- Morgan Korn at Daily Ticker1 day ago
Alfa Romeo will soon officially return to the U.S. market after a 19-year absence. Car enthusiasts can see the luxury brand's 4C sports car up close at the New York International Auto Show, which runs through April 27. The Italian automaker became famous with American drivers when Dustin Hoffman drove the sporty Spider in the baby-boomer coming-of-age film "The Graduate" in 1967.
The 237-horsepower, turbo-charged 4C coupe will have tough competition, including racers such as the Audi TT, Porsche Cayman, BMW Z4 and Mercedes-Benz SLK.
The 4C will hit Fiat dealerships across the country starting in late June or early July. The "Launch Edition" will be limited to 500 models with a sticker price in the $70,000 range. The standard 4C model that comes later will be priced near $54,000. Only 800 to 900 units will be available for sale in the U.S., according to Justin Hyde, managing editor at Yahoo Autos.
- Rick Newman at Daily Ticker2 days ago
Here’s one part of the economy you don’t have to worry about: luxury car sales.
The auto industry has gradually recovered from the wipeout that occurred in 2009, when sales plummeted. But the luxury segment has left most mainstream models in the dust.
Mercedes, BMW and Audi all notched record U.S. sales in 2013. The same pace continues this year, so far.
“There are a lot of people out there who can afford luxury goods,” Steve Cannon, president and CEO of Mercedes-Benz USA, tells me in the video above. “The wealth that has really been there, but been planted on the sidelines, is finding its way into the market.”
Cannon says three factors are fueling the boom in luxury goods. First is the stock market, which is jittery this year but still up 17% during the last 12 months and 114% during the last five years. The housing recovery, though incomplete, has helped many home owners regain much of the equity lost during the housing bust. And with an overall improvement in the economy, consumers are feeling more confident and more willing to spend.
- Bernice Napach at Daily Ticker2 days ago
Get ready for a potentially slow buying season in the housing market.
Pending home sales are down 11% from a year ago, mortgage rates are about 1% higher than a year ago and homebuilders are breaking ground at a slower pace than expected -- at an annual rate of 946,000 units, more than 2% below forecasts.
Robert Shiller, co-founder of the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price index, tells The Daily Ticker that the momentum in housing may be changing.
Investors who had become a growing part of the market are pulling back and the Fed, which has been supporting the housing market through its quantitative easing policies, continues to reduce those purchases, says Shiller.
"It's not at all clear that momentum is a safe bet anymore," says Shiller,a Nobel prize-winning economics professor at Yale. But he expects home prices will continue to rise, though most likely at a slower rate.
- Bernice Napach at Daily Ticker2 days ago
There was a time not so long ago when the income gap between the rich and the poor was shrinking and many near the bottom of the economic ladder moved into the middle class.
Between 1910 and 1950 inequality declined, largely as a result of two World Wars and the Great Depression, writes Thomas Piketty, author of Capital in the Twenty-First Century.But by the 1980s inequality was rising rapidly again, as it had before the industrial revolution, and it hasn't stopped. President Obama calls increasing inequality "the defining issue of our time."
- Aaron Task at Daily Ticker2 days ago
The proverbial window for IPOs may be closing, but it's still open at least a crack. On Thursday, Chinese messaging service Weibo and Sabre Holdings, the parent of Travelocity, made their public debuts. At 91 so far, according to Renaissance Capital, the volume of IPOs in 2014 is more than double the pace of 2013 -- the biggest year for IPOs since 2000. But as with a number of recent deals, including investment bank Moelis, Weibo and Sabre each sold fewer shares than expected, priced offerings below the expected range and struggled on their first day. (Shares of both Weibo and Sabre were up modestly in recent trading.)
- Rick Newman at Daily Ticker3 days ago
General Motors (GM) CEO Mary Barra has the unenviable challenge of explaining why a safety recall involving 2.6 million vehicles and at least 13 deaths took more than a decade to get underway. Her subordinates have a different but equally important job: To keep moving the metal.
GM’s sales have held up so far this year despite the worsening controversy over the safety recall, but that may be about to change. Data from research firm YouGov BrandIndex shows that GM’s reputation has deteriorated steadily during the last two months, as the recall has expanded and Congressional investigators have begun to scrutinize it. The same goes for Chevrolet, GM’s biggest division, which has also suffered a sharp drop in the “buzz score” BrandIndex calculates, wich is based on consumer polling. More people now say they have a negative image of Chevy than a positive image.
- Lauren Lyster at Daily Ticker3 days ago
Fed Chair Janet Yellen in a speech Wednesday before the Economic Club of New York reiterated some of the dovish points we've heard before. She stressed the need for accommodative policy amid slack in the labor market and persistently low inflation. She also said the economic recovery could be nearly complete within two years.
Cardiff Garcia, U.S. Editor of FT Alphaville, tells us in the accompanying video that Yellen's speech was also interesting for what it did not address.
- Nicole Goodkind at Daily Ticker3 days ago
Nearly two years after Facebook’s (FB) tumultuous IPO, the company has found its grounding once again with strong financials and an ever-growing user base. Nearly one-fifth of the time Americans spend on their smartphones is spent using Facebook and the company has completed several large acquisitions including Instagram (for $1 billion), Whatsapp ($19 billion) and virtual reality platform Oculus ($2 billion).
Mark Zuckerberg told The New York Times on Wednesday that he wanted to dismantle his $150 billion social media company. This year he began Creative Labs, which aims to revamp the way the company distributes it services.
“What we’re doing with Creative Labs is basically unbundling the big blue app,” he told The Times. Facebook is planning on splintering into more focused, smaller services.
- Nicole Goodkind at Daily Ticker4 days ago
China’s economy grew by 7.4% in the first quarter of 2014, the slowest rate since September 2012 and below the 7.5% target set by the Chinese government.
“The big picture is that this did miss the [Chinese] government’s target which is what raises eyebrows because China is the ‘engine of global growth’,” says The Daily Ticker’s Lauren Lyster. “But the truth is that’s what the economy is supposed to do there. They are trying to wean themselves off of their desperate addiction to investment-led growth.”
Retail sales in China were up 12.2% year-over-year, beating expectations but industrial production missed estimates at 8.8% and fixed asset investment also slowed down. “Clearly they have a slowdown going on,” says The Daily Ticker’s Aaron Task, “and they’re trying to manage it.”