Business

About 75% Prefer Imitation

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Washington — It’s peak sugaring season in much of the Northeast, when the country’s maple syrup producers tap their trees to collect the sap that flows freely this time of year. It takes about 40 gallons of maple sap — and nothing else — to make one gallon of real maple syrup. By contrast, the artificial stuff — think Aunt …

Federal Regulators Seek to Put Their First Check on Payday Lenders

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Washington — The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau on Thursday unveiled a new plan that it said would help rein in the $50 billion payday lending industry and prevent low-income borrowers from facing spiraling levels of debt. The proposal, which still must face months of review, marks the first attempt by the federal government …

Rising Rents Drive More Millennials Toward Homeownership

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Boston — Americans in their 20s and early 30s are getting a nudge toward homeownership a decade after sales peaked during the housing bubble. It’s not their nagging parents. It’s rents, which have risen so much that buying is making more sense. “I pay $1,410 in rent for my one-bedroom apartment in downtown Denver,” said Eric Arther, 28, who has saved about $30,000 …

Business Notes: March 22, 2015

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Newbury, N.H. — The 82nd annual League of New Hampshire Craftsmen’s Fair will be held Aug. 1-9 at the Mount Sunapee Resort and is expected to draw some 30,000 attendees and more than 350 crafters. This year’s fair will feature an on-site display of the 1866 Peppersass Cog …

Link Between Pay, Spending Tightest Ever

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Washington — When it comes to U.S. economic growth, wages may never have been this important. The link between earnings and consumer spending has been tighter in this expansion than in any other since records began in the 1960s, according to calculations by Tom Porcelli, chief U.S. economist …

Warmer Weather Lets Farmers Plant Crops Earlier in Canada

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Winnipeg, Manitoba — Farmers in Canada will probably be able to sow grain and oilseed crops early this year because warmer-than-usual weather is forecast for the spring. Temperatures in the Canadian prairies are expected to remain above normal until mid-April, when a cold front in the United States …

Big Banks Are Scaling Back Their Brick-and-Mortar Presence

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Pittsburgh — Big banks have been scaling back their massive branch networks in recent years — closing offices and designing smaller ones — as more customers have fewer reasons to do their banking any way but electronically. At least one industry player believes it won’t be long before …

How to Attack Root Causes of Your Debt Problem

Sunday, March 22, 2015

You’ve likely seen commercials that urge you to consolidate all your debt into a loan on which you make the heralded “one low payment.” The concept promises to free some cash so you can more easily live paycheck to paycheck. The consolidation plan also, if you use it …

Consumer Confidential: Credit-Reporting Firms’ Accuracy Push Still Not Enough

Sunday, March 22, 2015

The heavyweight companies that keep credit files on about 200 million U.S. consumers are patting themselves on the back for unveiling steps to improve the accuracy of their records. This would be laudable if it weren’t so laughable. The reality is that credit-reporting firms have been required for …

Fed Redefines Jobless Range It Considers Acceptable

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Washington — The Federal Reserve was in a tough spot: The February U.S. unemployment rate of 5.5 percent is right where the Fed had been saying inflation would likely start to accelerate. Yet inflation remains even lower than the Fed wants it to be. So on Wednesday, the …

Drug-Makers Moves to Protect Profits Draw Interest From U.S. Regulators

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Executives at drug company Actavis knew they had to move fast to avoid a plunge in sales of their top-selling drug, Namenda, a treatment for Alzheimer’s disease that would lose patent protection in July. When that happened, generic knockoffs would flood the market, and doctors and pharmacists could …

Money Talk: No Need to Close IRA to Make Investment Change

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Question: I went to renew my IRA certificate of deposit and the bank officer suggested that I renew at the greater rate being offered for a five-year term (about 1.5 percent APR) rather than the lower rate for a one-year term (about 1 percent APR). She explained that …

Mortgage Trends: What To Expect This Spring

Sunday, March 22, 2015

The first few months of 2015 are behind us and many consumers are wondering if an interest rate hike is in the near future, especially in regard to mortgage rate trends. Real estate activity during last few months of 2014 was slower than expected — both seller and …