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Cyber Monday proves to be the biggest shopping day ever! Because of this, according to Bloomberg, Cyber Monday may provide a big revenue boom for state and local governments.

Questions:
1. What is the reason for the big revenue boom for state and local governments?
2. According to Kroll Bond Rating Agency, how much revenue is Texas, New York and California expected to see?
3. Which states will benefit the most on a per-capita basis?

Source:
Moran, D. (2018). Cyber Monday Promises Big State Tax Boon Thanks to Supreme Court. Bloomberg, Nov. 26 (Retrievable online at https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-11-26/cyber-monday-promises-big-state-tax-boon-thanks-to-supreme-court)

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Christian Louboutin’s trademark red-bottomed shoes have become iconic. Beyoncé wore a custom pair of boots for her Coachella performance and these shoes can cost hundreds or thousands of dollars.

Questions:
1. Where did Christian Louboutin get the idea for the red soles?
2. According to the article, what combination of factors makes the shoes so expensive?
3. What factors do you think that Christian Louboutin depends upon to stay in business?
4. Would you ever spend the money for Christian Louboutin’s shoes? When and why or why not?

Source:
Fierberg, E. (2018) Why Louboutin shoes are so expensive. Business Insider, Oct. 3 (Retrievable online at https://www.businessinsider.com/why-christian-louboutin-shoes-are-so-expensive-red-bottoms-heels-2018-9)

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According to the Washington Post, the bundle of financial incentives Wisconsin offered to lure Taiwanese technology giant Foxconn’s first major U.S. plant is larger than what New York, Virginia and Tennessee collectively pledged to Amazon.com, a comparison of the two development projects shows.

Questions:
1. Foxconn has said its $10-billion factory in southeastern Wisconsin will create how many jobs at what rate of pay?
2. In comparison, Amazon announced this week that New York, Virginia and Tennessee will split how many jobs at what rate of pay?
3. Make a comparison of tax credits and subsidies per project based on total inflow into each geographic area. Calculate the indirect jobs at half the pay of the direct jobs. Assume that Amazon will generate the same percentage of indirect jobs. Show your calculations.
4. Why is there the disparity between the average wages for the two projects – Foxconn vs. Amazon?

Source:
Paquette, D. (2018). Wisconsin offered Foxconn more than Virginia and New York did for Amazon. The Washington Post, Nov. 15 (Retrievable online at https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2018/11/15/wisconsin-offered-foxconn-more-than-virginia-new-york-did-amazon/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.cf45b12bfd60)

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According to the New York Times, the Nissan chairman, Carlos Ghosn, was arrested on Monday after an internal company investigation found that he had underreported his compensation to the Japanese financial authorities for several years.

1. After Mr. Ghosn was sent to Nissan’s Japan headquarters, what was he credited with as a result of making sweeping changes?
2. According to the article, what do foreign investors typically tend to criticize Japanese companies about and why is this ironic?
3. What was the story that surrounded Proxinvest, a Paris-based shareholder advisory firm that had recommended voting against Mr. Ghosn’s 2017 salary?
4. How was the financial misconduct discovered?
5. Why is it assumed that there was collusion?

Source:
Rich, M. (2018). Carlos Ghosn, Nissan’s Chairman, Arrested Over Financial Misconduct. New York Times, Nov. 19 (Retrievable online at https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/19/business/nissan-carlos-ghosn-misconduct.html)

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According to Buzz Feed.com, instant noodles are convenient, tasty, and…potentially dangerous?

The sick-day staple and college student favorite may provide warmth and comfort, but new research suggests that ramen and other instant soups and noodles may be risky for young kids.

Questions:
1. How many children are sent to the emergency room as a result of microwavable noodle each year?
2. What was the average age of children suffering microwavable soup or noodle burns?
3. Based on the statistics quoted in the article, do you think that these soups could result in contingent liabilities and lawsuits against the makers of the soups? Why or why not?

Source:
Kee, C. (2018) Instant Noodles And Soups Send Thousands Of Kids To The ER With Burns Each Year. Buzz Feed News, Nov. 2 (Retrievable online at https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/carolinekee/scald-burns-instant-noodles-soups-children)

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As Walmart, Target and Amazon launch a price war for merchandise in the weeks before Thanksgiving, they are now wooing customers with the promise of fast, efficient, no-cost shipping. On Monday, Amazon upped the ante by expanding free shipping to all customers through the holidays, with no minimum purchase required.

Questions:
1. What do Prime customers get with this new campaign?
2. What is Target and Walmart offering its customers?
3. What is the steep price tag to the free shipping?
4. Do you see this as a race to the bottom and what are the problems with this for the retailers?
5. How should these companies account for the free shipping in their financial records?

Source:
Siegel, R. (2018). Amazon just upped the ante in the race for free holiday shipping. Washington Post, Nov. 5 (Retrievable online at https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2018/11/05/amazon-just-upped-ante-race-free-holiday-shipping/?utm_term=.234b1fb10dfb)

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The fall of Sears has been well documented. But who else is feeling the grip of Amazon on their once thriving retail business and who will be next to declare bankruptcy?

Questions:
1. According to the article, what is the toxic combination that will take the eight named retail companies out of the game?
2. What are the problems with private equity takeovers of failing companies?
3. What does the article mean when it says there is no longer a middle to the market and why do you understand that this is a problem?
4. Would you think that RiteAid and Pier One are in better or worse positions than the rest of the companies? Discuss.

Source:
Pandey, E. (2018). The next eight retailers at risk of Sears’ fate. Axios, Nov. 8 (Retrievable online at https://www.axios.com/retailers-at-risk-bankruptcy-sears-private-equity-debt-b33084a4-8d73-484b-b769-d25867156189.html)

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Verizon Communications Inc.’s new chief executive is restructuring the carrier’s business lines, including its massive wireless business, in one of the first major organizational changes under his leadership.

Questions:
1. Who are and will be the new leaders of the reorganized company?
2. When will the changes take place?
3. What is the divider in this newly organized system?

Source:
Krouse, S. (2018). Verizon breaking up wireless unit in reorganization. Morningstar, Nov. 5 (Retrievable online athttps://www.morningstar.com/news/dow-jones/TDJNDN_201811054166/verizon-to-break-up-wireless-unit-in-reorganization.html)

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Business owners and landlords tend to be about four times as wealthy as the average American. That’s more than almost any other country included in a new study.

Questions:
1. What were the three household groups in the study?
2. Who are the bottom 40 percent in the housing market?
3. Which countries are the top 5 with the biggest gaps are between those who own businesses and rental properties and their customers and tenants?
4. What was the most interesting part of this article for you?

Source:
Van Dam, A. (2018). Owning your own home doesn’t make you rich. Owning somebody else’s does. Washington Post, Oct. 30 (Retrievable online at https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2018/10/30/owning-your-own-home-doesnt-make-you-rich-owning-somebody-elses-does/?utm_term=.53a93b6363dc)

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Last week signaled a sad turn for the “widows and orphans” stocks — classic income providers that were once bread-and-butter favorites of investors.

Questions:
1. Why was it a sad time for “widows and orphans” stocks?
2. What did Anheuser-Busch do that also signaled bad times?
3. Why does dividend income matter?
4. How many companies have been dropped from the S&P 500 Dividend Aristocrats since 2006 for cutting or not increasing their dividends?
5. What was the most interesting thing that you learned from this article?

Source:
Heath, T. (2018). Why GE’s penny dividend signals a sad turn for ‘widow and orphan stocks.’ The Washington Post, Nov. 2 (Retrievable online at https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/why-ges-penny-dividend-signals-a-sad-turn-for-widow-and-orphan-stocks/2018/11/02/3f0233ac-dc6d-11e8-85df-7a6b4d25cfbb_story.html)