Japanese automaker Honda confirmed on Tuesday that it would close its factory in Swindon, England, by 2021. The plant, Honda’s only one in the UK, currently employs 3,500 workers and produces around 150,000 cars a year. The site will close down once Honda’s current line of Civic cars has come to an end.Read More
The recently concluded US government shutdown depressed the morales of many citizens who had to live for a substantial amount of time devoid of any work and necessary payment. Although the shutdown has, at least as of now, been terminated, the repercussions are still quite evident. Taxpayers’ woes have significantly increased as the Internal Revenue Service’s ( IRS) response rate and services drastically curtailed after the shutdown.
According to a recently released government audit, a “shocking” number of taxpayers’ calls to the IRS were either not being picked up within a reasonable period, or not being answered at all. Five million pieces of mail were not answered and a striking 87,000 amended tax returns which were not processed during the shutdown. Similar unwanted issues with the services of the IRS persisted even after the shutdown. Even after many of the IRS workers came back to their jobs, less than 50 percent of the calls to the IRS’s account-management lines were answered.
Additionally, while last year, the hold time for callers was four minutes, the number crept up to a staggering 17 minutes this year post the shutdown. IRS officials defended the agency’s operations. A recently released statement noted the following “ We are continuing to assess the impact of the shutdown on our various operations across the agency and remain proud of the many IRS employees who have risen to the resulting challenges” further adding “ The IRS is committed to continually making improvements across our information technology, tax enforcement, and taxpayer service operations.”
However, questions have been raised regarding this year’s tax seasons before the shutdown, primarily due to the $1.5 trillion tax overhaul which was implemented by the Trump administration at the beginning of 2018. Individual income tax rates were reduced and several personal tax exemptions and tax breaks, such as the state and the local tax deduction, were done away with. An aura of utter bewilderment is looming above the tax scenario, as the exact amount to deduct from workers’ paychecks is currently unknown.
Analysts at Wall Street are also unsure of the situation. Morgan Stanley predicts that tax refunds will drive savings and spending rates initially this year. “ For your average taxpayer, it’s going to be a record high tax refund season. Much higher than they expected,” confirmed Ellen Zentner, chief United States economist at Morgan Stanley. The bank’s economists predict that the increase in tax refunds should result in increased consumer expenditures in the first quarter. However, such an increase may prove to be evanescent as rates are predicted to slow down in subsequent quarters drastically.
On Monday, Amazon.com Inc. disclosed its plans to acquire Eero, a company that offers many small customizable wireless routers around the house to prevent Wifi dead zones. Although the acquisition price has not been disclosed, in a private financing round in 2016 Eero was valued at $251 million by Sand Hill Econometrics, an economic consulting firm. The startup, based in San Francisco, raised nearly $100 million in venture capital from investors such as Index Ventures, Initialized Capital, and Menlo Ventures.Read More
President Trump is expected to nominate David Malpass as the next President of the World Bank. Malpass, currently the undersecretary for international affairs at the Treasury, has long been an outspoken critic of the bank. He has argued that the bank has become too focused on its expansion rather than fulfilling its role in helping developing countries combat poverty.Read More
The United States Securities and Exchange Commission has requested information from Japanese carmaker Nissan Motor amidst the scrutiny of its former chairman Carlos Ghosn’s financial misconduct accusations. The SEC is investigating the verity of Nissan’s executive pay disclosures. A spokesperson for Nissan said that the company “[has] received an inquiry … and [is] cooperating fully.”Read More
On Thursday, Starbucks announced that it would begin offering delivery services at around 2,000 of its roughly 8,000 stores in the United States in early 2019. The coffee chain began testing its new program in Miami over the summer and will partner with Uber Eats to deliver drinks to customers’ doors.Read More
On Thursday, Lyft Inc. announced that it had filed confidential paperwork for an initial public offering, keeping the company on track in its agenda to reach the public market by March or April of 2019, although the timing is “subject to market and other conditions.” The underwriters for the IPO are said to be JPMorgan Chase, Credit Suisse and Jefferies, while the number of shares and price range is still unknown.Read More
Qatar citizens have the highest per capita income of any country thanks to its status as the world’s largest exporter of liquefied natural gas, but the country’s decision to end its nearly 60-year-old membership in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) caught many observers by surprise earlier this week.Read More
On Friday, Marriott International Inc. disclosed a data breach in its Starwood reservation database that could expose the personal information of up to 500 million guests. Marriott was alerted to a potential breach on Sept. 8, and after investigating, the company found that the hack into the system has allowed unauthorized access since 2014. Marriott found that the hacker had copied and encrypted the information, but wasn’t able to identify the exact information accessed until Nov. 19.
Deutsche Bank is Germany’s leading bank founded in 1870, with a strong position in Europe and a significant presence in the Americas and the Asia Pacific. Although the Bank was once known for its aggressive efforts to compete with Wall Street institutions, it has shrunk after years of losses as a result of problems including a bloated investment bank and trading desk and costly legal settlements tied to the sale of toxic mortgage securities. As a matter of fact, despite the bank’s valued company value in integrity, discipline, and client-centricity, earlier this Thursday, its headquarter in Frankfurt and five more offices were searched by one hundred seventy officers under a money-laundering investigation involving hundreds of millions of euros.Read More
The United Kingdom is potentially standing at the brink of recession. The warning couldn’t have been any clearer from the Bank of England. A no-deal Brexit can send the British pound on a long downward spiral, resulting in a recession that could potentially prove to be worse than the 2008 financial crisis. The devastating effects can potentially shrink the UK economy by eight percent.Read More
On Wednesday, UK Prime Minister Theresa May said that her cabinet supported the Brexit deal with the European Union. The resignation of important UK government ministers such as Boris Johnson and David Davis, however, highlighted the difficulty of getting a divided parliament to approve the deal. If Parliament does not approve, there are greater chances of a no-deal Brexit, meaning that there would be no agreement on the exit.
A potential Southeast Asian-centered trade deal fell short of being finalized for 2018. This year, the annual summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations was held in Singapore, where Prime Minister, Lee Hsien Loong confirmed that the final verdict was to postpone any such plans of a free- trade initiative to the subsequent year.
Tuesday’s midterm election results have shown that Democrats will take control of the House of Representatives for the first time since 2010, while the Senate will maintain a Republican majority. What could this combination of a Republican President and a split Congress mean for the economy? Main areas of reconsideration include infrastructure, healthcare, the minimum wage, and tax cuts.Read More
President Trump signed the "Tax Cuts and Jobs Act" into law on Dec. 22., 2017, bringing sweeping changes to the tax code. Generous incentives in the Trump tax are meant to persuade people to work through business challenges, but financial advisers now have a new way to deliver impact investing to wealthy clients — one that comes with substantial tax benefits — according to the fledgling federal tax law.Read More
On Friday, chain store retailer Five Below Inc. opened its newest location in Manhattan. Its first outpost in New York City spans 11,000 square feet and is located on Fifth Avenue, between 44th and 45th Streets. Five Below has opened 67 new stores in 2018 so far and plans to reach 750 by the end of the year, almost quadrupling the number of stores since its initial public offering in 2012.
Goldman Sachs forecasts the yuan reaching 7.1 against the dollar in the next six months, breaching the psychologically important barrier of 7. MK Tang, a senior China economist at Goldman in Hong Kong, said that "we see good economic reasons arguing for a weaker yuan, especially in the coming months," Tang said. "It’s only a matter of time for the yuan to hit 7."Read More
On Tuesday, Italy’s 2019 fiscal budget was rejected by the European Union Commission. The European Union Commission’s vice president, Valdis Dombrovskis, stated that rejecting the budget plan was the only viable option they had. The budget goes against the requirements of the Stability and Growth Pact, which is essentially a set of rules and regulations established to ensure countries part of the European Union are making financially safe decisions and are properly coordinating their respective fiscal policies.
Automotive company Tesla Inc. reported its surprising third-quarter earnings of $311.5 million, its first profit in two years and its third quarterly profit ever. The automaker earned $22 million in the third quarter of 2016 and $11.2 million in the first quarter of 2013 and has yet to report an annual profit.Read More