First Data

After Holiday Buying Binge Comes a Spending Diet

The holiday season was a heck of a party for retailers, but consumers are now nursing a shopping hangover that will keep them out of the nation's stores in January and February. "Now that those credit card bills are hitting mailboxes, shoppers will cut back in a very significant way," said Britt Beemer of America's Research Group.

Private Equity Creates Big Returns, Big Controversy

Now that private equity is no longer producing monster returns, it's time to assess its value. By using debt, buyout shops have taken over struggling companies and enriched investors. But critics say the practice leads to more layoffs and the "flipping" of companies.