Money Matters - Simplified


Milwaukee is America's drunkest city

Wondering which city is the most sloshed in the United States?

Manufacturing growth slowed in November

Tempe, Ariz. -- U.S. manufacturing expanded for the 16th consecutive month in November, the Institute of Supply Management said Wednesday.

Although the headline index showed slower growth than a month ago, the Purchasing Managers Index was 56.6 in the month, higher than the breakeven point of 50.

A month ago, the PMI was at 56.9. It has notched down 0.3 points for two consecutive months.

The new orders index dropped from 58.9 to 56.6. The production index also fell but remained positive, dropping from 62.7 to 55.

Employment among manufacturing business grew, but also at a slightly slower pace than the previous month, coming in at 57.5 compared with 57.7 in October.

This Month in Gambling


The gambling world has had a busy week since I last posted a monthly recap. We saw Las Vegas Sands (NYSE: LVS) blow our minds with earnings, MGM Resorts (NYSE: MGM) post another loss, and Melco Crown(Nasdaq: MPEL) take strides in Macau. But you may have missed some other news that slipped under the headlines.

Fed to increase bond purchases slowly

Washington -- The U.S. Federal Reserve said Wednesday it would increase its investment in long-term Treasury bonds by $600 billion through June 2011.

The Fed said it would add $75 billion per month to its portfolio, which increased dramatically, by $1.7 trillion, in quantitative easing programs that ended in March. In a statement, the central banks said new data confirmed "the pace of recovery in output and employment continues to be slow."

Consumer spending, a major swath of the gross domestic product, was "increasing gradually," the Fed said, "but (it) remains constrained by high unemployment, modest income growth, lower housing wealth and tight credit."

Private sector jobs up by 43,000 in month

Roseland, N.J. -- Payroll company Automatic Data Processing said Wednesday the U.S. private sector gained 43,000 jobs in September to October.

The number of private sector jobs, a critical litmus test for the U.S. economic recovery, rose for the first time in three months. ADP however, revised the previously reported loss of 39,000 jobs a month ago to a loss of 2,000.

Previous to the two-month streak of losses, the economy had added jobs for six consecutive months.

Wednesday's report comes in advance of Friday's government employment report, which is considered more encompassing, as it also includes government jobs.

Sony to retire the iconic Walkman

Tokyo -- Japanese electronics pioneer Sony said it would ship the last Walkman cassette players this spring after a 31-year run.

The first Walkman portable cassette players were produced in July 1979. The last production run for the Walkman would be in April 2011, Sony said, CNN reported Monday.

Sony sold 3,000 Walkman players in the first month, but eventually produced 200 million of them as the device became an iconic symbol of musical freedom.

The Walkman executioner is not the iPod, CNN said, but the CD disc, which came along in the 1990s.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI).

Missing half of Sosa's corked bat surfaces

Chicago -- An auctioneer says he figures the piece of Sammy Sosa's infamous corked bat, up for bid this month, could fetch as much as $50,000.

The 20-inch barrel of the bat Sosa shattered in 2003 was put up for auction by former Chicago Cubs pitcher Mike Remlinger, who had found it in a hallway at Wrigley Field and stashed it in a fishing rod case.

"There's nothing quite like it out there in the collectibles market," auctioneer Ray Schulte told the Chicago Sun-Times.

Schulte said bids would be accepted until Oct. 31 and were expected to range from $15,000-$50,000.

Sosa broke the bat in a game against Tampa Bay on June 3, 2003. The handle of the bat was confiscated but the fate of the barrel remained unknown until now.

Liberace museum in Las Vegas closing

Las Vegaas -- The Liberace Museum in Las Vegas will close its doors next month, a museum official said.

Liberace Foundation Board of Directors Chairman Jeffrey Koep said museum attendance has been declining for years and its closure is a "straightforward business decision," the Las Vegas Sun reported.

The museum opened in 1979 and had as many as 450,000 per year at one time, but the number has dropped to about 50,000 now; it exhibits jewelry, pianos, gowns and other items once belonging to the pianist and showman.

The museum has 31 employees, including 12 to 14 full time staff.

Britain's trade deficit surged in July

London -- The Office of National Statistics in Britain said the country's trade deficit jumped more than 25 percent in July to about $7.5 billion.

The ONS said Britain's trade balance on goods for the month hit a deficit of $13.4 billion, an increase from $11.5 billion a month ago, while its surplus on services rose from $5.5 to $5.8 billion.

Compared to June, prices for both import and export goods both fell 0.6 percent, ONS said.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI).

Microsoft, Yahoo gain market share--report

Internet search engines Yahoo and Microsoft's Bing have gained market share in the nation in the month of May, according to the latest report by comScore, an internet marketing research company.