<![CDATA[NBC Chicago - Chicago Business News - Money, Financial & Corporate News]]>Copyright 2016http://www.nbcchicago.com/news/business http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/5-Chicago-Blue.png NBC Chicago http://www.nbcchicago.comen-usSat, 30 Apr 2016 19:49:04 -0500Sat, 30 Apr 2016 19:49:04 -0500NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Rovi Buying TiVo in $1.1.B Cash-and-Stock Deal]]> Fri, 29 Apr 2016 07:42:37 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-51921649.jpg

Digital TV listing company Rovi is buying TiVo in a cash-and-stock deal valued at about $1.1 billion.

Rovi Corp. said Friday that it will pay $10.70 in cash and stock for each TiVo Inc. share. Rovi will pay $2.75 per share in cash, or about $277 million. The rest, $7.95 per share, will be paid in stock.

Once the deal closes, the combined business will use the TiVo name. TiVo is a digital video recording company.

Rovi CEO Tom Carson will serve as CEO of the new company. The executive said in a written statement on Friday that the buyout will help to extend services across platforms and expand its customer base. The transaction will add more than 10 million TiVo-served households to Rovi's current customer base of about 18 million households using its guides globally.

The companies anticipate at least $100 million in annual cost savings. The transaction is expected to add to Rovi's adjusted earnings per share within the first year after closing.

Both companies' boards have approved the deal, which is targeted to close in the third quarter. It still needs approval from both companies' shareholders.

Shares of TiVo, based in San Jose, California, added 17 cents to $9.59 in premarket trading. Shares of Rovi, based in Santa Clara, California, surged $1.15, or 6.6 percent, to $18.50.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[What To Do If You Are Audited by the IRS]]> Tue, 26 Apr 2016 15:25:01 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/tax+envelope.jpg

You've received a letter from the IRS regarding an audit. Stay calm and assess the situation.

The letter you receive may be one of three types:

Adjustment Letter – This notifies you of a change in your taxes owed, or the refund amount. In this case, it is generally from an obvious wrong number entry or miscalculation on your form.

Correspondence Audit – This letter asks for further information to verify your tax return; such as a W-2 form that does not match the amount reported by your employer. The letter will tell you exactly what information is needed and how to respond. It is possible that your entire audit can be dealt with via correspondence. This is the most common form of audit.

Examination Audit – This in-person audit is what most people envision... and fear. The letter will let you know the nature of the audit, what information is needed, and how to schedule an in-person appointment. The appointment may take place in your home, place of business, or at an IRS office. You generally have ten days to schedule an appointment.

There is a comprehensive list of notices and letters at the IRS website, along with links for further explanation. All letters and notices will contain the reason for the letter, its purpose, and how to respond.

Once you have read your letter and understand the issue, what's next?

Step 1. Don't Ignore the Issue – Ignoring the problem will not make it go away. The issue may be simple, such as acknowledging a math error, and may only require sending a check. In any case, you have a set amount of time to reply. This varies depending on the type of notice, but it is typically 30 or 60 days. If you have to pay interest, the more you delay, the more you will have to pay.

Step 2. Do you Need Representation? – You probably need representation by a CPA or attorney if you disagree with their findings, cannot find the documentation the IRS requested, or have a more complex tax issue.

You are still responsible for your return even if you had a third party prepare it for you. Take advantage of whatever audit defense is included with your contract. Professional tax-preparation does not guarantee freedom from an audit.

Step 3. Audit Preparation – Gather all the information requested, and have it organized. Make sure you have the correct year – IRS audits can involve returns from up to three years prior, and two years is not uncommon. It is wise to keep records for up to six years.

Step 4. The Audit – Bring all the requested information with you, and answer the auditor's questions to the best of your ability. Do not bring extra information, or discuss other issues – stick to the focus of the audit. You may have your representative with you during the audit, and you may make an audio recording as long as you provide advance notice.

Step 5. The Conclusion – The auditor will either agree with you and resolve the matter, or rule against you and require you to pay some additional taxes. There may be penalties and interest charges that you are liable for as well. You can choose to pay, or fight in court if you think your chances of success are good and the amount at stake is much greater than the legal fees.

The good news is, if you filed your return honestly -- and maintained thorough documentation and proof of your deductions – any additional taxes due are likely to be manageable. Consequently, keep your records in order, follow the IRS instructions, and get representation as needed. Your audit experience should be less painful than you fear it will be. And if you do assume the fetal position, snap out of it long enough to take care of business.

This story first appeared on Moneytips.com. More from Moneytips:

 



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[DoJ Approves Charter Deal to Buy Time Warner Cable]]> Mon, 25 Apr 2016 18:36:55 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/475414152-charter-communications.jpg

The U.S. Justice Department approved Charter Communications' proposed purchase of Time Warner Cable and Bright House networks on Monday, Reuters reports.

The Justice Department valued the purchase of Time Warner Cable at $78 billion and Bright House at $10.4 billion.

The deal must also be approved by the Federal Communications Commission. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler will circulate an order on Monday seeking approval of the deal from the five-member commission with conditions, the Justice Department said.



Photo Credit: Getty Images, file]]>
<![CDATA[$martMoney]]> Tue, 08 May 2012 09:08:56 -0500 ]]> <![CDATA[Trans-Alaska Pipeline Resumes Oil Production After Fire ]]> Thu, 21 Apr 2016 19:51:11 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/160421-alaska-pipeline-749p_83a192ebac3e50487de2b8a05858d82a.nbcnews-ux-2880-1000.jpg

The Trans-Alaska Pipeline resumed operations after a fire at a pumping station forced officials to shut it down on Wednesday, according to the company running the system, NBC News reported.

An employee noticed the flames at the pipeline’s pump station in the Coldfoot area near the Arctic Circle and the pipeline was shut down, Alyeska Pipeline Service Company said.

The pipeline was restarted at a reduced rate of about 400,000 barrels a day. The company said it was returning the pipeline to full operation. No injuries were reported.

The pipeline transports 545,000 barrels of oil — or just under 23 million gallons — a day.



Photo Credit: Alyeska Pipeline Service Company]]>
<![CDATA[Intel to Cut 12K Jobs, Reducing Workforce by 11 Percent]]> Tue, 19 Apr 2016 16:09:34 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/184*120/91022387.jpg

Shares of Intel fell nearly 3 percent after the bell Tuesday as it announced it would cut 12,000 jobs, or 11 percent of its workforce, by 2017, due to restructuring, CNBC reports. 

Intel, based in Santa Clara, California, also said Chief Financial Officer Stacy Smith would leave that role to lead sales.

The change comes as Intel customers are looking beyond PCs for the "next big experience," from cloud computing to personal assistant robots, CEO Brian Krzanich told CNBC at January's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.



Photo Credit: Getty Images, file]]>
<![CDATA[Last-Minute Tax Day Filing: How to Pay Uncle Sam at Deadline]]> Mon, 18 Apr 2016 10:31:04 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/210*120/GettyImages-88160312.jpg

Waiting until the last minute to pay your taxes can cost you if you are expecting a refund, since the government hangs on to your money and receives more interest on it. However, if you owe money to the government, that same principle applies to you.

Extending your deadline to file does not extend your payment time. You are expected to pay the amount you owe, or your best estimate, by the April 18th deadline.

If you do have to make an estimate, it is usually best to err toward overpaying. Paying too much can always be applied to next year’s taxes, but paying too little requires that you pay interest on the difference – and could expose you to an audit if you greatly underestimate the amount.

You have four general payment methods from which to choose: 

Check/Money Order – The classics never go out of style. The IRS accepts checks or money orders payable to the United States Treasury. Include your phone number, Social Security number, and the 1040-V payment voucher (or other voucher as appropriate for the tax form you are submitting). 

Credit/Debit Cards – There are six IRS-approved payment processors for credit or debit cards. Links to these vendors may be found on the IRS website. Debit card charges are usually flat fees ($2.50-$3.95) and credit cards are charged as a percentage fee (1.87 percent -2.25 percent).

Electronic Funds Withdrawal (EFW) – Essentially, this is the reverse of direct deposit. Most e-filing methods require EFW. This has to take place as part of the electronic filing process – you cannot initiate EFW after your taxes have been submitted.

Check with your financial institution and verify that they allow EFW transactions. If so, they will supply you with the routing number and account number for the account from which you wish to have the funds withdrawn. Do not assume that the routing number on your checks is the correct one – sometimes extra internal routing digits are included, and the numbers need to conform to the IRS standards.

You will need to supply a contact phone number, Social Security numbers for every filer, and a payment date. You can still choose to have your payment made on April 18th, even if your form is filed earlier.

Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS) – This is the IRS-run equivalent of EFW. It has the advantage of allowing same-day wiring of funds from your account, and is useful for scheduling regular estimated tax payments for the self-employed. 

EFTPS requires registration with the IRS. It can take five to seven business days to register, so make sure you leave enough time for your registration process to be completed before your payment deadline expires.

Electronic methods can be used on all 1040 Series forms, but not all tax forms or taxes can be handled through electronic payments. For details, check the links available on the IRS website. This page also contains links for businesses to use in electronic payments.

Should the computer gremlins attack or you spill coffee on your keyboard, you can still pay by phone using one of the IRS-approved credit/debit card processors, or by calling the IRS directly and using EFTPS.

Choose whichever payment method works best for you, and pay at the last minute with confidence. Just do not forget to make that payment before the deadline, or you’ll have to make a much bigger payment later.

This story first appeared on Moneytips.com. More from Moneytips: 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Wegmans Tops Grocery Store List]]> Thu, 14 Apr 2016 16:40:06 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/wegmans-pub-bar-and-restaur.jpg

Trader Joe's is no longer America's favorite grocery store.

Wegmans tops Market Force’s 2016 list of America’s Favorite Grocery Retailers.

Market Force, a brand strategy firm, gave the Rochester, New York-based Wegmans a score of 76 percent in its Composite Loyalty Index. Wegmans edged out southern supermarket chain Publix and nationwide grocer Trader Joe’s.

Market Force asked customers to “to rate their satisfaction with their most recent grocery shopping experience and their likelihood to refer that grocer to others.” Wegmans topped the list after not gaining enough votes to make the list last year, said Market Force.

As part of the study, Market Force also looked at six categories, including cashier courtesy, cleanliness, checkout speed and item availability. Wegmans placed in the Top 3 of all categories expect for Cashier Courtesy, where it placed fifth.

Wegmans has 89 stores in six states. Cheryl Fink of Market Force told CNBC Wegmans stands out from other chains because of its specialty items and brands and quick cash out experience. 

Wegmans did not respond to a request for comment. 



Photo Credit: NBCPhiladelphia.com]]>
<![CDATA[Why The 2016 Tax Deadline Isn't April 15]]> Thu, 14 Apr 2016 11:04:55 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/irsGettyImages-56043781.jpg

Most people know April 15 as the deadline for submitting personal tax returns, but that's not the case this year. 

For the 2016 deadline, the Internal Revenue Service has given taxpayers in all but two states until Monday, April 18 to pay their taxes. 

When the date falls on a weekend, it is often moved to the following Monday. But this year, April 15 is a Friday.

Here's what's happening. The IRS is observing a holiday that is usually only observed in Washington, D.C.

Emancipation Day marks the day the Compensated Emancipation Act was signed by President Abraham Lincoln and is observed April 16.

It's a legal holiday in D.C., and public employees are given the day off work. However, because this April 16 falls on a Saturday, it is celebrated on the closest weekday, which is Friday, April 15.

This means public employees such as those who work for the IRS will have April 15 off work, so that pushes the tax deadline to the next business day: Monday, April 18.

For taxpayers who live in Maine or Massachusetts, another holiday pushes their tax deadline back to Tuesday, April 19. This legal holiday is Patriots’ Day, and it is always observed in the two states on the third Monday of April.

However, the first installment for estimated tax payments is due Monday, April 18, whether or not the person lives in Maine or Massachusetts. That's because estimated tax payments are required to be sent to another state that does not observe the holiday.

For full information visit IRS.gov

This article was provided by our partners at moneytips.com
Our Tax Returns Reveal Our Secrets (Infographic)
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Interactive Tax Assistant 101



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Zuckerberg Announces Facebook Chatbot Venture]]> Tue, 12 Apr 2016 14:51:09 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/211*120/Facebook-generic-1.jpg

Facebook announced Tuesday it will let developers build chatbots – interactive, responsive messaging programs – to communicate directly with people, CNBC reports.

The announcement came at its annual F8 global developer conference, where CEO Mark Zuckerberg laid out his vision for the future of the company.

If successful, Facebook could effectively leapfrog the app economy, and create its own thriving digital ecosystem where users can communicate with automated representatives for brands and businesses within Facebook's platforms.

But another high-profile chatbot release was recently ridiculed and quickly pulled from the web. Microsoft released a chatbot on Twitter last month named Tay, but promptly shut her down after she tweeted a flood of racist messages after being prompted by other users.



Photo Credit: Bloomberg via Getty Images, File]]>
<![CDATA['Pregnancy Penalty' Can Affect Pay of Women Without Kids]]> Mon, 11 Apr 2016 16:19:54 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/595346485-pregnancy-penalty-file-image.jpg

As women fight what has been an uphill battle for equal pay, they continue to face another exacerbating factor: being penalized for the fact that they could – regardless of whether they will – have children, NBC News reports.

While much of the public discussion of the "wage gap" has focused on women getting equal pay for the same work as their male peers, this quiet "pregnancy penalty" has gotten less attention, in part because it's so much more difficult to measure. But some experts argue that even the mere possibility that a woman can have a baby can be enough for employers to push her to the back of the line.

"It is often the case that mothers are held to a higher standard than others in the work place," said Emily Martin, general counsel with the National Women's Law Center. "And they are penalized if they cannot meet that standard."

This higher standard is due to an antiquated notion that women who are pregnant are perpetually preoccupied with their babies and cannot possibly be productive, said "Why Women Still Can't Have It All" author Anne-Marie Slaughter, former director of policy planning for the U.S. State Department.



Photo Credit: File – Getty Images/Hero Images]]>
<![CDATA[Navy Pier Summer Job Fair Sells Out]]> Thu, 07 Apr 2016 18:07:31 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/navy+pier+disturbance.jpg

Turns out the idea of working along Chicago’s lakefront at an iconic landmark turning 100 this summer sounds like a dream job to a lot of people.

Navy Pier's Thursday first-ever job fair has sold out.

Ahead of its historic centennial celebration this summer, Navy Pier is hosting a job fair from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday in the Crystal Gardens.  Nearly 30 pier businesses are seeking to hire more than 900 seasonal workers. Job opportunties are available for Navy Pier and its partners along the pier, including bars, boats, restaurants and, yes, the new Ferris wheel.

Most opportunities are for seasonal work through the summer of 2016.

Attendees were required to pre-register for this event, which is now full. Navy Pier set a registration capacity limit of 2,500 applicants and that number was reached mid-week last week. Those who were interested in the event but were not able to register in advance can check out the Navy Pier employment site to view available job postings. 

Navy Pier reminded job seekers to bring multiple copies of their resumes and wear professional attire.

Here’s the full list of participating partners:

Navy Pier
Amazing Chicago’s Funhouse Maze
American’s Dog
Auntie Anne’s
Ben & Jerry’s
Big Bowl Chinese Express
Big Bus Chicago
Big City Chicken
Bike and Roll Chicago
Bubba Gump Shrimp Company
Build A Bear Workshop
Chango Loco
Chicago Children’s Museum
Color Inc.
Completely Nuts
DMK Burger Bar and Fish Bar
Entertainment Cruises
Faces In Focus
Frankie’s Pizza by the Slice
Garrett’s Popcorn
Giordano’s
Harry Caray’s
Jimmy Buffet’s Magaritaville
Life in the Windy City & Varsity Stop Outfitters
McDonald’s
Navy Pier IMAX Theatre
Oh Yes Chicago!
Photogenic, Inc
Porkchop
Riva Crab House
Shoreline Sightseeing
 

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<![CDATA[Lawsuit Says Starbucks Underfilling Lattes]]> Mon, 04 Apr 2016 14:03:08 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Starbucks_Latte_511143580.jpg

A lawsuit filed in a Northern California federal court last week accuses Starbucks of deliberately underfilling its latte cups by 25 percent in order to save money, The Seattle Times reported.

The suit said Starbucks routinely leaves about 1/4 inch of milk foam at the top of the 16-ounce "grande" lattes, leaving space once the foam settles. It's Starbucks' own "standardized recipe," according to the lawsuit. 

"Today's" Rossen Reports bought the same grande latte at six different Starbucks locations, then measured them in laboratory-grade beakers after allowing the foam to settle.

All of the cups missed the 16-ounce mark, with only two cups coming close.

Starbucks told NBC News the lawsuit and Rossen Reports' experiment are "unscientific" and "without merit."



Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Over 200k Orders for New Tesla]]> Sat, 02 Apr 2016 09:29:31 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/216*120/AP_508328161795.jpg

The electric car company that drove its loyal fans into a frenzy of anticipation usually associated with iPhones and Xboxes unveiled its new, lower-priced model Friday at an event in Southern California.

Some of those fans had already put down deposits on Tesla Motors' Model 3 sedan before it was introduced Thursday night at the company's design studio in Hawthorne. The Model 3 doesn't go on sale until late 2017, but in the first 24 hours that order banks were open, Tesla said it had more than 115,000 reservations.

By Friday evening, that number reached 232,000, according to the company.

"Definitely going to need to rethink production planning," a surprised CEO Elon Musk said on his Twitter feed.

Long lines at Tesla stores, reminiscent of the crowds at Apple stores for early models of the iPhone, were reported in California, Hong Kong to Austin, Texas and Washington, D.C. before the Model 3's glitzy unveiling Thursday night. Potential buyers put down a $1,000 deposit to reserve the car.

At a starting price of $35,000 -- before federal and state government incentives -- the Model 3 is less than half the cost of Tesla's previous models. Tesla CEO Elon Musk says the car will go at least 215 miles when fully charged, about double what drivers get from current competitors in its price range, such as the Nissan Leaf and BMW i3.

Prototypes shown Thursday night looked like a shorter version of Tesla's Model S sedan. The Model 3 has a panoramic glass roof and an elongated hood. Inside, it seats five adults and has the same large touchscreen dashboard as other Teslas. It also has Tesla's suite of semi-autonomous driving features, including automatic lane changing and lane keeping. Musk said it will accelerate from zero to 60 in less than 6 seconds.

Musk said the car is on schedule to go on sale at the end of 2017, eliciting a cheer from the crowd of around 800 people. Tesla has a history of missing deadlines for its vehicles to hit the market.

"I do feel fairly confident it will be next year," Musk said.

The Model 3 is the most serious test yet of 13-year-old Tesla's ability to go from a niche player to a full-fledged automaker. It could be the car that finally makes electrics mainstream -- or consumers could continue to be skeptical that electrics will work for everyday use. In the U.S., they still make up less than 1 percent of annual sales. Either way, the Model 3 is already changing the industry, spurring competitors to speed development of electric cars and improve their battery range.

General Motors Co. is set to start selling the Chevrolet Bolt electric car at the end of this year. The Bolt will have a similar price tag and a 200-mile range. Hyundai's Ioniq, which has a 110-mile electric range and could match Tesla on price, goes on sale this fall. Audi will follow with an electric SUV in 2018.

Musk said last month he's not worried. He thinks the Model 3 will compete most directly with small luxury cars such as the Audi A4 and the BMW 3 Series.

Musk said Tesla will expand its stores and its fast-charging Supercharger stations globally in order to support the Model 3. He said the company plans to double its stores worldwide to 441 by the end of 2017, and it will double its Superchargers to 7,200. Tesla will also add thousands of its so-called destination charging stations at hotels and other locations.

Right now, Tesla sells two vehicles: The Model S sedan, which starts at $71,000, and the Model X SUV, which starts around $80,000. But a lower-priced car was Musk's longtime goal. Musk said the Model S and Model X, along with Tesla's first car, the discontinued Roadster sports car, helped Tesla make the money to invest in the Model 3.

"We needed to figure out how we, as a tiny company with very few resources, could make a difference," he said.

Tesla lowered the cost of the car, in part, by making cheaper batteries. The company previously assembled its battery packs with cells made in Japan by Panasonic Corp. But Tesla and Panasonic are building a massive, $5 billion factory in Nevada which will supply batteries for the Model 3. Tesla says the scale of the factory will lower the cost of its battery packs by 30 percent.

The Model 3 puts Tesla within reach of millions more customers. Last year, only 2.1 percent of new cars purchased in the U.S. cost $75,000 or more, but 35 percent -- or 5.5 million -- cost $35,000 or more, according to TrueCar. The Model 3 is a critical part of the money-losing automaker's plan to increase sales from around 85,000 this year to 500,000 by 2020.

Robin Santucci got the sixth spot in line when he arrived at the Santa Monica, California, Tesla store at 3:45 a.m. Thursday. By 9 a.m., he estimated there were 200 people in line. Santucci has admired Tesla for years. When he got his current car, an electric Fiat 500, he made sure the lease would run out at the end of 2017 so his next car could be the Model 3.

"The design of every other car they've put out is beautiful," said Santucci, who works in digital advertising and lives in West Hollywood.

Santucci added that he didn't want to wait too long to order a car because the federal tax credit of $7,500 will sunset once Tesla sells 200,000 vehicles in the U.S. That is still likely several years away, although a ticker at the Tesla event showed orders continuing to rise throughout the night.

Potential buyers also lined up overnight in Burbank. Tesla said that deposits are "fully refundable" and can be applied to the purchase of a Model S or X.

"For me, personally, I just wanted to one of the first in line to get the tax credit," said Peter Peng, who was at the Burbank store Wednesday night. "To me, this is bigger than the iPhone, it's bigger than the X-Box. It's a car. Tesla is such an innovative company on the cusp of cutting edge technology. It's the first affordable car in its range."

Campers cited a broad range of reasons for their dedication to a brand that has developed Apple-like loyalty. Some liked the unrivaled range. Others were attracted to the style, technology and performance.
Shayan Keshmairn arrived at 4 a.m. The lower price and impressive EV range convinced him to get up early and visit the Burbank store.

Then, there was Mike Nescovic from Serbia.

"I am great Tesla fan, and for me this is patriotic duty," said Nescovic, wearing a jacket and stocking hat outside the Burbank store. "I'm from Serbia, and Nikola Tesla, scientist, was from Serbia."

The company does not use a traditional dealer model to distribute and service its vehicles. The Burbank store is one of 11 from Laguna Niguel in Orange County to the San Fernando Valley. Campers also waited overnight at stores in the Bay Area.

The Associate Press contributed to this report.



Photo Credit: AP
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<![CDATA[Condoms, Sodas and Snacks: Amazon Expands Dash Button Program]]> Thu, 31 Mar 2016 13:42:24 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Amazon+Dash+Button.jpg

You can now dash for condoms on Amazon.

One year after the company unveiled its Amazon Dash Buttons, which allow customers to order goods with the push of a physical button, the company announced Thursday it is expanding the number of products available through the program.

Dash Buttons are small, Internet-connected devices that consumers can click to purchase household essentials. When a customer sees supplies running low, they simply press a Dash Button to place an order, never having to worry about running out of coffee, garbage bags or toilet paper.

Initially launched on March 31, 2015, with a handful of companies, many thought the program was a prank because of the proximity to April Fool's Day. But Amazon Dash now has over 100 buttons, representing top-name brands across dozens of retail categories and thousands of products. Whether supply is low on Trojan condoms, your Vichy moisturizer or snacks for the kids, Amazon Dash has a button for that.

Daniel Rausch, Director of Amazon Dash, said in the company's press release that orders for Dash have grown more than 75 percent in the last three months and "customers are using Dash Buttons more than once a minute."

"We’re thrilled with the positive response we’ve seen for Dash Buttons—and we heard loud and clear from customers that they wanted more brands, more categories, and more products in the program," Rausch added.

Dash buttons are available to Amazon Prime members in the U.S. essentially for free. Customers have to pay $4.99 upfront for each one, but that payment is then reimbursed after the first purchase using the button. The products are sent via Prime's free two-day shipping option. 



Photo Credit: Amazon.com]]>
<![CDATA[Chicago Driver Challenges Rejected Pothole Damage Claim]]> Wed, 30 Mar 2016 17:46:51 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/potholer.jpg

A Chicago driver said the city is at fault for damage to her car caused by a pothole. But she said even with a mountain of evidence, the city won’t take the blame.

Emily Mensching said she was driving on West Peterson last May when her car started shaking.

“I heard it the second it happened and I thought I had just popped a tire,” Mensching said.

In fact, two of her tires popped and her wheel rims were cracked. She paid a local car dealership more than $1,400 to repair the damage.

Mensching filed a 311 report with the city. She also said she saw other people had filed similar 311 reports about the same location.

“Clearly, I was one of several people who had their car damaged by this,” Mensching said.

Mensching and her husband returned to the scene the next day and took photos of cars hitting the same pothole. She said there were also hubcaps near the pothole.

NBC 5 Responds spoke to the dealership that repaired Mensching’s vehicle. One of their service employees said he saw two cars on the same day damaged by the same pothole.

Mensching said that is a big reason why she said the city should hold itself accountable.

“I’d like them to pay for the damages, because it’s not my fault that they didn’t fix the road and they knew it was a problem,” Mensching said.

Mensching filed a claim with the city to recoup her repair costs. But the city rejected her claim. She said the city told her she was speeding based on an on-site assessment by city workers. However, she said she never received a speeding ticket.

“It just felt like they were trying to blame me for their lack of diligence in taking care of their roads,” Mensching said.

A city spokesperson told NBC 5 Responds there were no open complaints about the West Peterson pothole at the time of Mensching’s incident.

Still, motorists who have their pothole claims approved should not expect to receive the entire amount they’re seeking. After you gather your police report, records, estimates and receipts and file a claim, get ready to wait several months for answer. It’s ultimately up to Chicago City Council to approve or deny your claim.

According to the city’s committee on finance, in 2015 the city paid $812,500 on 4,081 claims.

The city has since repaired the pothole on West Peterson.

Mensching said she is talking to a lawyer and may file a lawsuit against the city in small claims court.

“I understand it’s Chicago and we’re going to have potholes,” Mensching said. “I’d be a lot happier to know that I’ve been vindicated and not being accused of being a bad driver because clearly they knew that this was a problem.”

Click here to file a pothole claim.

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<![CDATA[How To Collect Class Action Settlement Cash You May Be Owed]]> Mon, 28 Mar 2016 17:59:10 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/money+generic+responds.jpg

You may think twice about tossing your junk mail if it contains the key to collecting unclaimed money.
 
NBC 5 Responds has learned consumers may be failing to collect on class action settlements that range from just a few bucks to hundreds of dollars. 

For example, if you took home tubes of Tom’s Toothpaste over the past few years, you may be entitled to some cash depending on what you bought.
 
The website TopClassAction.com alerts consumers to class action settlements. According to the site, millions of dollars are left unclaimed because people simply don’t know about the settlements. If consumers are notified by the courts, they may receive densely worded mailings that may look like junk mail to some people.
 
“The companies usually want to make the class notice as confusing and complicated as they possibly can,” consumer attorney Stuart Talley said. “They don’t want people to take advantage of the benefits.”
 
Consumers who search the website may find settlements related to many different kinds of products and services, including home appliances, gift cards, dog food, mortgages, insurance and pharmaceuticals.

It’s important to know there are deadlines to file a class action settlement claim.  The deadline for Tom’s Toothpaste claims is in early May.

Settlement money that goes unclaimed will sometimes go to charity or be handed back to the defendant.

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<![CDATA[Spring Break Scams Target Would-Be Vacationers]]> Fri, 25 Mar 2016 18:58:51 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/beachGettyImages-480297417.jpg

Shelly Stamis saw an online advertisement for a vacation home in Florida at only $200 a night, and she figured she had found a solid bargain.

"We looked at all the pictures, and it was right on the beach, and it was definitely in our price zone, so we booked it," the Grand Rapids, Michigan, mom told NBC News.

Shelly wired $1,500 to a bank account in Florida and packed up her two children, but when they arrived everything went wrong. Shelly found out she was a victim of a growing form of online scam that targets travelers booking hotels and vacation homes, enticing them with too-good-to-be-true deals.

According to the American Hotel and Lodging Association, 15 million scam reservations were made last year, costing Americans over a billion dollars. 



Photo Credit: Getty Images/Flickr RF]]>
<![CDATA[Easter Is Like Christmas for Candy Industry]]> Fri, 25 Mar 2016 12:35:03 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/eastercandy.jpg

Easter is the winner when it comes to candy sales in the U.S., CNBC reported.

Americans spent over $800 million last year on creme-filled eggs, chocolate rabbits and colored marshmallow Peeps in the week leading up to Easter, Nielsen data shows. That narrowly beat Halloween as the most lucrative week of the year for candy retailers. Valentine's Day was third on the list.

The study showed that more pounds of candy are actually purchased during the week leading up to Halloween, but in total dollars, Easter is king.

"In the weeks around Halloween consumers are buying in bulk with a volume mentality for the trick-or-treaters," said Carman Allison, vice president of consumer insights at Nielsen. "Easter and Valentine's Day are more gift based purchases where premium packaging plays a role in what consumers purchase for their loved ones and how much they are willing to spend."

Although there is spike in candy sales during certain holidays, Americans love their candy regardless, spending about $300 million for roughly 76 million pounds on any given week.



Photo Credit: LightRocket via Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Starbucks Announces Debut of Pumpkin Spice Latte K-Cups]]> Thu, 24 Mar 2016 12:55:36 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Starbucks_Pumpkin_Spice_Caffe_Latte_KCup_.JPG

Lovers of Starbucks' seasonal Pumpkin Spice Latte can get their fix this year without extra-long lines or texting secret passwords for early access.

The autumnal fan-favorite drink will be available for the first time as a K-Cup.

Grocery stores nationwide are expected to carry Pumpkin Spice Caffe Latte K-Cup packs for a limited time this fall, a Starbucks spokesperson said. Suggested retail is $9.99 for a 10-count K-Cup pack and $12.99 for a 16-count pack.

Brace yourself for this dreamy description of the forthcoming latte: "Customers will be able to enjoy this creamy fall sip – swirling with real pumpkin, cinnamon and nutmeg flavors combined with dairy – specially crafted to be enjoyed at home and complement our smooth, balanced Caffe Blend made from 100 percent arabica coffee."

Count us in.

The pumpkin spice K-Cup flavor is one of several from Starbucks, according to reports. Others include caramel, mocha and vanilla, as well as the seasonal peppermint mocha.

Last year, Starbucks released a new Pumpkin Spice Latte recipe, pushed back the annual debut date by a couple days and passed around a PSL Fan Pass with a top-secret password for customers to gain early access to the drink.



Photo Credit: Starbucks]]>
<![CDATA[Pay-Per-Article News App Launches in US ]]> Wed, 23 Mar 2016 16:12:17 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Blendle-AP_1603222133275898.jpg

A news app will launch on Wednesday in the U.S. with 20 of the country’s largest newspaper and magazine publishers jumping on as partners, according to NBC News.

Blendle, created by journalist-turned-entrepreneur, Alexander Klöpping, is partnering with The New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Condé Nast and will be available to a select group of 10,000 users.

The app runs ad-free, and is aimed at a younger audience that is used to paying for music and movies on Spotify and Netflix. Newspaper stories will average $0.19 to $0.39 per article and magazine stories will run between $0.09 and $0.49.

"What Spotify became for music, what Netflix became for movies, we try to be for journalism," Klöpping told NBC News. "Our success in Holland and in Germany shows that people will pay for quality journalism if you take out the hassle and give them the best selection of articles in one place."

Blendle debuted in April 2014 and has amassed 650,000 users. 



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Starbucks to Donate More Food to Food Banks]]> Wed, 23 Mar 2016 16:29:35 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Starbucks_Food_Donation_Program.jpg

The array of Starbucks sandwiches and salads that aren't purchased at the end of the day usually end up in the garbage bin with the rest of the trash, but the Seattle-based coffee company says it's found a way to stop wasting and start giving.

On Tuesday, Starbucks announced the launch of FoodShare, a program that will begin donating its ready-to-eat meals from its 7,600 company-operated U.S. stores to food banks. The food being donated to the needy includes refrigerated items, like protein boxes, adding to the pastries it's been donating since 2010.

“This food is going to make a difference, whether it’s a child not going hungry for the night or a family that’s able to enjoy a protein plate that they would not have otherwise been able to afford at Starbucks,” said Kienan McFadden, a Starbucks store manager, in a statement.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture said that in 2014, about 48 million people, including just under 8 million children, lived in homes that weren't able to access, or had uncertain access, to enough food to meet their needs.

Food safety regulations mandate that stores discard refrigerated items after the expiration date on the packaging. Starbucks worked with its partner, Food Donation Connection, to develop a way to add perishable food to the pick-up, which will be implemented in participating U.S. company stores by this time next year.

"We focused on maintaining the temperature, texture and flavor of the surplus food, so when it reached a person in need, they could safely enjoy it," said Jane Maly, brand manager of the Starbucks Food team.

Under the FoodShare plan, each day a refrigerated van will pick up food from Starbucks stores and deliver it to the Feeding America network. The company projects that the plan will provide nearly 5 million meals to needy families in its first year alone. FoodShare is expected to be in place by the end of next March.

Starbucks has been able to donate its pastry items through the Food Donation Connection since 2010.

FoodShare was developed in collaboration with Food Donation Connection and Feeding America, which Starbucks said is the largest domestic hunger-relief and food-rescue nonprofit in the U.S.



Photo Credit: Handout via Starbucks]]>
<![CDATA[Chipotle Plans More Free Burritos Amid Declining Sales]]> Fri, 18 Mar 2016 06:39:21 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Cihpotle.png

Chipotle is still fighting to get its customers back.

The burrito chain, which announced earlier this week its first-ever quarterly loss, is trying to make a comeback from the E.Coli outbreak last fall. Although the virus only hit a few dozen stores, the result of lost customers hit nationwide.

To aid its revival, Chipotle tested out a free burrito promotional strategy in February. Turns out people like anything labeled free, so the company has decided to extend the promotion.

Chipotle announced Wednesday its second effort to bring customers back with a plan to send out 21 million direct-mail free burritos vouchers, according to Eater. The coupon for free food will be good until May 15 and consumers should receive them in the next coming weeks.

“Free burritos – turns out it works. It brings people into the restaurants,” Chipotle CFO Jack Hartung in an industry conference Wednesday, according to the report.

In the first promotional try in February, about 5.3 million people reportedly downloaded the coupons and around 2.5 million redeemed them. Although sales still declined, the number of sales and transactions were up in relation to January.

The purpose of the promotion is more focused on getting customers back into the outlets and into the routine of eating at Chipotle, rather than increasing revenue, officials said.

If the first two promotional attempts do not work as well as planned, Chipotle will still continue with the strategy to see the return of customers, the company said.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Suburban Kohl's Store Among 18 Set to Close Nationwide]]> Thu, 17 Mar 2016 17:28:59 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/kohls+store.jpg

A suburban Kohl’s store is one of 18 the company plans to close in June.

The retailer’s St. Charles location, at 3840 E. Main St., will be closed by June 19, the company said.

Kohl’s Corp. announced last month that it was closing 18 brick-and-mortar stores across the country. CEO Kevin Mansell said the stores to be closed account for less than 1 percent of the company's sales.

In addition to the St. Charles location, nine stores will close in California, and eight other stores in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, New Jersey and Wisconsin will also close.

The closures are a shift away from the retailer’s aggressive expansion of stores in recent years across the country.

“While the decision to close stores is a difficult one, we evaluated all of the elements that contribute to making a store successful, and we were thoughtful and strategic in our approach. We are committed to leveraging our resources on our more productive assets,” Mansell said in a statement.

But there is good news for some Midwest shoppers. The company will be opening seven new "smaller format" Kohl’s stores in various regions around the country, as well as two "off-aisle" pilot spin-off discount stores in Wisconsin.

Kohl’s will also make its first entry into the outlet space in the coming year, with plans to open 12 FILA outlet stores.

The Wisconsin-based retail chain reported fiscal fourth-quarter earnings of $296 million Thursday on net income of $1.58 per share. The results exceeded Wall Street expectations. The department store operator posted revenue of $6.4 billion for the quarter.
 

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<![CDATA[Major Candy Companies Will Stop Advertising to Kids]]> Thu, 17 Mar 2016 10:41:27 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-1938576.jpg

With the Easter bunny just hops away, six major candy companies have agreed to stop advertising to kids, including the makers of Peeps, Lemonheads and Jelly Belly candies, NBC News reported.

The companies are the Ferrara Candy Company, Ghirardelli Chocolate Company, Jelly Belly Candy Company, Just Born Quality Confections, The Promotion in Motion Companies, and the R.M. Palmer Company, a maker of Easter candies.

Under the program, participants will no longer advertise directly to kids under 12. They're joining six other, larger companies, including Hershey's, Mars and Nestlé, who in 2007 stopped marketing to children.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[eBay Partners With Shyp for On-Demand Shipping]]> Wed, 16 Mar 2016 15:39:40 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-134419068.jpg

EBay, the biggest resale marketplace in the world, announced this week it is expanding a partnership with on-demand shipping startup Shyp. 

The move comes just in time for people doing their annual spring cleaning to turn their clutter into cash. For the companies, it broadens a relationship aimed at simplifying the shipping process.

Shipping is the "biggest pain point of online selling," eBay said in a joint press release with Shyp.

To help people mail out their items with minimal hassle, eBay sellers in New York, Chicago, San Francisco and Los Angeles can now use Shyp's mobile app, available on iTunes and Google Play, to hail a courier who will come pick up items they sold within 20 minutes.

Shyp will professionally pack the items and mail them straight to the buyer on the seller's behalf. In addition to offering expert packaging, Shyp also compares prices across carriers to find the lowest available shipping rate, according to the Tuesday release.

The company's pickup and packaging fees, typically about $5, will be waived for eBay sellers through June 30.

“We’re so excited to expand our integration with eBay to streamline the shipping experience for sellers in our markets,” Shyp CEO Kevin Gibbon said in a statement. “Starting Shyp was inspired by my experience as an eBay seller — my goal was to create a service catered to their unique needs. We’re proud to offer sellers this optimized experience, and it’s thrilling to come full circle in such a personal way.”

Shyp and eBay launched a pilot program in New York, Chicago and San Francisco in December, though they avoided promoting the effort while they worked out the kinks in the service.  



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Target Plans New Mysterious Startup]]> Thu, 10 Mar 2016 12:37:01 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/87874312.jpg

Target is looking to hire employees for a new mysterious startup.

The new franchise, called “Goldfish,” is looking to hire 20 team members to work out of the Minnesota-based retailer's tech office in Sunnyvale, California -- the heart of Silicon Valley. 

Little has been released on what exactly the new venture will become, but according to job descriptions, the company plans to bring “innovative project ideas to market via technology.”

“As a Goldfish team member, you'll have a direct impact on the innovation of cutting edge technologies,” a posting for the Head of Engineering reads. “We are ambitious and bent on disrupting the way people shop.”

“Goldfish” is still in its development phase and Target is not yet sharing what the project is about, said Jenna Reck, a spokesperson for Target. 

Target last year hired a number of team members, including entrepreneurs and residents, tasked with building new businesses to help “propel Target’s growth,” Reck said. 

Earlier this month, officials for the retailer revealed plans to boost annual spending on technology and supply chain initiatives to as much as $2.5 billion a year by 2017, according to the Washington Post

The company also increased its digital channel sales by 34 percent last year, according to fourth quarter results. 

The news comes less than a week after the retailer revealed major changes coming to its stores, including a revamping of its grocery business, additions for online shoppers and a new rewards program.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Highest Paying Jobs in US for 2016]]> Thu, 10 Mar 2016 12:55:32 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/209*120/DoctorHospital-GettyImages-71205408.jpg

Jobs in technology, law, finance and healthcare command the highest salaries, according to a new roundup of the 25 best-paying positions by job search site Glassdoor.

Physicians make the most, with a median annual salary of $180,000. Lawyer and research and development manager come int at numbers two and three, with median annual salaries of $144,500 and $142,120, respectively.

Jobs that call on science, technology, engineering or math skills dominate, but the list also includes some outliers such as creative director, engagement manager and design manager. 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[United Airlines Faces Turbulence Over Board Seats]]> Wed, 09 Mar 2016 08:10:18 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/United+Continental+GettyImages-464651541.jpg

United Continental Holdings faces a battle with disgruntled shareholders over the direction of the company just as its CEO returns from a five-month absence during which he received a heart transplant.

In a surprise move Tuesday morning, Altimeter Capital Management and PAR Capital Management made a public pitch to add six of their own nominees to the board. The two investment firms own a combined 7 percent stake in United Continental, the parent of United Airlines.

Brad Gerstner, CEO of Altimeter Capital, said in a statement that investors are "greatly disappointed with United's poor performance and bad decisions over the last several years." The most prominent of the investors' nominees is Gordon Bethune, who served as CEO of Continental Airlines from 1994 through 2004. Bethune is largely seen as turning that troubled airline into one of the country's leading carriers.

United merged with Continental in 2010 and has struggled ever since. Unions fought the integration, customer service declined, flights were delayed and computer problems persisted. All of that caused United to lose revenue and market share to peers such as Delta Air Lines and American Airlines, despite having one of the best route networks. United is profitable but lagging behind its competition in ticket prices.

One quarter of all United flights last year left late, according to the Bureau of Transportation statistics, with those that were late averaging 65 minutes in delays. By comparison, only 19 percent of American flights and 15 percent of Delta flights were late. And when late, the delays were not as severe, with American averaging 54 minutes and Delta 57 minutes.

The battle over the board comes just as United CEO Oscar Munoz returns from medical leave. Munoz became CEO in October after United dismissed Jeff Smisek amid a federal investigation into the airline's dealings with the government agency running one of its most important airports.

Munoz quickly brought some fresh air to the company, taking responsibility for the troubled integration and promising to make immediate changes to make employees and passengers happier. However, he suffered a heart attack on Oct. 15 and had a heart transplant In January. He is scheduled to just get back to work full-time Monday.

The investment firms' announcement comes one day after United increased its existing board by three members to 15, a move Altimeter's Gerstner called "a cynical attempt to preserve power by this entrenched board."

Bethune told CNBC that his support for the investors has nothing to do with Munoz. "This is about governance... and having somebody who understands the airline business on the board," Bethune said.

He added that investors are dissatisfied because of United's performance compared to its peers.

"If you're in a horse race and in fourth place, you aren't winning," Bethune said.

Wall Street had a somewhat negative reaction to the developments, sending United Continental shares down $1.27, or 2.2 percent, to $56.34. Still, some analysts were looking forward to Munoz's return.

Vicki Bryan, an analyst at research firm Gimme Credit, said in a note Monday that Munoz has "managed already to introduce an encouraging new, more collegial tone, a vital signal given worsening, near toxic labor relations over the previous five years."

The fear now is that Munoz will be distracted from fixing United by a bitter battle over the board.

In an email Tuesday, Munoz warned employees that Altimeter and PAR want to put their nominees "in control of the board and our company's future."

Sara Nelson, president of the airline's flight attendant union, also came out in support of the current leaders.

"Oscar Munoz has presented a vision for United Airlines that passengers and employees can believe in," Nelson said in a statement. "Our union has worked with a lot of management teams over seven decades and we have rarely experienced a CEO as engaged or committed to the success of an airline."

Besides Bethune, the other people Altimeter and PAR want to add to the board include Gerstner, former Orbitz Worldwide CEO Barney Harford, former Delphi Automotive CEO Rodney O'Neal, SherpaFoundry CEO Tina Sharkey and the head of strategic initiatives at homebuilder Lennar Corp., Brenda Yester Baty. 



Photo Credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[February's Job Growth Doesn't Mean Wage Increases]]> Tue, 08 Mar 2016 19:19:30 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/HelpWanted-GettyImages-486482294.jpg

The economy added 242,000 jobs in the month of February, higher than the 190,000 expected by economists. But the gains aren’t enough to propel wage growth forward, according to NBC News.

Hourly wages fell by three cents and dragged the annualized growth number from 2.5 to 2.2 percent. Productivity gains should lead to pay gains for workers, but labor economist Gary Burtless said that hasn’t happened so far.

"We certainly don't seem to have workers in strong enough bargaining positions so they can get bigger pay packages each year," said Gary Burtless, a labor economist at the Brookings Institution. "The big problem is that workers have seen their share of the output of American corporations decline."

Many of the jobs created in February were in the high- and middle-wage jobs like healthcare and construction, according to the Labor Department.
 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Target Reveals Big Changes Coming to Stores]]> Fri, 04 Mar 2016 17:02:43 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/target-store-sign.jpg

Target is planning big changes in its stores that could make the Minnesota-based retailer a one-stop shop for customers.

Arguably the most notable change will be seen in the company’s grocery aisles.

"At $18.5 billion in sales, grocery is a huge business for Target, which is why we’ve doubled down on the fundamentals in food and are working to transform virtually every element of the grocery business," Target said in a statement.

Customers can expect to see "rolling changes in assortment, presentation, freshness, displays, signage" and more in the coming year, the company said.

Also among the changes will be a new, simpler loyalty program.

"Our current rewards offerings cover a lot of ground. And, while REDCard has been extremely successful, many guests want options beyond a tender-based loyalty program," Target said. "We’re looking to create a program that is clear and simple for guests to understand, offers rewards they care about and makes it easy to participate."

Target lauded its online sales growth for the last year, saying the company saw a 31 percent increase in 2015.

To continue the upward climb in the e-commerce industry, the company said it is testing a designated "order pickup" line in some stores.

It’s the latest announcement from Target, which recently revealed a new line of kids’ home collection, said to provide more neutral items that can be mixed and matched across genders

The company also made headlines when it started testing online grocery delivery service to let shoppers in the Minneapolis area order fruits and other perishables, as well as household, pet and baby products, and have them delivered to their homes in as little as an hour.



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[S&P, Nasdaq Post First 3-Month Losing Streak Since 2011]]> Mon, 29 Feb 2016 16:37:47 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/NYSE-GettyImages-512464014.jpg

U.S. stocks closed lower Monday, despite gains in oil, as the S&P 500 and Nasdaq composite ended February with losses, CNBC reported.

Traders attributed the decline in stocks largely to late-day sell orders around the month-end.

Selling accelerated into the close, with the S&P 500 closing about 0.8 percent lower on the day and down 0.4 percent for the month. The S&P and Nasdaq posted their first three-straight months of losses since 2011.

The Dow Jones industrial average ended about 124 points lower, but still squeezed out a gain of about 0.3 percent for the month. Home Depot and UnitedHealth were the greatest contributors to losses.

The declines in stocks came despite a rise in oil. U.S. crude oil futures settled up 97 cents, or 2.96 percent, at $33.75 a barrel.



Photo Credit: File/ Bloomberg via Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Super Tuesday is Often Bottom in Stock Market]]> Mon, 29 Feb 2016 10:12:20 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/ClintonSuperTuesday-GettyImages-512925470.jpg

Super Tuesday could lead investors to panic about who the presidential nominee will be, according to NBC News.

The day, when about a dozen states will hold presidential primaries, brings out the true herd mentality of the investor base.

Stock performances tend to drop and then rebound, but only if there's a clear front-runner — not necessarily a winner. Investors opt to sit on the sidelines instead of buying, and they look to uncertainty and party bickering as a danger point for stocks.

In 1996, the S&P 500 dropped 2.9 percent the week before Super Tuesday. Stocks jumped 2.3 percent the next week after Bob Dole swept the contests. In 2012, the index dropped 2 percent before Super Tuesday, but markets rose 4 percent the week after Mitt Romney won.

This year, Republicans aren’t close to securing a nominee, but Clinton may be able to secure the Democratic nomination if she performs strongly on Super Tuesday. 
 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Illinois Commission Launches Investigation Into Lincoln Towing]]> Thu, 25 Feb 2016 20:03:33 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/214*120/Untitled42.png

The Illinois Commerce Commission has launched an investigation into Lincoln Towing in Chicago, questioning the company’s license after dozens of alleged violations.

Lincoln Towing Service’s vehicle relocator license is set to expire in July 2017, but the ICC called the company’s license into question on account of multiple violations, according to a release from the commission.

Since July 2015, the ICC Police Department said it has opened 166 investigations into Lincoln Towing’s operations with allegations ranging from improper invoicing to the relocation of authorized vehicles to motorists being overcharged. Of those investigations, 47 were closed -- 15 due to lack of jurisdiction and 32 with no finding of violation – while 28 resulted in a violation and seven ended with the company resolving the matter with the motorist. At least 92 citations are still pending.

“We are seeing things from the invoicing being suspicious, not giving enough facts, also hearing about call lots where it's almost like they are stalking lots which is inappropriate,” said Danish Hall with the ICC. “Also word of authorized cars being towed.”

Lincoln Towing Service did not immediately respond to NBC Chicago’s request for comment Thursday.

The latest investigation into the towing company, officially known as Protective Parking Service Corporation, will involve a “fitness hearing.”

“This investigation will examine the company’s management and conduct, and whether it is in fact fit to hold a license to operate in Illinois,” Commissioner Miguel del Valle said in a statement.

The fitness hearing will take into consideration “criminal records of owners and employees or agents of the company, the company’s safety record, and any other facts that may bear on the company’s fitness to hold a license,” the commission said.

The ICC is also encouraging all people with complaints against the company to come forward.

Mambo Guzman said he was towed years ago by Lincoln Towing after parking in what he said was a “definitely legal” spot.

“It was a lot of money for me at the time,” Guzman said.

Earlier this month, a Chicago family said their car was unfairly towed away from behind their Irving Park home.

A date for the fitness hearing has not yet been set.

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<![CDATA[Dunkin' Donuts Battles McDonald's in All-Day Breakfast Trend]]> Thu, 25 Feb 2016 16:01:57 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/tlmd-dunkin-donuts-st.jpg+19+feb.jpg

Dunkin’ Donuts may be trying to take a bigger bite out of the all-day breakfast game.

The doughnut and coffee chain has started changing menus and drive-thru signs at 8,400 U.S. shops to showcase its signature coffee and “all day breakfast” options amid declining sales and increasingly tough competition, according to Crain’s Chicago Business.

Dunkin’ Brands Chief Executive Officer Nigel Travis reportedly said “revitalized burger players” were hurting the chain and customers now have “plenty of options from which to choose to get their morning coffee and afternoon pick-me-up,” Crain’s reported.

McDonald's is riding high from its biggest quarterly U.S. sales jump in nearly four years. The Oak Brook, Illinois company said in January that sales rose 5.7 percent in the last three months of 2015, boosted by its all-day breakfast menu and unseasonably warm weather.

Last month, McDonald’s pushed its operation limits by adding new items to its all-day breakfast lineup, though the turnaround push for the world’s largest hamburger chain is far from over. The company's U.S. customer visits fell 3 percent last year, following a 4.1 percent drop in 2014.

Still, the all-day breakfast reminder is the latest attempt Dunkin' Donuts has made to catch up with rivals.

Late last year, Dunkin’ Donuts began testing delivery and on-the-go ordering in a number of states.

Seattle-based coffee chain Starbucks Corp. also offers on-the-go ordering at 7,400 company-owned U.S. stores and was testing deliveries in certain cities.


 

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