Money Minute: Walmart Stokes Smartphone Wars; Coal Firm Faces Big Fine


The first shot is launched in what could become a new price war for smartphones.

Walmart Stores (WMT) is cutting prices on both the iPhone and the Samsung Galaxy S4. The price on the Galaxy drops to $49 from $99. The Apple (AAPL) iPhone 5S drops to $119 from $145, and the 5C goes down to $29 from $45. All of the deals require a two-year service contract with Verizon Wireless (VZ) (VOD) or AT&T (T). And for a two-week period, buyers will also get a $50 gift Walmart gift certificate. The sale heightens speculation that Apple will soon rollout a new iPhone model.

A coal mining company has agreed to pay the largest water pollution fine ever imposed by regulators. Alpha Natural Resources (ANR) will pay more than $27 million, and spend another $200 million to reduce illegal toxic discharges.
Regulators allege the company violated water pollution laws 6,000 times since 2007 -- dumping heavy metals into waters and streams in five states: West Virginia, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Virginia.

Two men have been found guilty of stealing inside information from DuPont (DD) and selling it to a company controlled by the Chinese government. The DuPont chemical is used to whiten all sorts of consumer products.

A new analysis of the proposal to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour finds it will slash government spending on food stamps. The Center for American Progress says an increase would reduce government expenditures by $4.6 billion a year, as 3.5 million people would no longer depend of food stamps.

Here on Wall Street Wednesday, the Dow Jones industrial average (^DJI) fell 35 points, the Standard & Poor's 500 index (^GPSC) was virtually flat, and the Nasdaq composite (^IXIC) gained 6 points.

Finally, the Wall Street Journal reports the buyout firm Cerberus is prepared to offer more than $9 billion for Safeway (SWY), which has more than 1,300 grocery stores across the country. But Kroger (KR), the number one grocery chain, is also considering an offer.

-Produced by Drew Trachtenberg.

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That has to be Senators Pat Toomey's coal company!

March 06 2014 at 1:27 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Just bought a Verizon Smartphone from Walmart without any contracts. Love it No Contract !
Cost us $ 100.00 to buy the phone and it does everything any contract phone can do . So when I get sick of this phone sell it , toss it or what ever ... No one busting my butt about -SORRY YOU STILL HAVE 13 MONTHS LEFT ON YOUR CONTRACT --- PAY UP !!!

March 06 2014 at 12:44 PM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply

Dump phone & data contracts !

March 06 2014 at 12:29 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
Hey PizzaMan

True reasoning behind raising minimum wage!

* the employee pays more taxes(ie puts them in a higher tax bracket)
*Employers have to match more of the ss and medicaid taxes!

There for the government pulls in more taxes without saying we raised taxes!
The last big wage increase caused day to day items surge like milk, bread.What do you think will happen with a 3-4 dollar per hour increase will do!
Simple economics people.

Here is food for thought.....
Can you name 3 programs that our great govenment does for its people,that has a succeded as it was intented and is still in place today....My 3 are....

*the interstate system
* the armed forces
*Government buildings/monuments

All of this paid by us taxpayers!!!
Just my thoughts...Have a great Day!!!!

March 06 2014 at 12:10 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The logic on the elimination of food stamp payouts is flawed. It assumes that businesses will not reduce headcount to be able to pay the higher wages. It is this sort of "static" analysis that people with no real world experience do.

In a prior job we told corporate that customers were price sensitive. They said that 100 X $25 = $2500 and mathematically it is correct. But when the customer is used to paying $20 each and find that your price has gone up to $25.00, they go find someone else that will still sell for $20.00.
Now you have lost $2,000 ($100 X $20.00).

I call this "vacuum thinking" since they don't take into account the real world and how informed people react to changes in the market place. Enough of this, soapbox put away.

March 06 2014 at 11:16 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

A company was dumping heavy metals. That's like throwing money away. Heavy metals are expensive especially copper, lead, tungsten, iron, moly, and zinc/tin.
Raising the minimum wage to $10.10 wont reduce foodstamps by a penny. foodstamps only cover one third of the food cost - you have to pay $10.00 to get $15.00 worth of them.
The bigger problem is Americans are living in multi-family houses. Builders are now even offering these which are new homes designed for two or three families.
One person living there has a full time job income, the rest are unemployed. They feed everybody with foodstamps and rely on emergency room medicaid because medicaid doesn't cover doctor's office visits. They all have poor teeth. They have one car usually a rusty 1992 Ford Taurus or a 1993 Toyota Tercel with one donut tire and a different color door.
All of their clothes come from a thrift store.
Most of the factory jobs have gone over seas or are done by robots. Only thing left is Wal Mart, or fastfood.
More than a minimum wage hike is needed - the entire system needs to be "re-calibrated".

Everyone is living under one roof.

March 06 2014 at 9:53 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to alfredschrader's comment

you paint a pretty typical immigrant situation, now what can you describe that the republicans can support with legislation for help.
Maybe subsidizing the keystone pipeline, or more subsidies for oil companies cut the minimum wage and execute illegals. Or maybe illegals should get life in the electric chair.

March 06 2014 at 10:18 AM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply
Bob G

Well and good...BUT Why limit the sale of these phones to only Verizon and AT&T accounts...
I wish all smartphones were sold unlocked and without contracts ...

Anyway I look at this as an inventory reduction since Apple and Samsung are both ready to introduce new phones...

Bob G

March 06 2014 at 9:34 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply