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Editorial Results (free)

1. Wal-Mart Jumps Into the Money Transfer Biz, Loudly -

NEW YORK (AP) – Wal-Mart is delving deeper into financial services at its stores and shaking up the money transfer business.

The world's largest retailer introduced a new money transfer service Thursday that it says will cut fees for its low-income customers by up to 50 percent compared with similar services elsewhere. The Walmart-2-Walmart service is being rolled out in partnership with Ria Money Transfer, a subsidiary of Euronet Worldwide Inc.

2. First-Quarter Bankruptcies Remain Flat -

Bankruptcies in Shelby County were almost the same in number for the first three months of 2014 as they were for the first quarter of 2013.

There were 3,036 bankruptcies filed in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Tennessee in the first quarter, a slight increase from the 3,031 filed during the first quarter of 2013, according to The Daily News Online, www.memphisdailynews.com.

3. Fed Survey: Growth Picks Up Across Most of US -

WASHINGTON (AP) – A Federal Reserve survey shows economic growth picking up across most of the United States over the past two months as bitter winter weather subsided.

Ten of the Fed's 12 regions reported an increase in economic activity, according to the Beige Book survey released Wednesday. In most places, the Fed described the improvement as "modest or moderate." Only Cleveland and St. Louis reported slower growth.

4. Yellen: Fed Stimulus Still Needed for Job Market -

NEW YORK (AP) – Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said Wednesday that the U.S. job market still needs help from the Fed and that the central bank must remain intent on adjusting its policy to respond to unforeseen challenges.

5. Council Questions Five-Year Wharton Plan -

It’s usually a quick bottom line for any local government budget proposal – does it mean a property tax hike?

The $596 million operating budget submitted to the Memphis City Council Tuesday, April 15, by Memphis Mayor A C Wharton Jr. does not include a property tax hike.

6. Wharton Outlines $596 Million Budget Plan -

Memphis Mayor A C Wharton Jr. warned Tuesday, April 15, that “half measures” in converting city employees to a defined contributions benefits plan would not restore the city’s financial health and resolve an unfunded pension liability of hundreds of millions of dollars.

7. Yellen Signals More Aggressive Stance Toward Banks -

WASHINGTON (AP) – The Federal Reserve may be about to turn more aggressive in its regulation of the financial system.

Fed Chair Janet Yellen suggested Tuesday that current regulatory rules might not be enough to prevent the kind of risk-taking that triggered the 2008 financial crisis and nearly toppled the entire banking system.

8. Netflix's Comcast Deal Improves Quality of Video -

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – Netflix's videos are streaming through Comcast's Internet service at their highest speeds in 17 months, thanks to tolls Netflix pays Comcast for a more direct connection to its network.

9. Wharton Takes Budget to City Council -

Memphis Mayor A C Wharton Jr. takes a budget proposal to the Memphis City Council Tuesday, April 15, that is supposed to be a departure for an administration that, since 2010, has come to the council with options instead of a total budget plan.

10. Editorial: First Tennessee Bank’s Business Model Endures -

As First Tennessee Bank marks its 150th anniversary, we are reminded of the changes over that span in technology and what our financial institutions have come to offer in the way of services.

11. Milestone Year -

The day after First Tennessee Bank celebrated its 150th birthday a few weeks ago by shooting fireworks over its Downtown Memphis headquarters, with executives and bank stakeholders mingling on a nearby hotel rooftop, the bank’s chairman, president and CEO looked back with pride at his bank’s long history.

12. Minutes Show Fed Struggled to Agree on Rate Policy -

WASHINGTON (AP) – The Federal Reserve struggled last month over how to convey to investors that it will raise short-term interest rates only slowly once it increases them from record lows.

13. Bank of America Paying $772 Million Over Credit Card Extras -

WASHINGTON (AP) – Bank of America Corp. is paying $772 million in fines and refunds to settle regulators' accusations that it misled customers who bought extra credit-card products and illegally charged others for credit monitoring and reporting services they didn't receive.

14. Bill Extends Tax Breaks for Wind Farms, Filmmakers -

WASHINGTON (AP) – Wind farms, NASCAR tracks and filmmakers would keep their treasured tax breaks as part of an $85 billion package of temporary tax cuts passed by a key Senate committee Thursday.

15. Council Displeased With Budget Ideas -

This isn’t going to be pretty. Two weeks before Memphis Mayor A C Wharton Jr. takes a budget proposal to the Memphis City Council, council members reacted angrily to how Wharton’s administration set the stage for its definitive recommendations.

16. Council Unhappy With Budget Plans So Far -

The administration of Memphis Mayor A C Wharton Jr. got a rough reception at the Tuesday, April 1, Memphis City Council session as it set the stage for Wharton’s budget proposal to come in two weeks.

17. Report: Payday Loans Can Cost Borrowers Much -

WASHINGTON (AP) – About half of all payday loans are made to people who extend the loans so many times they end up paying more in fees than the original amount they borrowed, a report by a federal watchdog has found.

18. Owner Files Loan On Germantown Land -

The owner of a 1.2-acre parcel at the corner of Germantown and Farmington roads in Germantown has filed a $1.8 million loan on the land.

The entity, called Lot 3 Saddlecreek PUD Partners, filed the deed of trust, security agreement and assignment of rents and leases March 20 through Financial Federal Bank.

19. Appeals Court Upholds Cap on ‘Swipe’ Fees -

A federal appeals court has handed a defeat to a coalition of retail groups that challenged as too high the Federal Reserve’s cap on how much banks can charge businesses for handling debit card transactions.

20. Federal Reserve Report On Memphis Area Issued -

A Federal Reserve report shows economic conditions in the housing sector in the Memphis area are healthy, but the employment market can do better.

The Federal Reserve in St. Louis released its quarterly Burgundy Books last week, examining economic conditions St. Louis, Little Rock, Louisville and Memphis. The Memphis zone includes northern Mississippi, eastern Arkansas, and western Tennessee, with a population of about 3.1 million people

21. Nearly All Major US Banks Pass Fed 'Stress Tests' -

WASHINGTON (AP) – All but one of the nation's 30 largest banks are better able to withstand a severe U.S. recession and global downturn than at any time since the financial crisis, the Federal Reserve has determined.

22. Health Law Concerns for Cancer Centers -

WASHINGTON (AP) – Cancer patients relieved that they can get insurance coverage because of the new health care law may be disappointed to learn that some the nation's best cancer hospitals are off-limits.

23. Fed Clarifies Guidance on Short-Term Rates -

WASHINGTON (AP) – The Federal Reserve sought Wednesday to clarify a question that investors have been trying to determine: When it might start to raise short-term interest rates from record lows.

24. County Commissioners Review Ethics Code -

Shelby County Commissioners take their first look Wednesday, March 19, at possible changes to county government’s ethics code.

The changes, proposed by Commissioner Steve Mulroy, touch on issues raised earlier this year when a panel of the county ethics commission considered and ultimately dismissed a complaint filed by Commissioner Terry Roland against fellow Commissioner Sidney Chism.

25. Marijuana Study in Veterans Wins Federal Backing -

WASHINGTON (AP) – The federal government has signed off on a long-delayed study looking at marijuana as a treatment for veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder, a development that drug researchers are hailing as a major shift in U.S. policy.

26. Yellen to Put Fed's New Leadership on Display -

WASHINGTON (AP) – The Janet Yellen era at the Federal Reserve begins in earnest this week with a two-day meeting, a policy statement and fresh economic forecasts. Yet all that will be a prelude to the marquee event: Yellen's first news conference as Fed chair.

27. Target Says It Ignored Early Signs of Data Breach -

NEW YORK (AP) – Target Corp. said in its annual report that a massive security breach has hurt its image and business, while spawning dozens of legal actions, and it noted it can't estimate how big the financial tab will end up being.

28. FDIC Sues 16 Big Banks That Set Key Rate -

WASHINGTON (AP) – The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. has sued 16 big banks that set a key global interest rate, accusing them of fraud and conspiring to keep the rate low to enrich themselves.

29. Federal Reserve Report On Memphis Area Issued -

A Federal Reserve report shows economic conditions in the housing sector in the Memphis area are healthy, but the employment market can do better.

The Federal Reserve in St. Louis released its quarterly Burgundy Books last week, examining economic conditions St. Louis, Little Rock, Louisville and Memphis.

30. Orion Names Reynolds Director of Support Services -

Orion Federal Credit Union has promoted Stacie Reynolds to the position of director of support services.

31. McDonald's Hit by Lawsuits Over Worker Pay -

NEW YORK (AP) – McDonald's workers in three states filed lawsuits against the fast-food chain this week, saying the company engages in a variety of illegal practices to avoid paying them what they're owed.

32. McCusker Aims for Criminal Court Clerk -

Michael McCusker is used to the assumptions when the assistant district attorney general tells voters he is running for office this year.

“A lot of people keep saying to me, ‘Wouldn’t judge be a natural progression for you?’ In some respects it would be,” admitted McCusker, who is instead running in the May Democratic primary for Criminal Court clerk.

33. Orion Names Reynolds Director of Support Services -

Orion Federal Credit Union has promoted Stacie Reynolds to the position of director of support services.

34. Examining Numbers From Data Week -

The first week of the month always produces a torrent of economic data that is capped off by the Friday employment report from the Department of Labor. Here is a summary of the more relevant data releases from last week:

35. Obama Economists: Rosier Picture if Budget Passed -

WASHINGTON (AP) – President Barack Obama's top economists say the nation is on track to make economic progress over the next two years, but say it would do even better if Congress would enact the additional spending he proposed in his most recent budget. A divided Congress in an election year is not likely to heed that call.

36. US Consumer Borrowing Up $13.7 Billion in January -

WASHINGTON (AP) – Consumers increased their borrowing in January on autos and student loans but cut back on their credit card use.

Consumer borrowing rose $13.7 billion in January following an even larger $15.9 billion rise in December, the Federal Reserve reported Friday.

37. Blast of Winter Weather Can't Faze US Employers -

WASHINGTON (AP) – Brutal winter weather snarled traffic, canceled flights and cut power to homes and factories in February. Yet it didn't faze U.S. employers, who added 175,000 jobs, far more than the two previous months.

38. 2-Year Extension Offered for Canceled Health Plans -

WASHINGTON (AP) – Warding off the specter of election-year health insurance cancellations, the Obama administration Wednesday announced a two-year extension for individual policies that don't meet requirements of the new health care law.

39. Obama 2015 Budget Focuses on Boosting Economy -

WASHINGTON (AP) – President Barack Obama sent Congress a $3.9 trillion budget Tuesday that would funnel money into road building, education and other economy-bolstering programs, handing Democrats a playbook for their election-year themes of creating jobs and narrowing the income gap between rich and poor.

40. US Bank Earnings Rise 17 Percent -

U.S. banks’ earnings rose 17 percent in the October-December quarter from a year earlier, as losses on loans fell to a seven-year low and banks set aside less to cover losses as well as legal costs.

41. Paragon Wants Switch to State Charter -

Paragon National Bank has taken the initial steps toward switching from being a nationally chartered bank to one with a state charter.

42. Freddie Mac Posts $8.6 Billion Profit in Fourth Quarter -

WASHINGTON (AP) – Mortgage giant Freddie Mac posted net income of $8.6 billion for the October through December period, its ninth straight profitable quarter. Earnings were boosted by the continued rise in home prices, which reduced the amounts the company had to set aside to cover losses on mortgages.

43. Yellen: Fed Monitoring Recent Weaker Economic Data -

WASHINGTON (AP) – Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen noted Thursday that recent economic data have pointed to weaker-than-expected gains in consumer spending and job growth. She said the Fed will be watching to see whether the slowdown proves only a temporary blip caused by severe winter weather.

44. Feds File Suit Against For-Profit College Chain -

WASHINGTON (AP) – The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau filed suit Wednesday against a large, for-profit college chain alleging that it pushed students into high-cost private student loans knowing they would likely end in default.

45. US Bank Earnings Rise 17 Percent -

U.S. banks' earnings rose 17 percent in the October-December quarter from a year earlier, as losses on loans fell to a seven-year low and banks set aside less to cover losses as well as legal costs.

46. Paragon Wants to Switch to State Charter -

Paragon National Bank has taken the initial steps toward switching from being a nationally chartered bank to one with a state charter.

47. Kids' College Versus Your Retirement -

Ray’s Take: Most parents want to give their kids the best college education possible. At the same time, they know they must finance their own retirement. It’s hard to objectively prioritize, especially when your precious children are involved.

48. Transcripts Show Fed at Times Slow to Grasp Crisis -

WASHINGTON (AP) – The Federal Reserve agonized in 2008 over how far to go to stop a financial crisis that threatened to cause a recession and at times struggled to recognize its speed and magnitude.

49. Fed Minutes Point to Continued Paring of Stimulus -

WASHINGTON (AP) – Federal Reserve officials agreed at their January meeting that further gradual reductions in their stimulus would be appropriate as long as the economy keeps improving.

50. Yellen Debuts as Fed Chair -

For the first time since 2006, someone not named Ben Bernanke testified before the House Financial Services Committee as Chair of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. Dr. Janet Yellen officially assumed the post on Feb. 3.

51. Older Americans Are Early Winners Under Health Law -

CHICAGO (AP) — For many older Americans who lost jobs during the recession, the quest for health care has been one obstacle after another. They're unwanted by employers, rejected by insurers, struggling to cover rising medical costs and praying to reach Medicare age before a health crisis.

52. White House: Stimulus Bill Was Good for Economy -

RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. (AP) — The costly $787 billion spending bill that President Barack Obama signed into law soon after taking office boosted the economy and helped avoid another Great Depression, the White House said in a status report on Monday's fifth anniversary of the law's enactment.

53. Council to Review Mall Conversions -

Memphis City Council members get a look at plans for the redevelopment of two shopping malls Tuesday, Feb. 18.

But the council’s last meeting for February apparently won’t include any presentation of a proposal to change the benefits of new city hires and city employees with less than 10 years on the job, as promised earlier by Memphis Mayor A C Wharton Jr.’s administration.

54. Few Eligible Patients Can Get Weight Loss Surgery -

WASHINGTON (AP) – Like 78 million other Americans, MaryJane Harrison is obese.

And like many critically overweight Americans, Harrison cannot afford to have weight loss surgery because her health insurance doesn't cover it. The financial burden makes it nearly impossible for her to follow the advice of three physicians who have prescribed the stomach-shrinking procedure for Harrison, who is four-feet, 10 inches and weighs 265 pounds.

55. January Insurance Sign-Ups Meet Monthly Goal -

WASHINGTON (AP) – While states are having varying success getting people to sign up, January marked the first time since new health insurance markets opened last fall that a national monthly enrollment target was met.

56. Senate Clears Debt Limit Measure for Obama -

WASHINGTON (AP) – After a dramatic Senate tally in which top GOP leaders cast the crucial votes, must-pass legislation to allow the government to borrow money to pay its bills cleared Congress Wednesday for President Barack Obama's signature.

57. Yellen to Investors: Expect Continuity at the Fed -

WASHINGTON (AP) – Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen sought Tuesday to reassure investors that she will embrace the approach to interest-rate policy that her predecessor, Ben Bernanke, pursued before he stepped down as chairman last month.

58. Muddling Through the Muddling Through -

Last week’s December jobs number was billed as an economic tiebreaker after a string of mixed data. The release depicted a softening employment environment. The U.S. economy created 113,000 jobs in January against expectations of 185,000. Over the trailing three months, the economy has added an average of about 150,000 new jobs per month versus 200,000 per month reached last summer/fall. With the jobs market downshifting, can the Fed do more?

59. Shelby County Mortgage Market Dips in January -

Shelby County’s mortgage market entered 2014 in less of a turbo-charged fashion than it did at the same point last year.

New figures show total mortgage volume in the county was down 5 percent in January compared to January 2013, according to real estate information company Chandler Reports, www.chandlerreports.com. Data for this report did not include refinances.

60. MAAR to Hold Commercial Forecast Summit Feb. 12 -

Commercial real estate experts will share their insights this week on what to expect nationally and locally in 2014.

The Memphis Area Association of Realtors’ Commercial Council will host the 2014 Commercial Property Forecast Summit Wednesday, Feb. 12.

61. Race to Enroll Young and Healthy for New Insurance -

WASHINGTON (AP) – Facing a rapidly approaching deadline, the White House and its allies are racing to enroll young people in new insurance plans offered under President Barack Obama's signature health care law, a sweeping effort that underscores how crucial the so-called "young invincibles" are to the measure's success.

62. University of Memphis' Martin Challenges Dropout Premise -

University of Memphis interim President Brad Martin says the premise that students coming out of high school are academically unprepared for higher education may not be as prevalent as it’s believed to be. And he adds that the university’s experience indicates students leave without graduating because of other factors.

63. Office Occupancy Ends 2013 on High Note -

An unusually strong fourth quarter helped push the overall Memphis office market occupancy rate into positive territory for 2013, according to year-end commercial real estate market reports.

The Memphis market recorded absorption of 225,338 square feet in the fourth quarter – the largest positive absorption the market has experienced during any quarter in more than 10 years – to end the year with positive net absorption of 40,558 square feet, according to CB Richard Ellis Memphis.

64. Wal-Mart, Amazon Show Changing Shopping Habits -

NEW YORK (AP) – The financial strains and shifting shopping habits of Americans have led to uneven fortunes for retailers.

Traditional consumer companies like Wal-Mart and Mattel have continued to struggle as Americans spend more cautiously in the uncertain economy. Meanwhile, Amazon.com has flourished as shoppers increasingly buy online rather than head to stores.

65. Wal-Mart Lowers Quarterly, Yearly Profit Expectations -

Wal-Mart said Friday its fiscal fourth-quarter and full-year adjusted earnings from continuing operations may come in at or slightly below the low end of its prior forecasts.

The latest comments reflects accounting for some Brazil-related charges and other items. Chief Financial Officer Charles Holley said that these additional items were not anticipated when Wal-Mart previously provided its forecasts.

66. Finding ‘Delicate Balance’ -

Memphis Mayor A C Wharton Jr. leaned heavily on reality and the practical in a State of the City address Wednesday, Jan. 29, at the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law.

“We have the responsibility of balancing the expectations of our citizens versus the bottom line of our budget,” Wharton told an audience of several hundred, including city division directors and those in agencies working with the city. “We must strike the delicate balance of our affairs that is based in realism and pragmatism. This is important because ultimately the numbers that define our budget are real. The decisions that have the most positive impact are practical, and the work we have to do cannot wait.”

67. Despite Market Unrest, Fed Likely to Pare Stimulus -

WASHINGTON (AP) – Just as Ben Bernanke prepares to turn the chairmanship of the Federal Reserve over to Janet Yellen, global markets are on edge over the prospect that she'll extend a policy he began: a steady pullback in the Fed's extraordinary economic stimulus.

68. Council Gets Overview of Public Safety Spending -

Memphis City Council members got a first and at times conflicting look Tuesday, Jan. 21, at the hard decisions they could make about city spending on public safety.

Memphis Mayor A C Wharton Jr. walked the council through some ideas for cuts in city spending beyond larger changes in city retirement and health benefits. Those obligations are the “cornerstone” of the efforts to get the city’s financial house in order, said city Chief Administrative Officer George Little.

69. US Bank Ending Short-Term Loan Product -

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – U.S. Bank will eliminate a short-term loan offering to meet new federal rules.

The bank is dropping the option after federal regulators set new guidelines last year on "deposit advance" products, which are small-dollar, short-term loans made by banks to customers who have recurring direct deposits. It allows consumers to borrow money against future deposits into their checking accounts.

70. US Factory Output Rises for Fifth Straight Month -

WASHINGTON (AP) – U.S. factory output rose for a fifth straight month in December, as manufacturers cranked out more cars and trucks, appliances and processed food. The gains suggest factories gave economic growth a strong boost at the end of the year.

71. Shelby County Bankruptcy Filings Flat in 2013 -

Bankruptcies in Shelby County stayed below 13,000 in 2013 with a slight increase over 2012 and 2011, as tracked by The Daily News Online, www.memphisdailynews.com.

72. Dual-Income Families Come with Big Costs -

Ray’s Take: DINKs (dual incomes, no kids) might not actually be bringing home as much additional gross income as they think. When kids enter the picture, it’s probably time to take a long and hard look at the pluses and minuses – financial and otherwise – of continuing to have both parents work outside the home.

73. House Approves Government-Wide $1.1 Trillion Budget -

WASHINGTON (AP) – Party leaders pushed a massive $1.1 trillion spending bill for this year through the House on Wednesday, shunning the turmoil of recent budget clashes with a compromise financing everything from airports to war costs and brimming with victories and concessions for both parties.

74. Court Could Limit President's Recess Appointments -

WASHINGTON (AP) — Just back from their own long break, Supreme Court justices set out Monday to resolve a politically charged fight over when the Senate's absence gives the president the power to make temporary appointments to high-level positions without senators' approval.

75. Proposed Medicare Drug Change Stirs Access Worries -

WASHINGTON (AP) – In a move that some fear could compromise care for Medicare recipients, the Obama administration is proposing to remove special protections that guarantee seniors access to a wide selection of three types of drugs.

76. Obama Picks Ex-Bank of Israel Head as No. 2 at Fed -

WASHINGTON (AP) – President Barack Obama took a step Friday toward reshaping the Federal Reserve under incoming chairman Janet Yellen, choosing a leading expert on the global economy to be her vice chairman.

77. Shelby County Posts Most Home Sales in 5 Years -

Shelby County posted a five-year high in home sales and average sales prices in 2013, according to real estate information company Chandler Reports.

The uptick in sales activity and strong pricing increases point to a slow, steady rebound for the industry, which slogged through a five-year slump following the onset of the recession, real estate agents said.

78. 30-Year Mortgage Rate Hovers at 4.51 Percent -

Average U.S. rates for fixed mortgages barely changed this week, hovering near historically low levels.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday that the average for the 30-year loan slipped to 4.51 percent from 4.53 percent last week. The average for the 15-year loan edged up to 3.56 percent from 3.55 percent.

79. 30-Year Mortgage Rate Hovers at 4.51 Percent -

Average U.S. rates for fixed mortgages barely changed this week, hovering near historically low levels.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday that the average for the 30-year loan slipped to 4.51 percent from 4.53 percent last week. The average for the 15-year loan edged up to 3.56 percent from 3.55 percent.

80. Get Ready for 2014 Taxes Now -

Ray’s Take: Some of us have already started gathering our records and receipts in preparation for completing our 2013 federal income tax forms. However, it’s not too soon to be thinking about 2014 taxes as well. Changes in the tax code – from bracket revisions to the 3.8 per cent investment tax – could have an impact on your withholding and tax bill a year from now.

81. Madoff-Related Fraud to Cost JPMorgan $2.5 Billion -

NEW YORK (AP) – For more than 15 years, there were signs something was amiss with what federal prosecutors in Manhattan call the "703 account" at JPMorgan Chase & Co.

82. Yellen Faces Challenges as Fed Trims Bond Buys -

WASHINGTON (AP) – Janet Yellen will take the helm of a Federal Reserve facing a significantly different economic landscape from the one that dominated Ben Bernanke's tenure as chairman, confronting her with different decisions as well.

83. US Home Prices Tick Up 0.1 Percent in November -

WASHINGTON (AP) – U.S. home prices barely rose in November from the previous month and year-over-year gains slowed, reflecting declines in sales in the fall.

Real estate data provider CoreLogic said Tuesday that prices increased just 0.1 percent in November from October. That's down slightly from October and far below August's 0.9 percent gain.

84. Mississippi Lawmakers Face Long Agenda in 2014 Session -

CLARKSDALE, Miss. (AP) – Mississippi lawmakers start their three-month session at noon Tuesday, and they face a long agenda. They'll write a budget, seek ways to control prison costs, debate education policy and argue about health care.

85. Bernanke: 2014 Could be Better Year for US Economy -

WASHINGTON (AP) – Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke on Friday predicted a stronger year for the U.S. economy in 2014, saying several factors that have held back growth appear to be abating.

86. Debt and Liability -

There is rarely a good answer to the question “How much?” in politics.

With issues including the unfunded pension liability, overall debt, and revenue estimates and their validity, City Hall’s overall money problem begins but hardly ends with the question. It won’t be that simple.

87. Study Finds Medicaid Expansion Drove Up ER Visits -

SALEM, Ore. (AP) – A new study has found that people enrolled recently in Medicaid went to the emergency room 40 percent more frequently than others, often seeking help for conditions that could be treated less expensively in a doctor's office or an urgent care clinic.

88. US Construction Spending Up 1 Percent in November -

WASHINGTON (AP) – U.S. construction spending rose in November at the strongest pace in more than four years, driven by solid gains in home construction and commercial projects.

The Commerce Department said construction spending increased 1 percent in November to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $934.4 billion. That's the fastest rate since March 2009 and a slight improvement on the revised 0.9 percent gain in October.

89. Home Electricity Use in US Falling to 2001 Levels -

NEW YORK (AP) – The average amount of electricity consumed in U.S. homes has fallen to levels last seen more than a decade ago, back when the smartest device in people's pockets was a Palm pilot and anyone talking about a tablet was probably an archaeologist or a preacher.

90. Federal Judge Rules NSA Phone Surveillance Legal -

NEW YORK (AP) – The heated debate over the National Security Agency's bulk collection of millions of Americans' telephone records fell squarely into the courts Friday, when a federal judge in Manhattan upheld the legality of the program and cited its need in the fight against terrorism just days after another federal judge concluded it was likely not constitutional.

91. Banner Year for East Memphis Office Space -

The Memphis office real estate market began showing signs of life in 2013, with the market for Class A office space in the East Memphis submarket fueling the resurgence.

While the city’s overall office market numbers may not appear very strong, the city’s most desired office submarket – East Memphis around Poplar Avenue and Interstate 240 – began showing strong signs of improvement in the second half of the year.

92. What Does the Fed Say? -

Ben Bernanke announced a tapering of the Federal Reserve’s asset purchase program from $85 billion to $75 billion at his final FOMC meeting last week, and contrary to pundit fears, the Dow Jones Industrial Average threw him a going away celebration by rallying to new highs. What he said:

93. US Consumer Spending Rose 0.5 Percent in November -

WASHINGTON (AP) – Americans increased their spending in November by the most in five months, and their income edged up modestly.

Consumer spending rose 0.5 percent from October, when spending had risen 0.4 percent, the Commerce Department said Monday. It was the best showing since June. The gain was driven by a jump in spending on long-lasting durable goods such as autos.

94. Congress OKs New IRS Chief, Ends Turbulent Year -

WASHINGTON (AP) – A cross Congress ended its business for the year Friday as the Senate approved a new boss for the troubled Internal Revenue Service but remained slowed and bitterly riven over majority Democrats' weakening of Republicans' power to filibuster.

95. Fury and Frustration Over Target Data Breach -

NEW YORK (AP) – Potential victims of credit card fraud tied to Target's security breach said they had trouble contacting the discounter through its website and call centers.

Angry Target customers expressed their displeasure in comments on the company's Facebook page. Some even threatened to stop shopping at the store.

96. Target: 40 Million Card Accounts May be Breached -

Target is grappling with a data security nightmare that threatens to drive off holiday shoppers during the company's busiest time of year.

The nation's second largest discounter said Thursday that data connected to about 40 million credit and debit card accounts was stolen as part of a breach that began over the Thanksgiving weekend.

97. Don’t Panic Over Scary Financial News -

Ray’s Take If it’s not another country defaulting on their debts it’s political gridlock on economic issues here or ominous predictions about the Federal Reserve. The news seems to be featuring more than its share of scary economic news these days.

98. Dickerson to Carry Tradition of Service as Young Lawyers Division President -

Jake Dickerson, associate with Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz PC, is the incoming 2014 president for the Young Lawyers Division of the Memphis Bar Association.

The division arranges and hosts continuing legal education seminars, networking events, pro bono opportunities and fundraisers such as the annual golf tournament benefiting the Porter Goodwill Branch of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Memphis. MBA members 36 years or younger, or within their first three years of practice, are automatically members of the division.

99. Fed Likely to Maintain Bond-Buying Pace for Now -

WASHINGTON (AP) – Is this week when the Federal Reserve finally slows its aggressive stimulus for the economy? Or does it want to await more evidence of a consistently improving economy?

100. AP Survey: US Income Gap is Holding Back Economy -

WASHINGTON (AP) – The growing gap between the richest Americans and everyone else isn't bad just for individuals.

It's hurting the U.S. economy.

So says a majority of more than three dozen economists surveyed last week by The Associated Press. Their concerns tap into a debate that's intensified as middle-class pay has stagnated while wealthier households have thrived.