Business Stories of the Week: Dec. 1, 2017

by December 1, 2017
Officials in L.A. and nine other cities are expecting a major economic influx thanks to a visit by King Tut. (Image by "Walkerssk" via Pixabay, CCO Creative Commons)

Officials in L.A. and nine other cities are expecting a major economic influx thanks to am exhibit starring King Tut. (Image by “Walkerssk” via Pixabay, CCO Creative Commons)

Deals—not goods—drive consumers

A Cyber Monday article on the Popular Science website, popscie.com, explains why consumers mindlessly react to bargain prices, instead of to the merchandise itself. Turns out that we focus so much on the money we’re saving, we neglect to pay attention to the quality of what we’re buying. Retailers take advantage of this proclivity by manipulating their prices in order to appear as an irresistible bargain—and buyers are less objective about their purchases when they think they’re getting a killer deal.

Oil investors lick their chops

Oil rates have begun a dramatic rise, says this Wednesday report in The Wall Street Journal. As the price of a barrel approaches $60 and profits soar, major oil companies say they will begin paying cash dividends to their shareholders. The reason for the increase, according to WSJ, is a healthy global economy that continues to grow, bringing with it an increasing demand for oil.

Uber’s woes continue

Just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse for the once-golden car-sharing company, Uber finds itself facing probes by congress. Five U.S. senators join four attorneys general and the city of Chicago in lambasting the company over its latest flub, a massive data leak that Uber attempted to conceal with a payout to the hackers themselves. An analysis by Quartz enumerates Uber’s long list of problems, from sexual harassment to an ousted CEO, and questions whether this is the price of innovation.

Cities roll out red carpet for Tut

Officials in Los Angeles and nine other cities expect a big payday from King Tut, as an exhibit of the Egyptian royal’s artifacts goes on tour this March. The L.A. Times indicates that the first stop for the 150 artifacts, the California Science Center, expects to reap a significant economic windfall: A study by economic analysis firm Emsi estimates that “total economic impact could reach as high as $352 million.” That includes over 1,000 local jobs that  could be created or supported. In other royal news, Financial Times predicts that the upcoming marriage of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle “holds scant promise” for the British economy.

Bitcoin soars and sinks

The world’s hottest cryptocurrency continued its roller-coaster ride on Thursday, when it lost a fifth of its value after hitting a high of $11,395 the previous day. Reuters reports that analysts attribute the fall to the fact that “early bitcoin traders are taking some profits off the table.” Attesting to the rollicking week in trading, the article goes on to note that “Google searches for ‘bitcoin’ exceeded searches for ‘Trump’ for the first time.”

Tax plan goes to a vote

As the Senate continued to debate the tax plan late Thursday, the Washington Post published a clear, graphic analysis of the tax cut size per income. It also projected what the ensuing tax cuts would mean by 2027. The upshot: As time goes by, wealthier Americans will pay diminished taxes, while less wealthy citizens won’t see much change from their situation today.