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 CEO cashes in as Sears cashes out; His stores suffer closures and cuts in changing market
USA TODAY, March 23, 2017 Thursday

 Eddie Lampert, the press-shy CEO, chairman and largest shareholder of Sears Holdings, may be all that's standing between the beleaguered department store chain and bankruptcy. The conventional wisdom is that Lampert will suffer massive losses if Sears perishes, since he has pumped hundreds of millions from his personal fortune into the company. And while there's no question he has a lot at stake, a closer look suggests that the billionaire investor has shielded some of his investment from...
 Virgin America brand to disappear; The California-based carrier will be fully absorbed by new owner Alaska Airlines by the end of 2019.
Los Angeles Times, March 23, 2017 Thursday

 Virgin America, the California-based carrier with the blue mood lighting and high-tech entertainment system, will be fully absorbed by Alaska Airlines by the end of 2019 as Alaska strives to become the West Coast's dominant airline. Only three months after Alaska Airlines' parent company completed the $2.6-billion acquisition of the popular upstart airline launched by billionaire Richard Branson, Alaska Air Group says it will retire the Virgin America brand.
 MARKET ROUNDUP; Stocks end mixed as Nike, Sears fall
Los Angeles Times, March 23, 2017 Thursday

 U.S. stocks finished mostly higher Wednesday as technology and industrial companies rose. Banks fell with interest rates as the market came off its biggest loss in five months. Technology companies led the market. Gains for shipping company FedEx helped lift industrial firms. Nike and Sears dived.
 Marriott to add 300,000 hotel rooms worldwide
USA TODAY, March 22, 2017 Wednesday

 Hotel chain Marriott International said Tuesday it would accelerate its global growth strategy, adding up to 300,000 rooms worldwide by 2019 after recently completing its acquisition of rival Starwood Hotels. Target chooses Kroger exec as grocery chief Target has chosen veteran supermarket executive Jeff Burt to revive its struggling grocery business. Burt, the head of Kroger's Fred Meyer division, has spent 30 years with the company. FedEx results fall short FedEx reported earnings of $2.35 a...
 General Mills' sales fall again
Star Tribune (Minneapolis, MN), March 22, 2017 Wednesday

 Sales fell more than expected again at General Mills Inc., threatening the company's ability to maintain a profit drive that bolstered its market value and held off potential buyers. Executives pledged quick fixes, including the launch this summer of a new brand in yogurt, the worst-performing of its major products. The results announced Tuesday were in line with a reduced outlook the company announced last month. But they raised new questions about General Mills' ability to do two things at...
 Benioff pitches jobs to Trump; Salesforce CEO sees opportunities in apprenticeships
USA TODAY, March 22, 2017 Wednesday

 Marc Benioff says he made the most of a one-minute pitch to President Trump on Friday: An apprenticeship program to create 5 million jobs in the U.S. in the next five years.
 Wells Fargo sees sharp drop in new accounts; Bank trying to contain damage from scandal
USA TODAY, March 22, 2017 Wednesday

 The number of customers opening checking and credit card accounts with Wells Fargo fell sharply in February, compared with a year earlier, as the bank tries to contain the damage from a scandal that involved starting accounts without permission.
 S.&P. 500 Ends Streak With a Dip of Over 1%
The New York Times, March 22, 2017 Wednesday

 It had been one of Wall Street's more confounding streaks. Until Tuesday morning, the stock market's benchmark, the Standard & Poor's 500-stock index, had gone 64 consecutive trading days without declining more than 1 percent at any point in a trading session.   Making the streak even more remarkable, such extraordinary composure from investors had occurred in a period of political volatility as fresh controversies dogged the Trump White House and Europe braced for elections in France and...
 After Exiting Capital Controls, Iceland Still Wary of Private Investors
The New York Times, March 22, 2017 Wednesday

 Iceland and Greece are rare examples of European countries experimenting with capital controls. Their approach to wooing back private investors is somewhat different. Iceland, which ended eight years of controls last week, seems altogether less starry-eyed.
 Apple introduces a cheaper iPad
The Washington Post, March 22, 2017 Wednesday

 Company also announces red iPhone to benefit AIDS programs Apple announced several new products Tuesday morning, including a cheaper version of the iPad and a red shade for the iPhone. Consumers can place their orders for the devices starting Friday.
 Verizon dropping email, but you still have options; Telecom giant proposing move to AOL's system
USA TODAY, March 21, 2017 Tuesday

 Q: Verizon sent me a troubling note saying it's getting out of the email business and wants me to move to AOL. How am I supposed to notify everybody of my new address in 30 days?
 Sony gets patent to let you swipe battery life from a friend's phone
USA TODAY, March 21, 2017 Tuesday

 Smartphone running low on battery life? Pretty soon you might be able to swipe some juice from your friend's device.
 Albertsons said to be in merger talks with Sprouts; Grocer eyes chain in what could be wider consolidation trend
USA TODAY, March 21, 2017 Tuesday

 Investors barely reacted Monday to a report that Sprouts Farmers Market could merge with grocery giant Albertsons. Albertsons, whose brands include Safeway, Vons and Star Market, is in early talks to merge with Sprouts, Bloomberg reported.
 Health care stocks regain footing amid fight over law; Group is second- best in S&P 500 perfor- mance in 2017
USA TODAY, March 21, 2017 Tuesday

 Health care stocks are performing better this year than investors might think, given the rancorous debate over the Republican plan to repeal and replace Obamacare. Overall, the 61 stocks in the Standard & Poor's 500 health care sector -- which include hospitals, insurers, drug makers, biotechs and medical device makers -- have gained 8.9% in 2017 versus a 6% rise for the broad stock-market gauge, making it this year's second-best performing group behind technology, S&P Dow Jones Indices...
 Target selects Kroger exec as grocery chief
Star Tribune (Minneapolis, MN), March 21, 2017 Tuesday

 Las Vegas - Target Corp. has hired a longtime Kroger executive to oversee its struggling grocery business. The Minneapolis-based retailer selected Jeff Burt to be its senior vice president of grocery, fresh food and beverages. He will start April 10.
 Vodafone Is Paying a High Price to Be No. 1 in India
The New York Times, March 21, 2017 Tuesday

 Vodafone has its eye trained on the top spot in India. A $23 billion merger of the British telecommunications giant's Indian operations with Idea Cellular will create India's top mobile operator amid a bloody price war. The structure is less than ideal, however, because it aims to satisfy both companies and give a big say to an Indian tycoon all at once.
 UBS Faces Trial in France After Rejecting Settlement
The New York Times, March 21, 2017 Tuesday

 LONDON -- UBS said on Monday that the Swiss bank and its French subsidiary would face trial in a long-running investigation into whether it helped French clients hide funds from the country's national tax administration.
 Shares Dip Again in Year's Lightest Trading Day
The New York Times, March 21, 2017 Tuesday

 American markets finished mostly lower on Monday in a quiet day of trading. Stocks of banks fell with bond yields as stocks declined for a third straight day. Lower bond yields hurt banks because they force interest rates down on mortgages and other kinds of loans. Utility companies gave up some recent gains.
 Walmart Looks Within to Reboot Online Sales
The New York Times, March 21, 2017 Tuesday

 SAN FRANCISCO -- The purchase of Jet, an upstart e-commerce venture, for $3.3 billion last summer was meant to give Walmart, the nation's largest retailer, a way to transform its online retail strategy.
 TECHNOLOGY; Raising doubts over Amazon list price; The retailer's pricing system misleads shoppers about discounts, study says.
Los Angeles Times, March 21, 2017 Tuesday

 After a barrage of lawsuits directed at the online shopping industry, it appeared Amazon Inc. was quietly phasing out list pricing, a controversial practice accused of deceptively inflating how much consumers save through the e-commerce giant. But a study commissioned by Consumer Watchdog finds that the pricing system remains widely used, affecting more than a quarter of the 4,000 products examined by the advocacy group on List prices are a familiar sight to most online shoppers:...
 Uber Loses an Executive Who Stayed Six Months
The New York Times, March 20, 2017 Monday

 The number of executive departures from Uber is growing. Jeff Jones, Uber's president of ride sharing, has left the company after just six months, Uber said on Sunday. In addition, Brian McClendon, vice president of maps and business platform at Uber, also plans to leave at the end of the month.   The two men are exiting Uber under very different circumstances. Mr. Jones, who was poached from Target to be Uber's No. 2 executive, resigned after the ride-sharing company's chief, Travis Kalanick,...
 Disney agrees to $3.8m in back pay; Thousands will be compensated
The Boston Globe, March 18, 2017 Saturday

BODY Deductions for costumes put some below minimum wage. Walt Disney Co. has agreed to pay $3.8 million in back wages to 16,339 employees, including workers at its Florida theme parks whose hourly pay allegedly fell below the minimum wage when the company deducted the cost of uniforms and costumes.
 RETAIL; Wal-Mart pays $6.3M in bonuses
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, March 18, 2017 Saturday

 Almost 10,800 Wal-Mart employees in metro Atlanta are getting a pay bump this week thanks to bonuses from the giant retailer. The Arkansas-based chain said it is paying $6.3 million in bonuses to 10,798 metro Atlanta employees based on the fourth-quarter performance of the stores where they work. That averages out to $583 per employee.
 UPS; UPS chief's pay package grows to $13.7 million
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, March 18, 2017 Saturday

 UPS Chief Executive David Abney's pay package rose more than 20 percent last year even as the shipping giant struggled with weakening profits from dropping off online orders at homes.
 MARKET ROUNDUP; Stocks close week higher as indexes end session mixed
Los Angeles Times, March 18, 2017 Saturday

 U.S. stocks limped to the finish line in another winning week, with indexes turning in a mixed performance Friday. The Standard & Poor's 500 index slipped 3.13 points, or 0.1%, to 2,378.25 on Friday. Gains a couple of days earlier fueled by the Federal Reserve helped the index rise 0.2% for the week. It's the seventh weekly gain for the S&P 500 in the last eight weeks, and the index is within 1% of its record high. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 19.93 points, or 0.1%, to 20,914.62. The...

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