Economy

August Retail Sales Beat Economists' Forecasts

A report issued by the Commerce Department Tuesday revealed good news for the U.S. economy, but may lead to another hike in interest rates later this year.The government said that retail sales increased 1.2 percent in August, the strongest sales gain since February 1999. Analysts had forecasted a 0.8 percent increase for August.Auto sales took the lead and increased 2.5 percent. New car sales are now up 19 percent compared to August 1998.

Female Execs Call for Increased Amenities in Hotels and Airlines

Female executives make up 40 percent of business travelers, and in an effort to find ways to cater to this expanded audience, hotels, airlines and other service businesses are instituting many changes to traditional services that have, for years, been geared to men.According to a survey released in September by New York University and Wyndham Hotels and Resorts, female executives want and desire more services amenities.

Consumer Confidence Rated High in Annual ABC News/Money Magazine Poll

The annual ABC News/Money magazine poll reported this week that almost three-fourths of Americans said the U.S. economy is strong, a mark just shy of a previously reported all-time high in confidence.

Cutting Debt is Key Component to Tax Cuts

The debate on tax cuts continued to rage when Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers said this week that reducing the Federal debt was the only way to continue maintaining a strong economy.Although it is widely expected that President Clinton will veto the recommended $697 billion tax cut passed by Congress last month, Summers believes that reducing debt is important to a tax cut for families because a reduction lowers interest rates while increasing investments.

Strong Global Economy Moves Bank of England to Raise Rates

Strong economic conditions and global demand were cited as key factors in the Bank of England's decision to raise Britain's short-term interest rate on Wednesday. The Central Bank's Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) raised Britain's short-term rate by 0.25 percent, moving it from 5.00 to 5.25 percent.The nine member MPC is said to have based their decision on rising retail sales, continued housing price increases and favorable labor market conditions. Various independent surveys reviewed by the committee reported marked increases in economic confidence measures.

Federal Reserve See Hints of Inflation

Although talk of inflation was in the air as Alan Greenspan and Federal Reserve Governor Laurence Meyer spoke at separate functions on Wednesday, both declined to comment on the future outlook of interest rates.Greenspan, who gave a presentation at Grand Valley State University in Grand Rapids, Mich., avoided the topic of interest rates and focused instead on the importance of education and technology in keeping the global economy strong.

Latest News in Washington: Congress Ponders Tax Changes

Before the year is out, taxpayers can rest assured that changes to the tax scenario once again will occur ..

Pay For Performance Increases In The Year 2000

Employees looking to line their pockets with green better step up their performance in 2000. According to Hewitt Associates Salary Increase Survey, salary increases will be moderate - ranging from 4.4 percent for executives to 3.9 for non-union hourly workers.Conversely, the survey finds variable compensation plans will increase by 16 percent. Companies funneling money into pay for performance programs find their fixed costs don't expand with rising salaries; self-funding performance awards are paid as company goals are realized.

Independent Audits' Effectiveness Surveyed by Public Oversight Board

More than 500 persons and organizations familiar with auditing or affected by an audit will be sent confidential questionnaires regarding the effectiveness of independent audits in protecting investors' interests.

Pay Gap Widens Between Management and Workers

The sixth annual survey by the Institute for Policy Studies and United for a Fair Economy today reported that the pay for top corporate executives versus an average production worker last year reached a gap of 419 to 1.The survey, A Decade of Executive Excess," also cited that the gap compares to a 1980 sum of 42 to 1. If the pay for workers had risen at the same pace as executives, the organization says the average production worker would today earn $110,000 annually.
Technology

Inter@ctive Week Launches Research to Rank E-commerce Companies

A ranking of the top 500 revenue-generating private and public companies on the Internet soon will be available. More than 1,600 companies are currently being surveyed in the most comprehensive research project of its kind.Inter@ctive Week is conducting the research in conjunction with the Massachusett's Institute of Technology's Sloan School of Management and Ernst & Young.
Technology

Regions Outside of the U.S. Have Greatest E-Commerce Potential

Regions located outside of the United States have the greatest potential for e-commerce growth according to research conducted by International Data Corp. (IDC). The IDC Report revealed that nearly 60 percent of the world’s online audience is located outside of the United States, with this group expected to generate almost 46 percent of global Internet spending by 2003.IDC’s research showed that e-commerce is strong in Western Europe where the adoption of the Euro is said to be increasing Internet sales.

Easing Economic Growth Reported for Solid Third Quarter

Good news for the economy: the U.S. Commerce Department reported today that U.S. economic output increased 1.8 percent in the second quarter of 1999. The increase is due, in part, to the rise in imports and smaller business inventories. Although these figures were down from the 2.3 percent first reported last month, they remained in line with the expectations of economists.

Fed Raises Short-Term and Discount Interest Rates a Quarter Percent

Predictions that the central bank would raise rates proved true as the U.S. Federal Reserve announced on Tuesday quarter-point increases in both the federal-funds target rate and the discount rate. Spokespersons for the Fed say the bank is maintaining its "neutral" bias toward any future rate changes.Also raised were the federal-funds target rate - or the rate at which banks lend to each other overnight - to 5.25 percent from 5 percent.

Consensus Says Feds Will Raise Interest Rates Today

Word on the street says it's a certainty. Analysts, economists and investors expect Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan to raise short-term interest rates a quarter notch to 5.25 percent.

Increase in Federal Reserve Rates Likely

When the Federal Reserve meets on Tuesday, Aug.

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