Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Morning business headlines: Dec. 27, 2023

by BIZ Magazine

US online retailer Zulily says it will go into liquidation, surprising customers

SEATTLE (AP) — The U.S. ecommerce company Zulily says it is closing down, surprising customers, after efforts to salvage the business failed. The Seattle-based company said in a notice on its website that it had tried to fill all pending orders and expected to manage that within the coming two weeks. Zulily said it was trying to ensure orders that could not be filled were cancelled and refunded. It offered a contact for customers who did not get their orders or refunds. In closing down to maximize payments to its creditors, Zulily said it was seeking an “orderly wind down.”

The secret life of gift cards: Here’s what happens to the billions that go unspent each year

Americans are expected to spend nearly $30 billion on gift cards this holiday, according to the National Retail Federation. Most will be redeemed. But many gift cards wind up forgotten or unused. In a July survey, Bankrate found that 47% of U.S. adults had at least one unused gift card worth an average of $187. That’s a total of $23 billion in unspent money. Under federal law, gift cards can’t expire for five years after they’re purchased. But experts say it’s wise to use them sooner than that, since inflation and inactivity fees can eat away at their value.

Stock market today: Wall Street aims for gains to close 2023 in subdued holiday trading

Wall Street is aiming for a winning week to close out the year in subdued holiday trading. Futures for the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average each edged less than 0.1% lower before the bell Wednesday, but markets so far are holding on to gains for the week with little in the way of new economic data or corporate earnings. Trading is usually light in the week after the Christmas holiday and this week is no exception. With just three trading days to go in 2024, the S&P 500 is now up more than 24% for the year, while the Nasdaq is up 44%. The Dow is up 13% for 2023.

Book Review: Ralph Nader profiles corporate leaders he sees as role models in ‘The Rebellious CEO’

Consumer advocate Ralph Nader profiles business leaders he actually likes in “The Rebellious CEO: 12 Leaders Who Did It Right.” The Associated Press’ Andrew DeMillo says the book offers an interesting perspective on business leadership from someone who built his life’s reputation on fighting corporate America. Nader profiles CEOs who he portrays as putting a premium on social responsibility as much as the bottom line. It also gives Nader a chance to highlight what he sees as the shortcomings of many of today’s corporations. DeMillo writes that at times the book strays into adulation of the CEOs profiled.

Tokyo court only holds utility responsible to compensate Fukushima evacuees and reduces damages

TOKYO (AP) — A Tokyo court has ruled that only the operator of the tsunami-wrecked Fukushima nuclear power plant had to pay damages to dozens of evacuees, relieving the government of responsibility. Plaintiffs criticized the ruling as belittling their suffering and the severity of the disaster. The decision on Tuesday comes at a time Japan’s government accelerates reactor restarts to maximize nuclear energy to meet decarbonization targets while seeking to tone down the impact of the nuclear disaster 13 years ago and its memory gradually fades.

Shipping firm Maersk says it’s preparing for resumption of Red Sea voyages after attacks from Yemen

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — Shipping firm Maersk says it is preparing to allow vessels to resume sailing through the Red Sea. It comes at the start of a U.S.-led multinational naval operation to protect shipping from attacks by Houthi rebels in Yemen. Houthi attacks have led to a major disruption of shipping through the Suez Canal and the Red Sea, one of the most important arteries for trade in oil, natural gas, grain and consumer goods between Europe and Asia. Maersk said in a statement Sunday it’s preparing to resume Red Sea journeys as soon as possible now that the Operation Prosperity Guardian has started.

Paris City Hall plaza draws holiday visitors and migrant families seeking shelter as Olympics nears

PARIS (AP) — The forecourt of Paris City Hall sparkles with activity this holiday season, including a Christmas market and huge signs advertising the 2024 Olympics. It also hosts dozens of migrant families searching for a roof over their heads. About 50 families with children between three months and 10 years old gathered on City Hall plaza on Christmas evening. Aid workers distributed food, blankets and diapers and helped find temporary lodging. A similar scene plays out most nights at this site overlooking the Seine River. Many of the families are from French-speaking African countries, including Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast and Senegal.

Apple seeks a path to getting 2 of its best watches back on shelves during a bitter patent dispute

Apple is filing an emergency motion asking a court to let it keep selling two of its most popular watches until a final decision on its broader appeal in a patent dispute is decided. In the motion, Apple said it would suffer “irreparable harm” if the previous orders were kept in place for the two weeks that it said the U.S. International Trade Commission will take to respond to its appeal. On Oct. 26, the ITC determined that Apple infringed on two patents owned by Masimo Corp. and Cercacor Laboratories, both U.S.-based companies. After a 60-day review, the ITC’s decision became final on Tuesday.

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