BC-US--Dow Record-Three Personal Stories, 1st Ld-Writethru,1173
Dow Record: Three tales of ups, downs and changes
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By SCOTT MAYEROWITZ
AP Business Writer
NEW YORK (AP) -- When the Dow first crossed 14,000, investors were overjoyed. When it closed at an all-time high of 14,253.77 on Tuesday, it wasn't so much a time for celebration as it was for reflection.
It's been a long five and a half years.
The ups and downs of the market touched us all in some manner. Jobs were lost. Retirements were delayed. Even those who came out mostly unscathed were still reaching for Alka-Seltzer during the many turbulent days.
Through it all, the stock market has slowly climbed back. And many of us have been left with a much more pragmatic view of the economy.
To mark the new record, The Associated Press asked three people to reflect on the fluctuations in the Dow Jones industrial average and how it shaped their own experiences. Here are their stories:
FROM WALL STREET TO LIFE COACH
Vanessa Loder is the ultimate type-A person, the kind who's often attracted to Wall Street. A self-described perfectionist. An overachiever who graduated Phi Beta Kappa and summa cum laude from Columbia University while playing Division I varsity soccer.
"I thought it wasn't good enough to be smart or athletic, I needed to be both."
After college, there were jobs at Morgan Stanley and JP Morgan. By age 24, Loder was making $250,000 a year.
Loder then headed to Stanford Graduate School of Business, where she was co-president of the ski club. After graduating, she took a job with a San Francisco private equity firm.
It was the spring of 2007 and the stock market was on fire. Her hours were consumed with deal after deal.
The Dow just kept climbing. In April, it crossed 13,000. By July, it had passed 14,000.
One of the firm's partners came out of his office and announced the milestone. Many workers had their own investments.
"We were cheering. Everybody was in a good mood," Loder recalls. "And then within a few months, it all came to a halt."
Debt markets dried up. Few companies wanted to do mergers or acquisitions. Those that did couldn't get a loan to finance the deal.
"We were literally twiddling our thumbs in '08 and '09," Loder says.
Boredom set in, and Loder questioned why she was drawn to Wall Street in the first place.
I was totally unhappy and I couldn't understand why," she says. "I just felt lost. I felt like something was missing from my life."
So she quit.
Soul-searching took Loder about as far from finance as possible. She learned hypnosis and techniques to get subjects to conjure memories believed to be from past lives. She spent 10 days doing a silent meditation retreat.
"All this crazy stuff out there, it actually works," she says. "I was kind of shocked."
Today, at 34, Loder runs her own business helping women in finance and Silicon Valley who are unfulfilled by their careers. The company, Akoya Power, runs group coaching programs, corporate workshops and luxury retreats, which can cost up to $12,000 a person.
"If the Dow kept hitting a new high each month, I would have been so busy with deals that I would haven't had time or perspective," Loder says. "I'm so grateful that the economy slowed down the way it did. That triggered my boredom, which made me realize how unhappy I was."
THE CALM ADVISOR
Derek Kennedy spent the recession repeating the same message: stay the course.
The Tennessee financial adviser didn't have clients wake him in the middle of the night worried about their retirement. Instead, he offered plenty of proactive messages telling them to stick to their investment plan.
He'd start each phone call with a joke to break the tension.
"Just checking in," he'd say. "Have you been glued to CNBC? Are you chewing ice cubes?"
The he'd follow up with a somewhat reassuring point: when designing a retirement plan, they had planned for this. Well, not this exact meltdown, but something similar. While stocks were plunging, other parts of the portfolio -- most notably Treasury notes -- were showing a nice return and helping to lessen the overall loss.
"Stay cool. Times of market volatility are times of opportunity for well-constructed, well diversified and properly allocated investment portfolios," he told clients in an email March 15, 2011.
Two year before that, he had a similar message: stay the course.
"There really is no reasonable alternative than to remain patient," he wrote in 2009. "It is often hard not to be seduced into playing musical chairs with Wall Street, out of a desire to take at least some kind of action. Just remember, people are losing their chairs every day in these volatile markets."
He also noted for younger clients that the low stock prices of 2008 and 2009 will be history's equivalent of a "blue light special at Kmart." So buy while you can at the discounted prices.
Today, his clients are mostly whole again, but that doesn't mean they are complacent.
"They feel like it could all change on a dime again," Kennedy says. "They feel like it's only one economic or political event from being 2008 all over again."
His message -- as it's always been -- is to stay the course.
HE ALMOST LOST IT ALL
Mike Hall was working as a technology manager at a utility company in 2006. He was 57, had enough savings and decided to retire early.
Instead of collecting a monthly pension check, he decided to take a lump sum payout. He liked the idea that if he died unexpectedly, the money would pass on to his wife or daughter. He invested the money in stocks because the market was booming.
The Dow kept climbing.
"I was thinking: Things are going well. I made all the right moves. I was very secure," Hall says.
That euphoria didn't last long. The market's ascent quickly turned into a tumultuous tumble. Suddenly the decision to retire early, paired with liquidating his pension, didn't seem the best thing to do.
"My first thought: I can't believe it. I worked 33 years, I retired and six months later, boom, there it goes," Hall says. "I was convinced I had made two very bad choices."
At the market's low point, Hall's nest egg had lost 40 percent of its value.
Luckily, Hall and his wife had other sources of income and didn't need their savings immediately. She ran her own small business. He had already taken an entry-level job with the Department of Motor Vehicles to keep busy and get out of their Nevada home.
He never thought about selling.
"That's locking in your losses," Hall says. "You need to step back from your emotions."
Hall knew the problem wasn't his portfolio, but deeper economic issues and -- at some point -- the economy would recover.
Today, his portfolio is back to where it was at retirement.
"This isn't rocket science. This is basic, basic long-term investing," Hall says. "It's pretty boring stuff, but it really does work."
Scott Mayerowitz can be reached at http://twitter.com/GlobeTrotScott.
Posted 5:17 AM EST on March 05, 2013
Here is the latest California news from The Associated Press
CULVER CITY, Calif. (AP) -- Californians may be paying the highest gasoline taxes in the nation when a 3 1/2-cents-per-gallon increase kicks in this summer. The state Board of Equalization has voted to hike the excise tax to 39.5 cents per gallon. The excise tax is levied on gasoline suppliers but it's often passed on to consumers.
RIVERSIDE, Calif. (AP) -- Southern California firefighters have made significant progress against remnants of a wildfire that damaged a home and cut power to about 2,000 residents in Riverside County. A fire department spokesman says flames died down overnight but there are still hotspots and there is concern about winds picking up.
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- California Gov. Jerry Brown has denied parole for a former Charles Manson follower who has served more than 40 years in prison. Brown told The Associated Press today he has refused to approve the release of 70-year-old Bruce Davis, who a month earlier was found suitable for parole by a state board.
SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) -- A federal judge in California is erasing nearly half of the $1 billion in damages that a jury decided Samsung Electronics should pay Apple in a high-profile trial over the smartphone and tablet computer patents. U.S. District Court Judge Lucy Koh lowered the damages awarded to Apple by over $450 million.
Posted 5:24 AM EST on March 01, 2013
Rebel Apple investor tries to rally Street
By PETER SVENSSON
AP Technology Writer
NEW YORK (AP) -- A Wall Street maverick who wants Apple to share more of its wealth with investors took his case to other shareholders Thursday, urging them to send management a message by voting against a company proposal at the upcoming annual meeting.
David Einhorn, founder of hedge fund Greenlight Capital, laid out his case for "iPrefs," a class of dividend-bearing preferred stock he wants the company to issue as a way of committing to use its massive profits for the benefit of shareholders.
Apple hands only a small amount of its profits to shareholders. The rest of the money goes in the bank, where Apple's cash hoard amounted to $137 billion at the end of last year.
Einhorn introduced his plan two weeks ago. Apple responded, saying it would consider the proposal.
Posted 4:25 AM EST on February 21, 2013
SUBARU IS RECALLING AS MANY AS SIX HUNDRED THIRTY-FOUR THOUSAND VEHICLES NATIONWIDE.
THE MOVE DUE TO A LIGHTING ISSUE WHICH COULD LEAD TO A SHORT CIRCUIT IN THE WIRING, RESULTING IN SMOKE OR FIRE.
THE RECALL POTENTIALLY AFFECTS SOME FORESTER VEHICLES FROM MODEL YEARS TWO THOUSAND NINE THROUGH TWO THOUSAND TWELVE.
ALL LEGACY AND OUTBACK VEHICLES FROM MODEL YEARS TWO THOUSAND TEN THROUGH TWO THOUSAND TWELVE...
AND SOME TRIBECA VEHICLES FROM MODEL YEARS TWO THOUSAND SIX THROUGH TWO THOUSAND TWELVE.
Posted 2:02 AM EST on January 03, 2013
Recall of 55,455 Britax convertible car seats
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The government is alerting consumers to a safety recall announced by Britax Child Safety Inc., involving 55,455 convertible car seats sold in the United States. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says Britax, of Charlotte, N.C., has received reports of children biting and gagging on pieces of the HUGS pads connected to the seat's harness straps. The recall involves models Boulevard 70-G3, Advocate 70-G3, and Pavilion 70-G3 manufactured from June 2012 through August 2012. To address the issue, Britax is providing consumers with a kit containing more durable replacement pads that can be installed on the harness straps. Owners of affected car seats are encouraged to remove the HUGS pad until a replacement pad is received. For more information contact Britax Child Safety, Inc., at (888) 427-4829 or at www.britaxusa.com/support/safety-notices.
Posted 6:14 PM EST on November 12, 2012
Last Update on December 09, 2013 08:31 GMT
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) -- Asian stock markets were mostly higher today as signs of U.S. economic recovery offset concerns that the Federal Reserve may reduce its monetary stimulus this month.
The U.S. on Friday reported a fourth straight month of job gains, with 203,000 new jobs created in November. The unemployment rate fell to 7.0 percent from 7.3 percent.
Improvement in the U.S. economy, which is the world's largest, could be a boon for export-reliant Asian nations.
A run of strong economic data last week had already cemented belief among investors that the Fed would back a so-called tapering of its $85 billion in monthly bond purchases.
Some analysts, however, said the jury is still out on the timing of stimulus reduction.
Benchmark crude oil rose to near $98 a barrel. The dollar was little changed against the euro and fell against the yen.
NEW YORK (AP) -- A majority of business economists believe the Federal Reserve will begin to pull back on its massive economic stimulus program early next year, according to a recent survey.
The National Association of Business Economists said 62 percent of its forecasters expect the Fed will pull back on its bond-buying program in the first quarter of 2014. Another 30 percent believe the Fed will begin to reduce its bond buying in the second quarter of 2014.
The Federal Reserve has been buying $85 billion in bonds each month in an effort to keep interest rates low and stimulate the economy.
Also in its survey, the NABE said the majority of its forecasters expect the U.S. economy will grow faster in 2014 than it did this year.
ECONOMY-THE WEEK AHEAD
UNDATED (AP) -- There are no U.S. government economic reports set for release today. But in Germany, the government reports October industrial production figures for Europe's biggest economy.
On Tuesday, there are two U.S. government reports for stock traders to look at.: wholesale trade inventories for October; and October's job openings and labor turnover survey.
The Treasury Department releases the federal budget for November on Wednesday.
Investors will be anxious to see the weekly jobless claims numbers on Thursday. Also due out that day: retail sales data for November; and business inventories for October. Freddie Mac will report the weekly mortgage rates as well.
On Friday, the Labor Department will release the Producer Price Index for November.
CAMARILLO, Calif. (AP) -- The average price of gasoline in the U.S. is up 3 cents a gallon in the past two weeks.
According to the Lundberg Survey released Sunday, the price of a gallon of regular is now $3.29. Midgrade averages $3.47 and premium is $3.62.
Industry analyst Trilby Lundberg says gas prices have risen 6 cents a gallon over the past month after nine straight weeks of decline.
However, prices are still nearly a dime lower than at this time last year.
Of cities surveyed in the Lower 48 states, the lowest price, $2.84 a gallon, was in Tulsa, Okla.
Los Angeles had the highest, at $3.61.
CRACKING THE EGG
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Can plants replace eggs? A San Francisco startup backed by Bill Gates believes they can.
Hampton Creek Foods is scouring the planet for plants that can replace chicken eggs in everything from cookies to omelets to French toast. Its first product is an egg-free mayonnaise now sold at Whole Foods Markets.
The upstart is part of a new generation of so-called "food-tech" companies that aim to change the way we eat. They face powerful food industries and a skeptical public.
Funded by prominent Silicon Valley investors, Hampton Creek seeks to disrupt a global egg industry that backers say pollutes the environment, causes disease outbreaks and confines chickens to tiny spaces.
The egg industry says the public prefers real eggs, and their practices have improved in recent decades.
ATHENS, Greece (AP) -- Greek lawmakers have passed the government's 2014 budget, which forecasts a return to growth after six consecutive years of deep recession, but its revenue and spending targets have been contested by the country's creditors who have provided more than 240 billion euros ($329 billion) in bailout aid since 2010 to keep heavily indebted Greece from going bankrupt.
As expected, the government coalition of conservatives and socialists held up in the Saturday night vote, with 153 lawmakers in the 300-member parliament voting for the budget and 142 voting against.
Prime Minister Antonis Samaras is hailing the budget as a first step in Greece exiting the bailout and notes that the economy would expand a modest 0.6 percent in 2014, the first positive figure since 2007.
BEIJING (AP) -- China's November exports accelerated but imports weakened in a possible sign an economic recovery is slowing.
Trade data on Sunday showed export growth rose sharply to 12.7 percent over a year earlier, up from October's 5.6 percent expansion.
But import growth drifted down to 5.3 percent from the previous month's 7.6 percent. That suggested a rebound from a deep decline in growth might be ending.
China's economic growth rebounded in the third quarter of the year from a two-decade low.
But forecasters warned that revival relied on a government mini-stimulus based on higher spending on railway construction and other public works. They said economic growth might decline again late in the year or in early 2014.
BEIJING (AP) -- China's inflation edged down in November, giving Beijing more room to stimulate the economy if needed.
Data showed consumer prices rose 3.0 percent, down from October's 3.2 percent. Price increases were driven by a 22.3 percent rise in the cost of fresh vegetables and a 5.9 percent gain for food prices overall.
Lower inflation could give Beijing more room to ease monetary policy or take other steps to stimulate economic growth if communist leaders decide that is needed.
Economic growth rebounded to 7.8 percent in the three months ending in September after hitting a two-decade low. But analysts say that recovery might fade late this year or early in 2014, raising new concerns about politically volatile job losses.
TOKYO (AP) -- Japan has revised its economic growth estimate downward after finding that capital investment slowed more than expected in July-September.
The government said Monday that the world's third-largest economy grew an annualized 1.1 percent in the last quarter, less than half the pace of the previous quarter. The previous estimate had put growth at 1.9 percent.
The economy grew at a 4.3 percent pace in the first quarter of the year and 3.8 percent in April-June.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's growth strategy centers on easy money, a weak yen and longer-term reforms to boost competitiveness, but corporate investment and personal incomes have yet to rebound.
The revised data for the third quarter showed that the economy expanded 0.3 percent from the second quarter. The original estimate was 0.5 percent quarter-on-quarter growth.
NEW YORK (AP) -- After a New York commuter train derailment killed four people, two federal lawmakers want trains to be outfitted with cameras pointed at engineers and at the tracks.
Sens. Charles Schumer of New York and Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut held a news conference Sunday at Grand Central Terminal, one week after the derailment in the Bronx. The Democratic lawmakers are urging the Federal Railroad Administration to implement the cameras.
The National Transportation Safety Board has suggested it.
The railroad administration hasn't immediately responded to messages seeking comment on the idea. There's also no immediate comment from the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. It runs Metro-North, the railroad involved in the crash.
A lawyer and union leader for the derailed train's engineer have said he briefly nodded or experienced a daze at the controls.
More than 60 people were injured.
PRATT & WHITNEY-MACHINISTS
Pratt & Whitney machinists approve new contract
WALLINGFORD, Conn. (AP) -- Machinist union members who work at jet-engine maker Pratt & Whitney narrowly approved a new three-year contract Sunday, signing off on a deal that includes 2.5 percent pay raises each year and a $2,000 ratification bonus.
Union leaders had recommended workers reject the contract, which takes effect Monday and will cover about 2,800 Pratt & Whitney employees at the company's headquarters in East Hartford, Conn., and its plant in Middletown, Conn. The final vote was 1,119 to 1,033, according to the union's chief negotiator, Mike Stone.
Stone says union officials opposed the contract because about 100 union members are slated to lose their jobs and the positions won't be refilled because of relocation of certain materials work to a third-party provider. Pratt & Whitney officials say there will be voluntary separation packages for 140 employees because of the change.
The contract covers members of locals 700 and 1746 of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers.
Pratt & Whitney officials say they're pleased with the new contract.
GAY RIGHTS-CORPORATE SUPPORT
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- The nation's largest gay rights group says corporate support for gay and transgender workers is reaching new corners of the country and the economy six months after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the federal Defense of Marriage Act.
The Human Rights Campaign found that more than two-thirds of Fortune 500 companies and 90 percent of all the large employers it surveyed are now offering health insurance and other spousal benefits to the same-sex domestic partners of their employees.
In a report card scheduled to be issued Monday, the campaign says that retail giant Wal-Mart, Hormel Foods and fast-food chain Wendy's are among the corporations extending the benefits for the first time next year.
The group's 12th annual Corporate Equality Index also found a record number of businesses adopting policies prohibiting discrimination against transgender workers and job applicants.