consumer

Daily Blogwatch: Is Google a Monopoly?

Some of the best reads for investors from around the Web, including posts evaluating how consumers spend their money, whether Google could be considered a monopoly and the debate about the Fed's policy on quantitative easing.

GM Vehicles Rise in Consumer Reports' Latest Quality Survey

Although Honda and Toyota remain the benchmark of reliability in the U.S. automobile industry, General Motors has made considerable strides in improving the quality of its cars and trucks, according to the magazine's 2010 Annual New Car Reliability Survey.

Up or Down: 5 Retailing Leaders -- and 5 Laggards

Some merchants adjusted quickly to the "new normal" of penny-pinching shoppers, but others are still struggling with shrinking consumer budgets or headwinds they were fighting before the bottom fell out. Here's a look at the two groups that are going in two different directions.

National Retailers Go Local to Boost the Bottom Line

Knowing customers' likes and dislikes is about as basic as it gets in retailing. But for years, chain department stores got it wrong. More concerned with profits and keeping down costs, big retailers kept a tight rein on inventories and focused more on sameness. Not anymore.

Warren Accepts Role as Consumer Agency Adviser

Elizabeth Warren said Friday that she had accepted the position of creating a consumer financial protection agency, and vowed the agency would put an end to "tricks and traps" in consumer lending. In a White House blog post this morning, Warren said she "enthusiastically agreed" to take the position of assistant to the President and adviser to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner.

American Eagle Reports Earnings of 5 Cents Per Share

Clothing company American Eagle Outfitters (AEO) reported second quarter earnings of 5 cents per diluted share, down from 14 cents per diluted share a year earlier. The company recorded $18 million of pre-tax closure charges related to the closing of its MARTIN OSA business in the second quarter, American Eagle said in statement. Income from continuing operations dropped to $26 million, from $37 million a year earlier.

Don't Blame the Economy on the Uncertainty

The government today is often blamed for causing economic uncertainty, which some point to as the source of all the economy's woes. But there's a deeper issue in play than the fact that we have to guess what's coming next: The problem is the bias in our guesses.

Banks Find Clever Ways Around New Credit Card Rules

Consumers should have seen it coming a mile away. In May, the federal government signed into law the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility, and Disclosure (CARD) Act of 2009, which included lots of new rules designed to protect consumers from predatory practices by banks and credit card companies, such as hidden fees and sky-high interest rates. The new rules, which go into full effect on February 22, threaten to take a big bite out of the $15 billion in penalties and fees that the industry collects each year. So what have banks and card issuers done? They've come up with new fees.

Love Will Be on a Budget This Valentine's Day

Even Cupid is frugal these days. With mildly optimistic retail forecasts for 2010, experts expect lovers will hold their wallets tight while shopping for Valentine's Day gifts. For the full year, retail sales are expected to rise only a modest 2.5%.

A Rising Note for Consumer Confidence

The nation's recovery may appear slow in coming, but consumers are more upbeat heading into 2010. The Conference Board's consumer confidence rose to 52.9 in December, up from a revised 50.6 last month. That's the second monthly rise in a row.