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►  Octogenarians rule the rich, with a big share of top U.S. wealth

Sixty? That’s young – for a rich person.

Six of the 25 richest Americans are over 80, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. Carl Icahn and Charles Koch, for example, are 81. Earlier this month, Sheldon Adelson turned 84 and George Soros hit 87. Warren Buffett, the fourth-richest person in the world, with a net worth of $77 billion, celebrates his 87th birthday next week.

New data from the Internal Revenue Service show just how old the top millionaires and billionaires in the U.S. are. While people over 80 make up only 3.7 percent of the population, the IRS estimates they control a larger share of the nation’s top fortunes than people under 50.

The wealthy have probably always been older than the general population. Despite the example of Mark Zuckerberg, the world’s fifth-richest person, at 33, it usually takes a long time to amass great wealth. Still, the imbalance is striking.

Every few years, the IRS analyzes the wealth of the richest Americans. Its Personal Wealth Study examines a rarefied group: people potentially subject to the estate tax, which is levied on individual fortunes of $5.5 million or more.

The latest study, released this month and estimating personal wealth in 2013, finds 584,000 Americans, or about 0.2 percent of the U.S. population, with a combined net worth of $6.9 trillion. People in their 80s and 90s control $1.2 trillion of that wealth. Adults under 50, roughly 43 percent of the population , hold barely $1 trillion.

Wealthy people in their 80s have the highest average net worth of any age bracket. One reason is that octogenarians have less than half the debt, as a percentage of their total assets, than adults under 60.

Measuring the wealth of the world’s richest people is difficult. Billionaires rarely take surveys, and they have every incentive under tax laws to make their fortunes look smaller than they are. The IRS bases its wealth estimates on estate tax filings. The fortunes of millionaires and billionaires who died are extrapolated to the holdings of the wealthy who are still alive.

The richest Americans may be far wealthier than the IRS estimates. For one thing, wealth managers and attorneys have found creative ways, such as trusts, to help the rich pass money to their heirs tax-free before they die.

“Estate planning has become more sophisticated over the years, with an increasing number of tax dodges, so that estate values are increasingly underestimating the true wealth of the living population over time,“ said New York University economics professor Edward Wolff.

Estate tax data generally haven’t shown the wealthiest Americans taking a larger slice of the country’s wealth over time. That contradicts survey data and other measures based on macroeconomic data. In a paper published last year, Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman, of the University of California at Berkeley, found that the share of U.S. wealth held by the top 0.1 percent more than tripled from 1978 to 2012, from 7 percent to 22 percent.

Still, the IRS data give a unique insight into the portfolios of the wealthiest Americans. The agency finds, for example, that the richest Americans’ investments are heavily concentrated in businesses and non-public stock, and that their personal residences make up a small part of their wealth, only a bit more than their art collections.

So why are so many wealthy people living, and prospering, not just into their 70s but into their 80s and even 90s?

One explanation is they’re staying much healthier than other Americans.

The wealthiest men, in particular, are outliving poorer Americans by a widening margin, Saez and Zucman estimate. As recently as the early 1980s, the death rates of the rich and the general population were pretty similar. At ages 65 to 79, men in the top 1 percent were 12 percent less likely to die than the average American man in any year in that range. In the most recent estimates of Saez and Zucman, the richest men in that age range had mortality rates 40 percent lower than average.

At this point, Americans’ overall longevity has stalled, and middle-class wealth and incomes have stagnated. One thing hasn’t changed: It’s still a great time to be rich.


►  WV Lottery enters contract for new services, including app

The West Virginia Lottery agreed Thursday to a contract with IGT Global Solutions Corporation to provide players with new retail and self-service customer terminals and a “mobile convenience app.”

IGT Global Solutions — a London-based company with offices in Las Vegas and Providence, Rhode Island — will also provide the lottery with a new traditional-lottery central system and communications network. The seven-year contract is expected to go into effect June 28, 2018. The contract also allows for three one-year renewal options.

“The new mobile convenience app, technology and services that this agreement will bring to all of our stakeholders is tremendous,” West Virginia Lottery Director Alan Larrick said in a statement. “This agreement will allow us to improve our operations, improve the player experience, and maximize our return from traditional lottery to the people of West Virginia.”

According to a state Lottery press release, the app will allow players the ability to find game information and check tickets for prizes. Users will also be able to create digital play slips that generate QR codes to speed up transaction time as well as integrate into IGT’s Aurora system, which will be launched simultaneously with the app.

The gaming system will include tools that will provide detailed insights and help retailers manage their business and better interact with the state Lottery.

The primary and backup data centers will be maintained in West Virginia.

IGT’s already signed a four-year contract with the Lottery for instant ticket printing after a separate bid process.


►  VW plots return to relevance in U.S. following diesel scanda

Volkswagen is rolling out its plan for re-selling most of the cars involved in the German automaker’s diesel emissions cheating scandal.

Volkswagen brand head Herbert Diess told reporters after a board meeting at Volkswagen’s lone U.S. plant in Tennessee on Thursday that the fallout from the scandal “is something we need to live with” as the company seeks to regain relevance and market share in the United States.

“The brand suffered a lot worldwide, we are suffering still,” he said. “And for sure we are not through.”

It has been more than a year since Volkswagen agreed to pay more than $20 billion to settle criminal charges and civil claims related to the company’s sale of nearly 600,000 cars with “defeat devices” designed to beat U.S. emissions tests.

The first batch of retrofitted vehicles includes new 2015 models that went unsold following the cheating revelations. Dealers who received diesels as part of Volkswagen’s buyback program will get the right of first refusal for those vehicles as they enter the used market, said Hinrich J. Woebcken, head of Volkswagen Group of America.

“After that, there are several channels to remarket them in a controlled way, so they don’t come all at once to the market,” he said. “We want to ensure the residual (resale) values of those cars remain stable.”

Higher-mileage and more heavily used vehicles will be scrapped.

The management meeting in Chattanooga comes as Volkswagen ramps up production of the new seven-seat Atlas SUV, the best example so far of the company’s shift away from its small car roots and part of renewed efforts to become a volume brand in the U.S. The goal is to grow market share from below 2 percent to more than 5 percent, Diess said.

“It’s a long term plan, we can’t win America over in two years’ time,” Diess said. “It’s a 10-year plan, but we are committed.”

To get to 5 percent, VW would have to pass Lexus, Mercedes-Benz, Dodge, Ram, Subaru, GMC, Hyundai, Kia and Jeep. All of those brands had less than 5 percent market share as of July 31.

Volkswagen has confirmed it will introduce an electric version of its iconic microbus in 2022, but no decision has been made about where to build it. VW minibuses haven’t been sold in the U.S. since the 1970s, but a prototype of the new version was met with great excitement when Diess showed it off in California last month.

“We have a beautiful heritage with ups and downs, and we have the dreadful history now of the past two years, which was a very difficult period for us,” Diess said. “But we think that we get a second chance from the American customers.”

Any additional U.S. production beyond the Atlas and the Passat sedan would be accommodated at the site of Volkswagen’s existing plant in Chattanooga.

“We wouldn’t need a new plant,” he said. “This plant still has a lot of capacity, and we want to fill that.”

Volkwagen’s U.S. plans don’t include a pickup truck.

“It would be a very risky move, because American players are so strong,” he said. “We would have to invent something really special, and it’s not really Volkswagen’s heritage.”

Volkswagen’s plans involve giving more flexibility to the North American region to tailor vehicles to local demands. Matthias Erb, the chief engineering officer for Volkswagen’s North American region, said the decentralization of decision-making represents “an unbelievable shift in the culture” at the company long known to be slow to recognize American desires such as cup holders and other creature comforts.

Erb said one example of the new approach was the local decision to call the new SUV the Atlas in North America — it is sold under the Teramont name in other markets.

“We renamed it,” he said. “Five years ago, we would have been fired.”


►  U.S. auto sales could fall in August due to Harvey

Hurricane Harvey took a toll on new vehicle sales in August, but that could reverse itself soon as people with flood-damaged cars buy new ones.

U.S. auto sales were initially expected to increase slightly in August compared with a year ago, but analysts say lower sales in the Houston area could erase those gains. Harvey likely cut U.S. sales of new cars and trucks by 1.3 percent, or 20,000 vehicles, in August, forecasting firm LMC Automotive said. The Houston metro area is the ninth-largest vehicle market in the nation.

General Motors said its sales rose 7.5 percent over last August thanks to strong sales of SUVs. Ford’s sales were down 2 percent.


►  French government to implement broader economic reforms

France’s labor minister has conceded that her planned reforms to the country’s work practices won’t on their own miraculously reduce the country’s unemployment rate.

Muriel Penicaud said Friday on France Info radio the labor reform plan outlined on Thursday “is not a magic wand” for reducing unemployment. That, she said, will require a “consistent set of policies” including reforms to job training that will be launched next year.

Her comments come a day after President Emmanuel Macron’s government unveiled measures to trim union powers, make it easier for firms to hire and fire and give a bigger voice to small businesses.

Unions are protesting the proposals, which were a cornerstone of Macron’s election campaign earlier this year. The CGT union said 65 demonstrations are scheduled across France on September 12.

Business and Financial News

The Free Press WV

►  Edmunds: Some guidance on finding the best ‘American’ cars

“Buy American” is a slogan that’s getting a lot of attention lately, but it can be tough to put into practice when you’re car shopping.

A U.S.-built 2017 Chevrolet Colorado with a diesel engine and a manual transmission might sound American through and through. But in that configuration, the Colorado is a worldly truck. The diesel engine is built in Thailand, and the transmission is made in Brazil. In other words, a U.S. automaker’s badge isn’t a sure marker of an American car.

American content in cars has been falling for several years, says Frank DuBois, a global supply chain expert and a professor at the Kogod School of Business at American University. DuBois is the creator of the Made in America Auto Index , which since 2013 has ranked automotive “American-ness” in a time of increasingly globalized car-making.

In 2013, the 30 most American vehicles in the index had an average of 77 percent “domestic” content (meaning from the U.S. and Canada; the U.S. labeling law doesn’t consider Mexico a domestic source). By 2017, that figure had slipped to 72.5 percent.

If you don’t want to pore over window stickers one by one to find the most American cars, here’s a helpful list from car-buying website Edmunds: 10 excellent vehicles that all are U.S.-built, with significant domestic content. Half are from U.S.-based carmakers. The rest are from carmakers that are based in Japan and build cars in the U.S.

Edmunds began the list with its 2017 New Car Buying Guides , which highlight its reviewers’ top picks by vehicle type. Then Edmunds put those selections through the Made in America Auto Index. It ranks vehicles based on seven factors, including:

— Where the car was built.

— Where the manufacturer is headquartered.

— Where research and development take place.

— Where the engine is built.

— Where the transmission is built.

— Where the body, chassis and electrical components are made.

A rank of 1 is the highest possible for a vehicle. If you’re shopping for a 2018 car, you’ll have to wait several months for rankings. DuBois can’t start work on the next index until later this year, when carmakers report vehicle content to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

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CONVERTIBLE & PERFORMANCE CAR

2017 Chevrolet Corvette

Made in America Auto Index rank: 3

Total domestic content: 82 percent

The 2017 Chevrolet Corvette is a unique slice of Americana that can compete on the world stage. This rank is for the Corvette with an automatic transmission. The manual transmissions for this car come from Mexico, and cars so equipped come in at 14 in the index.

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COUPE

2017 Ford Mustang

Made in America Auto Index rank: 12

Total domestic content: 76 percent

The 2017 Ford Mustang is civilized and packed with modern tech, but it holds on to the American swagger that has defined it for 50 years. This rank is for the Mustang with an automatic transmission. The manual transmissions for the car come from Mexico or China and cars with them rank 20 in the index.

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CROSSOVER

2017 Honda Pilot

Made in America Auto Index rank: 9

Total domestic content: 78.5 percent

The 2017 Honda Pilot has lots of space, a versatile interior and even a bit of off-road capability, which makes it a great all-around family vehicle.

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HATCHBACK

2017 Chevrolet Volt

Made in America Auto Index rank: 30

Total domestic content: 61 percent

The Chevrolet Volt is a five-seat hatchback sedan that also happens to be a plug-in hybrid, capable of going more than 50 miles on all-electric power before switching to gas.

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LUXURY

2017 Acura RDX

Made in America Auto Index rank: 9

Total domestic content: 78.5 percent

This stylish 2017 Acura crossover is an Edmunds favorite, thanks to its fuel-efficient and powerful V6, comfortable interior and long list of standard features.

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MINIVAN

2017 Honda Odyssey

Made in America Auto Index rank: 12

Total domestic content: 76 percent

Few minivans are better than the 2017 Honda Odyssey when it comes to ample space for passengers and luggage and kid-friendly features.

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SEDAN

2017 Toyota Camry

Made in America Auto Index rank: 9

Total domestic content: 78.5 percent

The 2017 Toyota Camry is a midsize sedan that offers a spacious interior, a refined ride quality, and all the safety features you expect in a family car.

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SUV

2017 Ford Expedition

Made in America Auto Index rank: 5

Total domestic content: 81 percent

The 2017 Ford Expedition is one of our top recommendations for a full-size SUV, thanks to its massive interior, composed ride and substantial towing capability.

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TRUCK

2017 Ford F-150

Made in America Auto Index rank: 2

Total domestic content: 85 percent

Perennially the best-selling vehicle in the U.S., the F-150 has a diverse lineup of features, packages, engines and bed configurations to suit the needs of just about any kind of truck buyer.

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WAGON

2017 Subaru Outback

Made in America Auto Index rank: 48

Total domestic content: 42.5 percent

The Outback is a midsize wagon with standard all-wheel drive and optional high-tech safety features that make it a great all-weather family vehicle.

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EDMUNDS SAYS: The definition of an “American car” has become harder to pin down over the years, but we have some guidelines that will help you figure out the true origin of some top picks in their class.


►  Survey: U.S. companies added a strong 237,000 jobs in August

U.S. businesses added a healthy 237,000 jobs in August with broad gains across several industries including construction, manufacturing and leisure and hospitality, according to a private survey.

Payroll processor ADP said Wednesday that the hiring was spread among large companies with more than 1,000 employees and medium and small firms with fewer than 500 workers. Manufacturers added 16,000 jobs and builders hired 18,000. The leisure and hospitality sector — which includes restaurants — added 51,000 workers. Health care and social assistance accounted for a gain of 42,000 jobs.

The hiring suggests that employers see economic growth as steady, so they’re bolstering their staffs. For the moment, the U.S. economy is free of many of the constraints that slowed growth during the previous eight years of the recovery from the Great Recession. Credit is less constrained so more people can borrow for a home and businesses can invest. Global growth is decent. Energy prices are stable despite the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.

The U.S. economy expanded at an annual rate of 3 percent in the April-June quarter, the strongest pace in more than two years, the Commerce Department said Wednesday.

“There are no significant headwinds now to U.S. economic growth,” said Mark Zandi, the chief economist at Moody’s Analytics who prepared the ADP report.

Analysts predict the government’s jobs report, to be released Friday, will show a decent 180,000 jobs were added, according to data provider FactSet. The unemployment rate is expected to hold at 4.3 percent.


►  Hyundai resumes production in China after supply disruption

Hyundai Motor Co. said it resumed production at factories in China on Wednesday following a shutdown that stemmed from a dispute between Beijing and Seoul over a U.S. missile defense system.

The shutdown, started last week when Hyundai did not pay a parts supplier that refused to provide fuel tanks in response, was the latest in series of challenges that have beset South Korea’s largest automaker in the key market, since a diplomatic row erupted in spring over South Korea’s decision to deploy a U.S. missile defense system.

The supplier resumed providing fuel tanks Wednesday, Hyundai spokesman Sohn Yong said, allowing its China plants to return to production gradually. The company is still in talks with the supplier to resolve the payment issue.

Beijing Hyundai Motor Co., the South Korean company’s joint venture with BAIC Motor Corp., has three plants in Beijing and one in Changzhou. Assembly lines at the four plants were forced to stop when the components ran out since mid-last week and they came to a full stop as of Tuesday. Its fifth factory in Chongqing, set to start production next month, was not affected.

Hyundai was unable to pay the local supplier after its sales in China plunged due to the tension between Beijing and Seoul over the missile defense system.

Hyundai reported the lowest quarterly profit since 2010 after its China sales plunged 64 percent during the April-June quarter from a year earlier.

Beijing opposed Seoul’s decision to deploy the U.S. missile defense system known as THAAD. South Korea says the system is aimed at deterring North Korean aggression but China is worried that its powerful radars would peer into its territory.

During the first half of this year, Hyundai sold 321,000 vehicles in China, down 42 percent from a year earlier.


►  Lottery retires machine that printed record $758.7M ticket

Lottery ticket buyers hoping to use the same Massachusetts machine as the recent $758.7 million Powerball jackpot winner are out of luck.

The Massachusetts State Lottery has retired the machine that printed the winning ticket belonging to Mavis Wanczyk (WAHN’-zihk). The Powerball jackpot she claimed last week is the largest grand prize won by a lottery ticket in U.S. history.

State lottery spokesman Christian Teja tells The Boston Globe the machine was removed from a convenience store in Chicopee (CHIH’-kuh-pee) on Saturday and was sent to the lottery’s Springfield office for maintenance.

He says there is an appetite to preserve “this piece of lottery history.” He says some interesting ideas have been proposed.

It hasn’t been determined where the machine will go next.


►  Lyft extends service throughout 32 states

Lyft is driving into the countryside in an effort to raise ridership and steal market share from rival Uber.

The much smaller Lyft announced Thursday that it is offering service to passengers in every corner of 32 U.S. states, including hard-to-reach rural areas. The move boosts the number of states with full coverage to 40.

Uber, which controls about 70 percent of the U.S. ride-hailing market, says it has near-statewide coverage in 13 states. A spokeswoman was skeptical that any company could provide timely service in all areas within a state’s boundaries.

For Lyft, the expansion is a bold move into unserved areas and a gamble that it can carve new markets out of even the most rural areas that have ride-hailing needs but no consistent service. Until now, using a smartphone to summon a ride mainly was reserved for larger metropolitan areas with a lot of people and more potential riders.

Jaime Raczka, regional director of new markets for Lyft, said the initiative will allow the company to outmatch its rivals in terms of coverage area and the number of people with access to its platform. Before Thursday, 79 percent of the U.S. population could get Lyft service. With Thursday’s move, that number rises to 94 percent, she said.

To pull off the expansion, Lyft has been recruiting new drivers for months, many in smaller towns that weren’t previously served. The company wouldn’t say how many drivers it has added, only that it has about 700,000 nationwide.

Currently Lyft has statewide service in New York, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Florida, Maine, Delaware and Hawaii. As of Thursday it added Alaska, Arizona, California, Georgia, Iowa, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Maine, Michigan, Missouri, Mississippi, Montana, North Carolina, North Dakota, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Wisconsin, West Virginia and Wyoming.

Lyft has at least some coverage in all 50 states, and decided to offer full coverage in the 40 that have consistent statewide ride-hailing regulations, Raczka said. The company said it will even offer rides in the most rural expanses of Alaska and the far reaches of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

Just how long it takes to get a ride will vary by area. She wouldn’t give an average response time or fare estimate for rural areas, but conceded that initially it may take more than 10 minutes to get a ride in remote places. Those who have important trips such as traveling to an airport to catch a flight might want to use Lyft’s scheduled ride service if it’s available, she said.

In New York, where Lyft has had statewide service since June, the company’s app showed few cars in the Finger Lakes region late Wednesday night. In Corning, a small town near the Pennsylvania border, the closest Lyft ride was 74 miles and more than an hour away in Binghamton. The app gave no estimate of a pickup time like it does in urban areas.

Raczka says experience has shown that as people find out about the service, they summon more rides and more drivers usually follow. “We do improve service levels once we get into markets,” she said.

Uber says is has close to statewide coverage is in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, North Carolina, Arkansas, Mississippi, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia and Florida. Spokeswoman MoMo Zhou questioned whether Lyft would have drivers available for rides in areas with low demand.

There’s clearly a market for ride services in rural areas, especially from people who are older, disabled or injured, said Gartner analyst Michael Ramsey. Until it becomes established, Lyft will have to pay drivers extra to fetch passengers in rural areas, generating some big losses, he said.

“That will allow them to gain market share, but it’s not going to be free,” Ramsey said.

He expects demand to grow and eventually pay off for Lyft. “There are a lot of people who need mobility, and especially in rural communities, don’t have access to it,” he said. “Demand comes from the supply, and vice versa.”

In Business and Finance….

The Free Press WV

►  Dow, Russell 2000 hit new highs; uneven finish for U.S. stocks

Wall Street turned in an uneven finish Friday as investors unloaded their technology company shares in favor of energy and financial stocks.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq composite, which has outpaced gains by other U.S. stock indexes this year, fell the most. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index closed slightly lower.

Even with the sell-off in technology stocks, the Dow Jones industrial average and the Russell 2000 index of small-company stocks closed higher, each setting new highs.

“We’re seeing investors rotate out of the international stocks and into the U.S. stocks in general,“ said Sam Stovall, chief investment strategist at CFRA Equity Research. “And also a rotation out of technology and into energy, materials and financials.“

All told, the S&P 500 index fell 2.02 points, or 0.1 percent, to 2,431.77. The Dow gained 89.44 points, or 0.4 percent, to 21,271.97. The Nasdaq declined 113.85 points, or 1.8 percent, to 6,207.92. The Russell 2000 picked up 6.09 points, or 0.4 percent, to 1,421.71. The indexes also closed out the week unevenly after several days of trading in a mostly narrow range.

Despite the day’s big tech stock slide, more stocks rose than declined on the New York Stock Exchange.

U.S. stocks were coming off a two-day winning streak, which included a record high for the Nasdaq on Thursday. They were on track to extend those gains early Friday, each at one point trading above their most recent closing highs.

But then investors began to unload technology stocks. The sell-off centered on the biggest companies in the stock market: Apple, Microsoft, Alphabet and Facebook. But the biggest decliner was chipmaker Nvidia, which lost $10.34, or 6.5 percent, to $149.60.

Alphabet, Google’s parent company, fell $34.16, or 3.4 percent, to $970.12, while Apple slid $6.01, or 3.9 percent, to $148.98.

“It’s had a good run,“ said Scott Wren, senior global equity strategist for Wells Fargo Investment Institute. “People are taking a little money off the table.“

The technology sector fell 2.7 percent. It remains up 18.5 percent for the year.

Traders also bid up shares in energy companies as the price of crude oil rose.

Helmerich & Payne added $2.87, or 5.7 percent, to $53.27. Rig operator Transocean picked up 39 cents, or 4.6 percent, to $8.81.

Benchmark U.S. crude gained 19 cents to close at $45.83 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, added 29 cents to settle at $48.15 a barrel in London.

Small-company stocks were among the big gainers, receiving a boost from a stronger dollar following the British general election. A stronger dollar tends to benefit small-cap stocks, because they tend to not have as much exposure to international markets as large-cap stocks.

The pound lost more than 2 cents versus the dollar after the Conservatives lost their majority in Parliament, which could send Britain’s negotiations to leave the European Union, due to start June 19, into disarray. The pound weakened to $1.2724 from $1.2943. The dollar also strengthened to 110.20 yen from 109.94 yen late Thursday. The euro weakened to $1.1195 from $1.1222.

Corporate deal news also led to some notable stock moves Friday.

DuPont Fabros Technology jumped 9.8 percent after the data real estate investment trust and owner of wholesale data centers was acquired by another REIT, Digital Realty Trust. The deal is an all-stock transaction valued at about $7.6 billion. DuPont Fabros Technology shares gained $5.44 to $60.80. Digital Realty slipped $3.43, or 2.9 percent, to $113.32.

Pandora Media rose on news that SiriusXM will invest $480 million in the online radio company. SiriusXM, which is buying preferred stock and taking a 19 percent stake in Pandora, will also select three people to be named to Pandora’s board. Pandora is breaking off a deal with investment firm KKR from last month. Pandora added 10 cents, or 1.2 percent, to $8.52. SiriusXM slid 20 cents, or 3.7 percent, to $5.20.

Several companies fell after issuing weak outlooks.

VeriFone Systems shed 3.5 percent after the maker of terminals for electronic payments cut its forecasts and said it will sell or restructure several businesses. The stock lost 64 cents to $17.68.

HNI slumped 12.6 percent after the maker of office furniture and fireplaces cut its forecasts because of slower sales and falling wholesale revenue. The stock slid $5.64 to $39.27.

Bond prices fell. The 10-year Treasury yield held rose to 2.20 percent from 2.19 percent late Thursday.

In other energy trading, wholesale gasoline rose a penny to $1.50 per gallon. Heating oil inched up 1 cent to $1.43 per gallon. Natural gas added 1 cent to $3.04 per 1,000 cubic feet.

Gold fell $8.10 to $1,271.40 per ounce. Silver lost 19 cents, or 1.1 percent, to $17.22 per ounce. Copper gained 4 cents, or 1.5 percent, to $2.65 per pound.

Germany’s DAX rose 0.8 percent, while France’s CAC 40 gained 0.7 percent. Britain’s FTSE 100 added 1 percent. Japan’s Nikkei 225 added 0.5 percent, while South Korea’s Kospi rose 0.8 percent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng slipped 0.1 percent.


►  10 Highest-Paying Jobs Without a College Degree

Jobs requiring only a high-school education typically pay $35,000 less per year than those requiring a bachelor’s degree. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t high-paying jobs out there for Americans without a college education. Using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 24/7 Wall St lists the 50 highest-paying jobs in the US that don’t require a college degree. The lowest annual wage among those 50 jobs, which include positions like railroad conductor and building inspector, is still more than $56,000. The median annual wage in the US is $37,000. Here are the 10 highest paying jobs in the US that don’t require a college education and their median annual wage:

  1. Nuclear power reactor operators ($91,170)
  2. Transportation, storage, and distribution managers ($89,190)
  3. First-line supervisors of police and detectives ($84,840)
  4. Power distributors and dispatchers ($81,900)
  5. Elevator installers and repairers ($78,890)
  6. Detectives and criminal investigators ($78,120)
  7. Commercial pilots ($77,200)
  8. Media and communication equipment workers ($75,700)
  9. Electrical and electronics repairers ($75,670)
  10. Power plant operators ($74,690)

See the full list HERE .


►  Amazon Just Made a Major Play for Walmart Customers

Amazon figured out a great way to appear altruistic while also taking a shot at its biggest competitor, announcing a discounted Prime member for low-income Americans on Tuesday. Yahoo reports the 45% discount lowers the cost of Prime, which bestows free two-day delivery, to $5.99 for anyone with an EBT card, which is used for food stamps and other government assistance. Qualifying people will also get the first 30 days of Prime for free, according to NPR. Approximately 60% of American households already have a Prime membership, Business Insider reports. But most of those memberships are found in upper income brackets, where membership is reaching saturation. On the other hand, some 45 million low-income Americans are now eligible for a discounted Prime membership.

Industry insiders reacted with skepticism to Amazon’s announcement. After all, low-income Americans don’t shop online as much and have limited internet access. But retail consultant Doug Stephens says even a small amount of new customers can pay off for Amazon through loyalty. “Prime is the gateway drug for the heroin that is Amazon,“ he says. One Amazon investor agrees, saying discounted Prime membership will get low-income people used to buying online. Even better: It will eat into Walmart’s customer base. Nearly $1 out of every $5 in food stamps was spent at Walmart in 2016. For its part, Walmart has been actively trying to steal Amazon customers, recently experimenting with employees delivering orders at the end of their shift.


►  Some hope California winner of $447M Powerball helps area

A sole winning Powerball ticket worth $447.8 million and matching all six numbers was sold in Southern California and will claim the 10th largest lottery prize in U.S. history, lottery officials said Sunday.

The winning ticket was sold at Marietta Liquor & Deli in the small city of Menifee, the California Lottery said in a statement. Lottery officials said the earliest the ticket could be redeemed is 8 a.m. Monday, and the winner has one year to claim the prize.

The store just off a highway caters to retirees who live in the Sun City part of Menifee that was originally developed as a retirement community as well as to motorists passing through the area about 80 miles from Los Angeles.

Liquor store owner Matthew Alberre said he does not know which of his customers won the jackpot or what his family will do with the $1 million bonus set aside for the retailer that sells the winning ticket.

“We’re so blessed for this to happen,“ said Alberre, who owns the store with his father.

The year began terribly for the family because Alberre’s father was diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis.

“Starting out the year, it seemed like it was going to be the worst year in the world, and six months later, our store hit the Powerball. We’re very, very grateful for this to happen to our store,“ Alberre said.

Sun City residents were wondering if they might know the winner.

At a breakfast at the local Knights of Columbus organization, Armand Blais said people there hoped the ticketholder lived in their community and would assist their efforts to build a new church.

“We’re hoping they’re a parishioner and they’ll bring us a check tomorrow,“ said Blais, president of the Sun City Civic Association’s board.

Sun City has about 4,700 homes developed in the 1960s for residents age 55 and older. Today, they are part of Menifee, population 89,000, but those living in Sun City still proudly call the community by its original name, Blais said.

The homes are clustered around a golf course, and residents join in activities ranging from tai chi and swimming to woodworking and shuffleboard, according to the association’s website.

Menifee Mayor Neil Winter said he hoped a local resident bought the winning ticket at the store in a heavily visited intersection that has sold winners before but never for so much.

“There’s a lot of good folks over there, so hopefully one of our Menifee folks won,“ he said.

The lucky numbers drawn Saturday night were 20-26-32-38-58, and the Powerball number was 3.

Powerball spokesman Randy Miller said the estimated jackpot prize is based on a winner choosing an annuity, which pays off over 29 years. The cash prize would be $279.1 million. Both prize amounts would be before taxes are deducted.

Before the drawing Saturday night, the jackpot was estimated at $435 million. It had grown because no one had matched all the numbers since April 01.

The odds of winning Saturday’s drawing were one in 292.2 million.

Powerball is played in 44 states, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

In Business and Finance….

The Free Press WV

►  Saturday Powerball prize is 8th largest in game history

Saturday’s Powerball Jackpot will be one of the largest in the game’s history.

The prize is an estimated $435 million, the eighth largest prize in 25 years. The prize’s cash value is $273.1 million

“We are starting to see sales increase as the Powerball jackpot continues to climb and that is good news, because strong sales mean more money to help support education, seniors and tourism in West Virginia,” West Virginia Lottery Director Alan Larrick said in a news release Thursday.

According to the lottery, eight West Virginians have won the Powerball jackpot, and 33 people have received prizes of at least $1 million.

Tickets can be purchased at any lottery retailer before 9:59 p.m. Saturday.


►  Civilian compensation costs average $35.28 per hour worked in March 2017

Employer costs for civilian workers averaged $24.10 per hour worked for wages and salaries and $11.18 for benefits in March 2017.

Health insurance was the largest employer benefit cost at $2.94, accounting for 8.3 percent of total compensation costs.

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