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Market News (01/15/2013)

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MADISON, Wis. (1/15/13)

  • U.S. retailers are worried that the expiration of the Social Security tax break on paychecks the past two years will cause consumers to cut back on their spending (The Wall Street Journal Jan. 13). Congress allowed the tax break--which gave consumers a temporary 4.2% reduction for Social Security taxes on their paycheck from the standard 6.2%--to expire at the beginning of this year. With consumers remaining cautious during tough economic times, the noticeable subtraction from paychecks is a threat that could curtail economic growth, the Journal said. That reduction in personal income could add to consumers' already-frugal approach to spending. It also could result in less spending at restaurants and a shift to less costly store brands, the Journal said …
  • Worldwide business confidence has risen since the fall, despite political wrangling in Washington, D.C., over government fiscal policy--especially the fiscal cliff and raising the Treasury debt ceiling, according to Moody's Analytics Survey of Business Confidence (Moody's Economy.com Jan. 14). Assessments of the present business situation have risen into a range between 33.3 and 38.9 the past few weeks from 23.8 at the end of November. Likewise, expectations for the economy six months from now have increased to 26.5 for the week ended Jan. 11 from 17.6 for the week ended Nov. 30. However, despite those improved readings, businesses still are worried, and the survey readings continue to indicate a soft economy, Moody's concluded …

News of the Competition (01/15/2013)

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MADISON, Wis. (1/15/13)

  • The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) announced a bank closing Friday, the first bank failure in 2013. There were 51 bank failures in 2012. The failed bank is Westside Community Bank, University Place, Wash., which was assumed by Sunwest Bank, Irvine, Calif. The closed bank held about $98 million in assets as of Sept. 30. The FDIC estimated the failure will cost its Deposit Insurance Fund roughly $20 million …
  • Some U.S. Bank customers soon can use the bank's new Go Mobile payment system--which allows iPhone owners to use a near-field communications-furnished case to make contactless payments (American Banker Jan. 11). The first to test the system before a wider introduction later this year will be New FlexPerks Travel Rewards Visa Signature Cardholders in Portland, Ore., and Salt Lake City, the bank announced Thursday …