to testify last week was to humiliate him.

Brafman gave the committee advance knowledge that if Shkreli appeared before them, he would invoke the ...Read more

Amazon launches free engine for video games

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SEATTLE -- Amazon Web Services is launching a free video game engine to enable studios to make sophisticated games and connect them to the cloud.

The move is the latest step by into the realm of video games, an industry revolutionized by the wide availability of broadband, cloud storage and open-source software.

Small studios can ...Read more

Coke profit up on more purchases, smaller cans

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ATLANTA -- Despite a continued slump by Diet Coke in North America, Coca-Cola's biggest business -- sodas -- ended the year in positive territory.

Volume for soft drinks in North America, the Atlanta company's biggest market, grew 2 percent in the fourth quarter of 2015, overcoming a 5 percent decline for Diet Coke, Coke reported Tuesday. ...Read more

Sears to accelerate store closing plan

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CHICAGO -- Sears says it will accelerate plans to close unprofitable stores and will consider additional staff cuts as it tries to stem the red ink after what it called a "challenging" holiday selling season.

Sears Holdings on Tuesday said fourth-quarter sales in stores open at least a year fell 7.2 percent in Kmart stores and 6.9 percent at ...Read more

Snapchat and Viacom strike a unique deal, hoping it'll boost ad revenue for both

Business / Business News /

LOS ANGELES -- Viacom Inc. has signed a multi-year deal with Snapchat Inc. to sell ads on behalf of the popular photo- and video-sharing app and increase the amount of programming on it.

The unique arrangement is a coup for Los Angeles-based Snapchat, enabling the TV advertisers the company craves to buy ads on the app at the same time they ...Read more

NC fines Duke Energy $6.6 million for river spill

Business / Business News /

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- North Carolina's environmental agency has fined Duke Energy $6.6 million for its February 2014 spill of coal ash into the Dan River.

The fine accounts only for violations Duke pleaded guilty to in federal court last May, the Department of Environmental Quality said. The agency said it could add fines for other spill-related ...Read more

Viacom chief takes a swing at critics; stock price plummets

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LOS ANGELES -- Media company Viacom Inc.'s struggles continued with a 10 percent profit decline in the company's fiscal first quarter, weighed down by a $146 million operating loss at its lackluster film unit, Paramount Pictures.

Viacom Chief Executive Philippe Dauman -- who last week became chairman of the company, replacing company founder ...Read more

Small-business optimism falls to nearly 2-year low amid fears of slowing growth

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WASHINGTON -- Optimism about the economy by U.S. small-business owners slipped last month to a nearly two-year low as concerns about slowing growth led to projections for fewer sales, according to survey results released Tuesday.

The monthly optimism index from the National Federation of Independent Business declined by 1.3 points to 93.9.

The...Read more

Goodyear shares rise on Venezuela news, $650 million share repurchase increase

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AKON, Ohio -- Shares of Goodyear rose strongly in early Tuesday trading even as the Akron tire-maker posted a $380 million loss for its fourth quarter.

But Goodyear's adjusted fourth quarter earnings and revenue showed a profit and beat analyst expectations as the company "deconsolidated" its Venezuela operations and had other one-time charges....Read more

How Bernie Sanders's supporters would punish Wall Street bankers

Business / Business News /

WASHINGTON -- Back during the darkest days of the financial crisis, President Barack Obama summoned the heads of the big Wall Street banks to the White House and told them they had better get their act together. "My administration," Obama said, "is the only thing between you and the pitchforks."

Obama's administration will soon come to an end, ...Read more

Tentative settlement puts 'Happy Birthday' song in public domain

Business / Business News /

LOS ANGELES -- Warner Music Group and others who fought to hold the copyright on "Happy Birthday to You" have given up their claims to the popular song, according to the terms of a proposed settlement deal that signals the end of a contentious three-year dispute.

The proposed deal, which was disclosed Monday in court filings, offers up to $14 ...Read more

US airfares at cheapest levels since 2010, government says

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The average round-trip U.S. airfare was $372 in the third quarter, the cheapest price for a ticket since 2010, the federal government said Tuesday.

The price was down 6.2 percent from the same period in 2014, according to the Transportation Department's Bureau of Transportation Statistics.

Airlines have been passing along some of their fuel ...Read more

Obama's budget sees next president inheriting healthy economy

Business / Business News /

WASHINGTON -- The economic assumptions underlying President Barack Obama's proposed budget for the fiscal year starting Oct. 1 are fairly optimistic for the near term, although weaker than projections made in the mid-session review in July.

The White House is counting on growth in the world's largest economy to pick up this year and next, while...Read more

Billions at stake as EU regulators consider new data transfer pact with US

Business / Business News /

WASHINGTON -- The European Union and United States reached a political agreement last week on allowing EU citizens' personal information to be sent across the Atlantic, but lingering uncertainty about whether the pact will be approved by EU regulators has businesses -- and U.S. lawmakers -- on edge.

The Commerce Department has said ...Read more

Amid company merger, put your best foot forward

Business / Business News /

PITTSBURGH -- With more than $4 trillion in global merger and acquisition activity last year, there are a lot of workers at companies being acquired asking themselves: What should I do?

"The first thing is not to panic," said Alisa Collins, president of Compass Business Solutions, a Pittsburgh-area human resources consultant. "All change is not...Read more

Your Office Coach: Regain control of autonomous worker

Business / Business News /

Q: Whenever I try to instruct one of my employees, he becomes argumentative and insists on doing things his own way. If I attempt to explain why certain procedures must be followed, "Tom" continues to press his point until I finally get frustrated and end the conversation. Later, I usually find that he has completely ignored my directions.

Tom ...Read more