Latest Blogposts

  • Anyone who’s bought a house knows about the little things that can affect its value: a marble countertop adds a few grand; a lack of parking takes back a bit more. Unfinished basement? See ya.

    But, there’s another class of value killers that can eat up hundreds of thousands of dollars, or make a home essentially worthless. And with our wealth increasingly tied up in our homes, finding out you just bought a “stigmatized” home can be ruinous.

     A potential nightmare example emerged last week with an Antigonish, Nova Scotia house that saw its assessed value drop to $1 from $365,000 after the owners found Mi’kmaq artifacts on the property and reported them. If the goal was to reduce property taxes, it was shrewd. But selling the place could be nearly impossible if potential buyers worry they won’t be able to do anything with the property.

    Real estate laws in Canada can be murky on this stuff, as sellers are only required to disclose material defects to the property, such as a crack in the

    Read More »from Home value killers: Problems that could make your property near worthless
  • How a white supremacist tapped into a Jewish fortune

    Yahoo Finance Exclusive: Earl Holt started giving money to GOP pols after marrying the widow of a Jewish businessman

    Editor's note:This story contains racially charged language some readers are likely to find offensive.

    As president of a white nationalist group linked with the murders of nine churchgoers in Charleston, S.C. on June 17, Earl P. Holt III is straddling the uneasy boundary between free speech and racial hatred. Once known only to watchdog groups that monitor extremist groups, Holt has suddenly become notorious for racial slurs splattered across the Internet and for writings on his group's web site that supposedly inspired Dylann Roof, the alleged Charleston shooter, to carry out a massacre. Holt has become so toxic that Republican politicians who accepted campaign donations from him have returned the money or given it to charity.

    But for most of his life, Holt never gave a dime to politicians. His donations didn't begin until 2010, when he wrote a few $250 checks to one Congressman from Arizona and another from Hawaii. The checks became more frequent and the amounts larger.

    By 2015,

    Read More »from How a white supremacist tapped into a Jewish fortune
  • This week in weird business news…

    Government officials in central Russia are shutting down yoga classes. The owners of two studios that rent space from the city of Nizhnevartovsk have received letters stating that they must stop teaching yoga "in order to prevent the spread of new religious cults and movements." The letters go on to say that the form of exercise is “inextricably linked to religious practices.”

    The owners of the yoga studios told British newspaper The Times that they’re both scared and amused and that they’re working on gathering evidence that yoga does not lead to cult activity.

    Last January, Russian president Vladimir Putin made fun of Indian prime minister Narendra Modi for starting a ministry of Yoga, asking “why would anyone do that?” And in April 2014, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov stated that Americans who were unhappy with the hostile situation in Crimea could “Spend more time in the open, practice yoga, stick to food-combining diets, maybe watch some

    Read More »from Central Russian Officials ban yoga for being too cult-like: Weird Business News
  • What do Tootsie Roll, Elmer’s Glue and Lagunitas Brewing Company have in common?

    They are just a few of the nearly 200,000 American companies that make up the so-called middle market of the U.S. economy. Many of these companies are solid, family-run businesses that are often less visible in the economy than large cap, public companies. They range in revenue from $10 million to $1 billion a year.

    Tom Stewart, Executive Director of the National Center for the Middle Market, which studies this section of the economy, says these are critical to America's competitiveness. Stewart says these companies represent one-third of jobs, one-third of GDP and “the most significant source of growth in both revenues and employment in the U.S. economy.”

    This Fourth of July, Yahoo Finance is saluting these companies. Here’s how you can have an All-American, all-middle market Independence Day:

    Fly your flag by Annin Flagmakers

    Founded in 1847 by brothers Edward and Benjamin Annin, New Jersey-based Annin

    Read More »from Born in the USA: Samuel Adams beer, Nathan's Famous, Radio Flyer
  • Job growth cooled down a bit last month. The Labor Department reported the U.S. economy created 223,000 jobs in June, slightly below the 230,000 economists were expecting. Meantime, revisions for May and April showed 60,000 fewer jobs were created in those two months.

    The overall unemployment rate edged lower to 5.3%, still holding on to that seven-year low and not too far from the 5.0%-5.2% range most Fed policymakers consider consistent with full employment.

    Joe Brusuelas, chief economist at McGladrey, says some seasonal factors in the report likely understates the true pace of job growth in the economy.

    "What you are seeing is just a bit of a payback for over the last several months... We've seen some really strong growth--even that decline in the unemployment rate. What happened was over the past two months, 500,000 people entered the workforce because wages actually are going up, we just saw a little break in June. You'll see that reaccelerate," he says. "I would fully expect that

    Read More »from June jobs report not a Fed game changer despite some weakness
  • Employer-provided health plan deductibles have risen 47% since 2009, which means consumers are shelling out more before their insurance kicks in. The average deductible for a family in the U.S. was $4,522 in 2013, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. Meanwhile, many copay-based plans have given way to plans that offer coinsurance — a percentage of costs that the individual must pay, even after they meet their deductible.

    Learning when and how to negotiate your medical bills is a useful strategy if you’re in a high-deductible plan or need to go out of network.

    [Get the Latest Market Data and News with the Yahoo Finance App]

    Figure out your medical billing code. Every procedure has a unique billing code (a unique five-number code you’d find on your doctor’s or hospital bill next to the service). Once you’ve got the right code, that makes it easier to call around to compare rates. Just be sure to describe exactly what you’re looking for; for example, an MRI of your lower back will

    Read More »from Money Minute: Can I really negotiate my doctor's bills?
  • Summer spirit sales are soaring

    Traditionally, purveyors of alcoholic beverages have focused a lot of their attention on the holiday season. But one major spirits company says the tide is turning, and summer is fast becoming an even more popular time of year to imbibe.

    Kate Pomeroy of spirits giant Pernod Ricard says there are two sides to the story when it comes to summer’s growth in liquor popularity.

    Get the Latest Market Data and News with the Yahoo Finance App

    “There’s the traditional summer drinks - the rums, the tequilas, the vodkas,” she notes, “but then on the other side what we’re seeing is whiskey, which is a burgeoning trend across the whole category. Consumers are extending their... drinking of whiskey into that summer period.”

    Some attribute the recent rise in whiskey drinking to Don Draper and the other "Mad Men," but while the hit show may be over, America’s love of brown liquor lives on.

    Still, equally important is the continued interest in traditional summer beverages. For Pernod Ricard that means

    Read More »from Summer spirit sales are soaring
  • Big banks spending even more than VCs on future of finance

    Financial technology startups are hot, red hot. The group raised almost $3 billion in the first quarter, according to CB Insights. And over the past 12 months, investors have poured almost $14 billion into 824 financings in the sector -- that's more deals than companies in sexier areas like cybersecurity and home automation completed.

    The fintech upstarts are challenging the status quo in seemingly every aspect of the financial markets, from banking and bill paying to asset management and payments processing. They're even venturing beyond the current system into areas like digital currency Bitcoin and equity crowdfunding.

    But the big banks aren't standing still. The establishment plans to spend $16.6 billion on its own set of digital initiatives this year, according to a report from IDC. So-called digital transformation spending still makes up less than one-quarter of all retail bank IT spending but is growing at about three times the rate of overall spending, IDC says.

    Big banks still

    Read More »from Big banks spending even more than VCs on future of finance
  • You no longer have to leave your couch to get a medical marijuana card in California.

    Eaze, the marijuana-delivery startup backed by Snoop Dogg, this week launched EazeMD, an on-demand telemedicine service that allows California residents to obtain or renew medical marijuana recommendations virtually in as little as 15 minutes.

    “The current model seemed broken. It’s unnatural and inconvenient,” Eaze founder and CEO Keith McCarty said.

    Traditionally, medical marijuana patients in California, which voted to legalize medical marijuana in 1996, have had to seek out a doctor who writes medical marijuana recommendations and visit that doctor in person, much like you would any other doctor. Insurance doesn’t cover the visits, which typically cost $100 or more.

    EazeMD cuts the cost of an appointment to $25 and allows users to request medical evaluations online. Evaluations are conducted via online video, and patients don't have to look for their own doctors.

    A screenshot from EazeMDA screenshot from EazeMD

    “Just as they would in a doctor’s

    Read More »from Marijuana delivery apps now bring the doctors to you — virtually and literally
  • Apple's latest ebooks loss won't appeal to Supreme Court majority

    Apple (AAPL) lost yet again this week in its effort to shake charges it ran a conspiracy to hike e-book prices. But the latest defeat contained the seeds of what could ultimately be the company's vindication, at least for its battered reputation.

    On Tuesday, a panel of judges from the Second Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a two-year-old ruling that Apple was a critical player in the illegal (and highly successful) conspiracy to eliminate the $9.99 price for best-selling e-books that Amazon (AMZN) had made popular. But it was the minority report in the 2-1 decision, a dissent by Judge Dennis Jacobs in favor of Apple, that could be far more significant in the long run.

    That's because the reasoning of Jacobs, a pro-business judge appointed by the first President Bush, is much more in line with the pro-business, conservative majority on the Supreme Court. If Apple appeals to the Supremes, it is Jacobs' opinion, not that of his two colleagues, that's likely to have more sway.

    Apple hasn't

    Read More »from Apple's latest ebooks loss won't appeal to Supreme Court majority
  • New Balance ups game with new ad campaign

    New Balance is upping its game. The sneaker maker is launching its biggest global advertising campaign in its 100 year history, dubbed "Always in Beta." This move comes as the company looks for new ways to go head to head with bigger players in the industry, such as Nike (NKE) and Adidas. 
    “It’s an effort to position our brand up against the biggest in our category in footwear, apparel and accessories and in multiple sports,” New Balance's Chief Executive told Bloomberg
    The company made $3.3 billion in revenue in 2014 and is expected to close in on the $4 billion mark this year. 

    New Balance, known mostly for its running shoes, has been expanding its reach to other sports, such as soccer, baseball, tennis and even cricket. 

    The new ad blitz kicks off today and will include TV spots in 70 countries. It will also feature 17 athletes from a variety of sports around the globe, including Jenny Simpson, Emma Coburn, Miguel Cabrera, Robinson Cano, Milos Raonic, Aaron Ramsey, Vincent
    Read More »from New Balance ups game with new ad campaign
  • Time for your daily dose of trending tickers, the stocks you're following based on your Yahoo Finance ticker searches.

    Peabody Energy
    Traders didn't dig coal miner Peabody Energy (BTU). The stock is tanking after the company warned on its outlook. For the year, the stock is down about 77%. Peabody blamed the floods in Montana and lower coal prices in Australia for the disappointing guidance.

    Dipping profits caused McCormick (MKC) to lose ground. The spice maker missed second quarter earnings estimates. Revenue also came in slightly below expectations. The company said sales were impacted by the stronger dollar. McCormick, which claims 20% of the global packaged spice and herb market, did raise its full year forecast.

    Get the Latest Market Data and News with the Yahoo Finance App

    Chubb & ACE
    Shares of Chubb (CB) skyrocketed. The insurer of luxury homes and yachts is being bought by rival ACE Limited (ACE). The news also pushed ACE stock higher. The stock-and-cash deal is valued

    Read More »from Chubb hefty on ACE deal; McCormick hit by dollar; Peabody shafted
  • Yesterday's weak market bounce has given way to an all-out rally today with all three indices (^DJI, ^GSPC, ^IXIC) solidly in the green.

    Here are some of the other stories Yahoo Finance is keeping an eye on today.

    Get the Latest Market Data and News with the Yahoo Finance App

    Bill Gross was once the undisputed Bond King of Wall Street. Since moving from PIMCO to Janus (JNS) last September however, the fund he has led has disappointed with respect to both inflows and performance. Now the Denver-based Janus is buying a majority interest in Kapstream Capital and with it they are giving Gross a new partner - Kumar Palghat - a Kapstream founder and former PIMCO employee

    Today marks Twitter (TWTR) CEO Dick Costolo's last day on the job, and he had some harsh words for Wall Street. In an interview with the Guardian, Costolo said that going public accelerated short-term thinking, making it difficult to focus on the long term vision.

    Tesla (TSLA) owners are becoming frustrated with long lines

    Read More »from Tesla's charging troubles, Bill Gross gets a partner and Twitter's CEO shuffle
  • About that 36% effective tax rate for Jeb Bush

    This is a guest contributor article written by Michael Kitces. Mr. Kitces is a Partner and the Director of Research for Pinnacle Advisory Group, co-founder of the XY Planning Network, and publisher of the blog Nerd’s Eye View.

    Yesterday presidential hopeful Jeb Bush released 33 years worth of tax returns in the spirit of campaign transparency with a headline that he had paid an effective tax rate of 36%.

    A deeper look reveals that Jeb Bush has only had one year in the past 33 that he faced an effective tax rate higher than 36%, the most recent year of 2013. That was the year the 39.6% tax bracket returned under the American Taxpayer Relief Act. In other words Bush stated his effective tax rate was 36% for the past 33 years, when in reality it was lower than that in 32 of the last 33 years and was only slightly above that level in the very last year.

    The disparity between Bush’s self-reported results and a calculation of his underlying effective tax rate for each of the past 33 years

    Read More »from About that 36% effective tax rate for Jeb Bush
  • Here's a look at some of the stocks the Yahoo Finance team will be watching for you

    Chubb (CB) shares are surging in early trading. The insurer of luxury homes and yachts is being bought by rival ACE for $28.3 billion in cash and stock. Shares of ACE (ACE) are also sharply higher on the news.
    Fiat Chrysler (FCAU) shares are higher this morning. The automaker is reporting its best U.S. June sales since 2006. U.S. sales rose 8.2% in June as demand for Jeep and Chrysler vehicles remained strong. Ford (F) and General Motors (GM) are also due to report monthly sales figures today. 
    General Mills (GIS) shares are on the move in early trading. The company behind brands such as, Cheerios and Yoplait yogurt reported better-than-expected earnings per share in its fiscal fourth quarter, but revenue missed analysts' forecasts as the stronger dollar took a toll on sales. The company is also struggling to adjust to a shift in consumer
    Read More »from Chubb surges on ACE deal; Fiat Chrysler sales jump again; AeroVironment flys high


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