___ Lower prices offer Americans slight reprieve from inflation WASHINGTON (AP) — Falling prices for gas, airline tickets and clothes gave Americans a little bit of relief last month, though overall inflation is still running at close to its highest level in four decades. Government data released Wednesday showed that consumer prices jumped 8.5% in July compared with a year earlier. That’s down from a 9.1% year-over-year increase in June. On a monthly basis, prices were unchanged from June to July, the first time that has happened after 25 months of increases. The reprieve offered no certainty that prices would stay on the decline. Inflation has sometimes slowed only to re-accelerate later. ___ Social media offers parents more controls. But do they help? SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — As concerns about social media’s harmful effects on teens continue to rise, platforms from Snapchat to TikTok to Instagram are bolting on new features designed to make their services safer and more age … [Read more...] about Business Highlights: Inflation data, social media controls
Tax write offs when you own your own business
Retirement can loom like a dark cloud for small-business owners. Many invest blood, sweat and tears — and every penny — into building their business but never set cash aside for the future. A huge number of entrepreneurs have reported putting aside no retirement savings at all. For some, selling the business is their only retirement plan. That’s a risky bet, says Keith Hall, president and chief executive officer of the National Association for the Self-Employed. “You’re putting all of your eggs in one basket. Not just your current lifestyle, but your future,” Hall says. “If something goes wrong, you sacrifice both.” And the list of things that could go wrong is long: Your business could fail. Your health could fail. You may not find a buyer. You may have to sell for less than you need. You may not be able to retire fully. Rather than gamble on everything going right, diversify your nest egg so it will last you well into your later years. MAKE RETIREMENT PLANNING A … [Read more...] about Don’t bank on your business to fund your retirement
NEW YORK (AP) — Wall Street's big gains this summer have been spread widely across industries. The profit growth helping to underpin those gains? Not so much. Roughly 90% of the companies in the S&P 500 have reported their second quarter results, and their earnings per share are nearly 8% higher from year-ago levels in aggregate. Along with market-buoying hopes that inflation may be close to a peak, that strong growth has helped the benchmark index jump roughly 15% since mid-June. A closer look shows investors are bidding up prices on all stocks, not just the ones with strong profits. Energy companies, including Exxon Mobil and Chevron, saw their earnings nearly quadruple last quarter from a year earlier as prices soared for oil, gasoline and natural gas amid the worst inflation in 40 years. Take out those companies, and earnings actually fell for the S&P 500, according to data from FactSet. Yet those non-energy stocks rose 9.1% from the end of June through … [Read more...] about Growth in corporate profits may not be as strong as it seems
Opendoor Labs, an online home buying platform, agreed on Monday to pay $62 million to the Federal Trade Commission to settle claims that it used misleading marketing practices to persuade people to sell their homes on the site. The company, which claims it allows homeowners to sell their homes more quickly than through a broker, deceived customers into offering their properties to Opendoor for less than they would have made on the market, the F.T.C. said Monday in a news release . The agency said Opendoor had presented home sellers with charts that showed they would make thousands of dollars more by selling their properties on the platform compared with in the traditional marketplace. Opendoor said in a statement on Monday that it disagreed with the F.T.C.’s allegations, which the company said were tied to its business activities from 2017 to 2019. “While we strongly disagree with the F.T.C.’s allegations, our decision to settle with the commission will allow us to … [Read more...] about Home buying firm settles deceptive marketing claims for $62 million.
NEW YORK (AP) — Gas prices are falling but still higher than they were a year ago. And inflation has made most everything else more expensive. If you're looking to save money on your commute, here are some tips: IF YOU HAVE A CAR: MAKE A DRIVING STRATEGY AAA recommends avoiding traffic and adjusting your normal route in order to avoid unnecessary driving. When possible, visit “one-stop shops” where you can run multiple errands in the same space and only use premium gas for cars that either recommend it or require it. “Paying for premium gas for a car that is regular is a waste of money and is of no benefit to the vehicle,” according to AAA. MODERATE YOUR SPEED Driving the speed limit can help you save money. Most vehicles reach optimal fuel economy at 50 mph. For every 5 mph you drive over that, it can cost an additional 30 cents per gallon, according to fueleconomy.org. For more tips to save on fuel, the U.S. government offers recommendations such as how to choose a … [Read more...] about Tips for saving on your commute amid high inflation
President Joe Biden’s Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen is now begging the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) not to target working and middle-class Americans after Senate Democrats voted down a measure that would have banned such practices. On Sunday, Senate Democrats passed the “Inflation Reduction Act” which includes $80 billion for the IRS to conduct widespread “enforcement” and “criminal investigations” via audits into American taxpayers. Democrats, on a party-line vote, voted down Sen. Mike Crapo’s (R-ID) amendment that would have banned any of the new IRS funds from being used to target Americans earning less than $400,000 annually. Crapo said the amendment ensured that President Joe Biden would not break his promise to not raise taxes on Americans earning less than $400,000 a year. Instead, Democrats tried to include language that only suggested the IRS not to go after working and middle-class Americans with more audits — vowing “nothing in this subsection is intended … [Read more...] about Yellen Begs IRS Not to Target Middle-Class After Dems Greenlight Audits