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Christian Science Monitor | Business



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As interest rates rise, will borrower prudence, too?

Interest rates have stayed so low for so long, consumers and investors may have forgotten what happens when rates go up. The Federal Reserve's rate-boost on Wednesday and prospects for more increases next year may start to change their perspective. 

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Why today's bitcoin bubble recalls tulip mania and the dot.com craze

The digital currency draws throngs in South Korea and Japan, and US regulators have OK'd bitcoin futures. But the bubble could end badly for investors, with uncertain ripple effects.

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Shopping becomes a hybrid experience, as stores and smartphones intersect

Even in era of rising e-commerce, consumers still want the physical-store experience. And mobile phones have become the bridge between both worlds.

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Why tax havens persist, and where a rethink could take hold

What could be $200 billion in tax revenue instead sits in offshore centers, parked there by individuals and corporations, often legally. Some reformers would like to remedy that. One lever: new attention on the ethics and morality of the practice.

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Trump's change at Fed's helm is also a vote for continuity

If confirmed by the Senate, Federal Reserve chair nominee Jerome Powell is expected to continue the current policy of gradually raising interest rates. But in a break with tradition, he's not an economist. 

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US economy rebounds after season of hurricanes

Despite a loss of nearly 33,000 jobs due to fall storms, the Department of Labor reports solid growth in many sectors including construction, hotels, restaurants, and the auto industry, many of which took the brunt of the impact during hurricanes Harvey and Irma. 

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Republicans pitch broad tax cuts. Is that what economy needs?

Many economists say tax changes can give a short-term boost, or sometimes longer-run gains. But the growth goals behind a new House plan run up against tricky math of rising national debt.

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Bitcoin stokes fear and greed – but it’s just tip of a finance revolution

Often called a digital currency, bitcoin is now behaving more as a ‘store of value’ with a surging price tag. Its bubble could burst, but the technology behind it promises to transform personal and business finance.

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Oklahoma cut taxes. Now a squeeze on public services forces a rethink.

Oklahoma’s Republican-dominated legislature is looking at ways to close a revenue gap that’s affecting schools and health care. But one attempt just faltered.

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New smart locks would allow Amazon to deliver directly into homes

Amazon's plan to address theft of packages left on shoppers' doorsteps is a new smart lock system. Customers could remotely control access to their homes for deliveries and other professional services. 

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World's economies grow in sync, but US and Europe lag behind

Prosperity rises in emerging-market nations from India and Vietnam to even battered Brazil. But slower growth in advanced nations raises worries of a low-growth future.

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Amazon’s 50,000 new jobs? Why some cities don’t play tax-break game.

Competition among cities to offer tax breaks, aiming for an influx of high-paying jobs, has been intense. But some mayors opted out, saying real development isn't about one-off deals.

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NFL owners to meet, with racial divide on the agenda

Sometimes sports become a venue for overcoming racial tensions. Amid anthem protests, pro football has a high-profile opportunity.

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Combating fake news may force big changes at Facebook, Twitter

As social media giants and Google face pressure to counter manipulation of their political content, the task is to temper a data-driven emphasis on customer engagement with social responsibility. 

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Quicker than expected, auto industry revs up for an electric-car future

Some experts project electric vehicles could make up more than half of car sales by 2040, projections that GM, Ford, Volkswagen, Chinese automakers, and others are taking seriously all of a sudden.

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EU to Amazon: you owe $295 million in taxes

Amazon is the latest multinational corporation to come under EU's crackdown on tax loopholes. The EU says that Amazon has avoided paying nearly three quarters of the taxes it should have paid to Luxembourg. 

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US solar companies ask for protection from foreign imports

The US International Trade Commission is hearing proposals from US based solar companies that would like tariffs imposed on foreign panel makers. While the cheaper foreign panels have benefited customers, the low prices have hit domestic solar manufacturers hard. 

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Wisconsin goes big to lure a factory. Critics say it doesn’t make sense.

Tax breaks worth $3 billion draw a giant Foxconn plant for up to 13,000 workers to make display screens. But economists question the math of an arms race for jobs, and say it advantages big firms at the expense of startups.

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As Fed normalizes policy, economy’s ‘new normal’ is anything but.

The Federal Reserve is launching a major transition away from the extraordinary measures it used to boost recovery from recession. But the problem of sub-par economic growth remains.

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Equifax breach: What you can do ... and what public pressure may do

Hackers broke into the credit-report company Equifax and stole personal data on up to 143 million Americans. Individual actions can help control the damage. And collective action may lead to new safeguards.

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