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Economic growth slowed in the fourth quarter, leaving GDP short of Trump’s goal

Economic growth in the U.S. slowed in the final part of 2018, with GDP posting a gain of just 2.2 percent in the fourth quarter, the Commerce Department reported Thursday.

However, exports also rose, helping fuel the GDP rise.

Overall, the fourth quarter increase tied for the slowest gain since the first quarter of 2018.

Nonresidential fixed investment, a key sign of business activity, rose 5.4 percent, up from 2.5 percent in the third quarter. Equipment spending increased 6.6 percent but investment in structures fell 3.9 percent, its second consecutive decline. Residential investment also fell, down 4.7 percent for its fourth straight negative quarter.

Exports increased by 1.8 percent while imports were up 2 percent.

In addition to the waning GDP growth, corporate profits edged lower in the fourth quarter but finished the year up 7.8 percent, compared with 3.2 percent in 2017. Companies benefited from the White House-backed tax cut that slashed the corporate rate to 21 percent.

WATCH:
Nobel Prize winner Robert Shiller: Housing market ‘looking a little bit weaker’

The quarter wraps up a year of solid growth that was nonetheless a bit slower than what President Donald Trump was hoping to see.

In the first full year for the administration’s massive tax cut approved in 2017, GDP growth fell short of the 3 percent goal that the president had promised. A late-year slowdown in consumer spending as well as weaker business investment and uncertainty over trade were just a few of the issues helping cloud the economic horizon.

This year has started off with more uncertainty.

Economists largely expect growth to slow, and some are even looking for the first signs of recession. First-quarter GDP growth is likely to be below 2 percent, though earlier forecasts of a possible flat or negative reading appear unfounded now. The Atlanta Fed, for instance, had been tracking a gain of just 0.2 percent a few weeks ago but has since raised its outlook to 1.5 percent. CNBC’s Rapid Update tracker of leading economists also sees a 1.5 percent growth rate for the quarter.

Recent indicators also have been pointing up.

The trade deficit fell sharply in January, and some of the regional manufacturing readings have come in better than expected. However, real estate and retail remain wild cards, and businesses are closely watching the U.S.-China trade talks, which resumed Thursday in Beijing.

Get the market reaction here.

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Trump administration charges Facebook with ‘discriminatory’ housing advertising practices

The Trump administration charged Facebook on Thursday with “discrimination” in its advertising practices for housing.

settled a lawsuit with the ACLU over the practice last week and overhauled its systems as a result.

“[Facebook] holds out its advertising platform as a powerful resource for advertisers in many industries, including housing and housing-related services,” the complaint says. But, “because of the way [Facebook] designed its advertising platform, ads for housing and housing-related services are shown to large audiences that are severely biased.”

HUD is asking for unspecified monetary damages and “the maximum civil penalty” against Facebook for each violation of housing laws.

A Facebook spokesperson said the company is surprised by HUD’s charge.

“While we were eager to find a solution, HUD insisted on access to sensitive information — like user data — without adequate safeguards,” the spokesperson said. “We’re disappointed by today’s developments, but we’ll continue working with civil rights experts on these issues.”

Facebook also pointed to a blog post published last week, in which the company said the advertising overhaul marked an important step for the platform and thanked the civil rights organizations that helped improve the ad tools.

“There is a long history of discrimination in the areas of housing, employment and credit, and this harmful behavior should not happen through Facebook ads,” COO Sheryl Sandberg said at the time. “Our policies already prohibit advertisers from using our tools to discriminate. We’ve removed thousands of categories from targeting related to protected classes such as race, ethnicity, sexual orientation and religion. But we can do better.”

Facebook has drawn harsh criticism for its ad-based business model in recent months. The service allows advertisers to customize their audience based on specific and often user-supplied criteria for demographics and stated interests. That’s how advertisers were able to target posts to “Jew-haters,” for example.

The self-service portal is also how Russian agents were able to purchase tens of thousands of dollars worth of inflammatory posts around U.S. elections.

Here’s the full complaint from HUD:

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We’re about to find out why the Federal Reserve did its policy U-turn which sent markets higher

Investors will learn more Wednesday about why Federal Reserve officials did an apparent U-turn in policy three weeks ago when they signaled a much easier stance regarding interest rates.

Jerome Powell said afterward that it would take a shift in data to convince him that more moves would be needed.

Market participants will be digging closely through the meeting summary for clues on how the Fed views its interest rate framework, the assessment on the economy, and the plans it has for the $3.8 trillion in bonds it is holding on its balance sheet.

While a minutes release might seem an otherwise mundane dig through monetary policy, the Powell Fed has put a special emphasis on communication. The chairman now will hold news conferences after each meeting to explain Fed actions to the public, and he has kept up a busy schedule meeting with lawmakers on Capitol Hill.

“More communication is better,” Bill English, a 20-year Fed veteran and current professor at the Yale School of Management, said in an interview. “Things can be misunderstood and communication can go badly, but the response to that should be more communication and trying to clarify, and not communicating less. The world of a generation ago when the Fed didn’t communicate much about monetary policy at all isn’t actually a very desirable world for doing monetary policy.”

Fed officials have been pretty clear lately about their intentions on interest rates. Less certain is what the central bank will do with the balance sheet.

The Fed currently allows up to $50 billion a month in proceeds from Treasurys and mortgage-backed securities to roll off, though it does not regularly hit that number. Anything beyond that would be reinvested.

Since the process began, the bond portfolio has shrunk by more than $400 billion. The balance sheet had once stood at $4.5 trillion, the product of three rounds of bond buying — quantitative easing — the Fed instituted to lower long-term rates and pull the economy out of the financial crisis.

Market participants are now wondering how much further the Fed will go. The minutes will be looked at closely, particularly considering that the stock market rallied after the meeting and the perception that the Fed would take a less aggressive approach to tightening.

“The minutes from the two preceding meetings – November and December – included important sections on the balance sheet,” Lewis Alexander, chief economist at Nomura, said in a note. “We believe the corresponding section of the January minutes will confirm the Committee’s plans to end balance sheet normalization by end-2019.”

Several Fed officials have pointed to the end of the year as a likely point for the process to end, but even that remains in flux.

The key in the discussions thus far is the level of reserves at which the banking industry feels comfortable. The decline in the balance sheet corresponds with a lower level of reserves. Currently, banks are holding about $1.64 trillion in reserves, or nearly $1.5 trillion above the required level.

Many Fed watchers think the final level will be somewhere just in excess of $1 trillion, though some see it higher.

“Once we reach $1.1 [trillion] of reserves, the normalization is done,” wrote Jabaz Mathai, head of U.S. rates strategy at Citigroup.

Markets have expressed concern that the balance sheet rundown is working in tandem with rate hikes to tighten financial conditions. While Fed officials have insisted that the roll-off will happen with minimal market disruptions, the feeling on Wall Street is otherwise.

“As growth risks pile up externally and internally, the Fed will want to make sure that [quantitative tightening] is not a constraint that weighs down on financial conditions and hence on the economy,” Mathai said. “Our view is that the effects of QE (and by extension QT, and the end of QT) work through the signaling channel. The Fed signaling that QT is ending, is a Fed signaling readiness to cut rates at some not too distant point in the future.”

Indeed, the market sees no additional rate hikes ahead as the Fed’s benchmark rate sits in a range between 2.25 percent and 2.5 percent. Traders actually are assigning a small chance — about 10 percent — of a rate cut by December.

Another related issue that could come up in the minutes is how Fed officials convey their intentions to the public.

Powell suffered a series of missteps that began in October when he said the Fed was “a long way” from a neutral rate, and then again in December when he described the balance sheet operation as being on “autopilot.”

Markets have recovered mostly from those issues, but Fed officials have been discussing how to improve communication, particularly if another crisis hits.

English said officials have some other options available to them to give the public a more reliable road map for future intentions.

Among them are a “fan chart” for the possible direction of the fed funds rate, and information about the way policy could respond to changing economic conditions.

The fan chart would be similar to one the committee uses to display the level of uncertainty around interest rate projections. The intent is to keep investors aware of how much difference there is in various forecasts and reinforce that the rate estimates are not carved in stone.

“One way or another it is just to suggest that while there is this path for the fed funds rate and the summary of economic projections, there’s a great deal of uncertainty around that path and the committee will adjust that path accordingly under changing circumstances,” English said. “That’s the point you’re trying to make.”

English said the current discussions around future policy responses could end up with a friendlier view toward negative nominal interest rates, as a recent Fed paper discussed, and quicker action to institute programs like QE.

WATCH: Fed governor says some downside risks have increased

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Democratic super PAC unleashes wave of opposition research against Starbucks and Howard Schultz

Democrats screamed “spoiler!” when former Starbucks CEO and Chairman Howard Schultz said more than a week ago that he was thinking about running for president as a centrist independent.

While some of these settlements noted by the super PAC did not take place when Schultz was either CEO or chairman, the group is clearly trying to convince voters that under his leadership, Starbucks took advantage of employees. The messaging campaign comes as Democratic leaders and donors have slammed Schultz for even considering running as an independent because, they argue, it will split the vote in 2020 and give President Donald Trump a second term.

“The country deserves to know the truth about Howard Schultz’s real record,” Andrew Bates, a spokesman for American Bridge, told CNBC. “The last thing the American people are hungry for is another arrogant billionaire who takes advantage of anyone he can, just like the man currently sitting in the Oval Office. Schultz can’t win the presidency – all he can do is ensure that Donald Trump stays in the White House for another disastrous 4 years.”

A spokesman for Schultz, Tucker Warren, said the super PAC’s attacks serve as proof for the former coffee CEO’s criticism of the two-party system.

“This attack is a perfect illustration of how broken the system is and how the Washington attack machine has corrupted our politics,” Warren said. “The small group of individuals who fund this effort should spend their energy advancing their ideas, not just tearing people down.”

Meanwhile, a spokesman for Starbucks referred CNBC to a memo sent by current CEO Kevin Johnson to employees last week and highlighted part of the message that emphasizes the company does not take part in political campaigns.

“As a company, we don’t get involved in national political campaigns. And nothing changes for Starbucks,” Johnson said. “As we have for the past 48 years since Starbucks was founded, we will continue to live Our Mission and Values and create a great Starbucks customer experience in each of our stores. … And as Starbucks partners, we have a responsibility to always recognize and respect the diversity of perspectives of all customers and partners on these topics.”

The spokesman also provided an outline of the extensive benefits Starbucks employees receive and their diverse hiring practices.

The PAC’s research lists a suit filed in California Superior Court in 2001, when a Starbucks employee claimed they were not paid sufficient overtime expenses that were owed to them based on state law. In April 2002, Starbucks settled the case and a similar class-action lawsuit for $18 million.

“Given the unique aspects of California wage and hour laws, which differ significantly from federal and other state laws, we believe this settlement was the best solution for all parties involved,” Jennifer O’Connor, Starbucks’s legal counsel at the time of the agreement, said in a press release.

Another settlement the PAC focuses on took place in Massachusetts, where a former barista claimed the coffee chain broke state law by forcing him to share tips with his direct supervisors. The former employee, Hernan Matamoros, and at least three other former baristas, won a settlement of $23.5 million in 2013 after a five-year court battle. The payout, according to the court filing at the time, compensated “all baristas who worked at Starbucks from the beginning of the class period, March 2005, until January 2013.”

Schultz, who said he is no longer a Democrat, sent shockwaves through the Democratic Party when he told CBS’ “60 Minutes,” in an interview aired last week, that he was seriously considering an independent campaign for president in 2020.

Top Democratic donors in New York ripped Schultz for looking to run as an independent and megadonor Haim Saban told CNBC that he believes the former coffee chain executive should run as a Democrat instead. Billionaire and former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg, who may run as a Democrat for president in 2020 and in the past has considered an independent bid, appeared to warn his fellow billionaire that an independent run would split the ticket, giving an advantage to Trump. He did not specifically name the former Starbucks executive in his statement.

Still, there are others who argue that Democrats are overplaying their hand with their attacks on Schultz and that it’s too early to say what impact an independent run may have on the 2020 election.

John Weaver, a senior strategist for former Republican Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who also is considering running either as a Republican or independent in 2020, recently told CNBC that people shouldn’t jump to conclusions about Schultz’s potential candidacy.

“I think all of these attacks, with everybody’s hair on fire, are the same people who reassured us that Hillary Clinton would win,” Weaver said. “Ten months from now, I don’t know if Kamala Harris will still be in the race. I don’t know if Howard Schultz would be in the race. We’ll see if consumers will buy into any of these people’s efforts.”

On a possible independent candidacy, Charlie Black, a senior advisor on Sen. John McCain’s and Kasich’s runs for president, agreed that Schultz would likely take votes away from the Democratic nominee. But he also stressed that it’s too soon to know what impact he will have in the next election.

“Schultz probably pulls more votes from the Democrats, but there are a few upscale Republicans he might attract. Hard to say until he mounts his campaign for a while and there is a Democratic nominee” Black said in an email. “I doubt he can break 10%, even with a good campaign,” he added.

Kellyanne Conway, an advisor to Trump, argued that Democrats are “bullying” Schultz, and that their tactics make them appear “desperate and overdone.”

Read the opposition research file below:

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Alphabet drops after revealing declining advertising prices and rising costs

Alphabet reported fourth-quarter results Monday that beat expectations across the board. Still, the stock fell 3 percent in extended trading, on continuing pressure on advertising prices and decreasing margins.

capital expenditures just north of $7 billion for the period, posting a much more expensive quarter than the $5.63 billion in capex that was projected.

The company reported an operating margin of 21 percent for the fourth quarter, lower than the 22 percent margin that was expected and the 23 percent margin it reported this time last year.

Full-year operating margin for Alphabet’s core Google segment fell by more than 2 percentage points from the previous year, representing a more drastic decline than the overall business.

“Everything we do at Google is united by the mission of making information accessible and useful for everyone. Providing accurate and trusted information at the scale the Internet has reached is an extremely complex challenge and one that is constantly getting harder,” CEO Sundar Pichai said on the company’s earnings call.

The company’s core advertising business has hit something of a plateau. Advertising revenue grew 20 percent from last year’s fourth quarter, to $32.6 billion, the same rate of growth as last quarter.

Traffic acquisition costs — the fees Google pays to companies like Apple to be the default search engine — rang in at $7.44 billion, up 13 percent from $6.58 billion during the third quarter of this year and up 15 percent from $6.45 billion during the year-ago quarter.

TAC as a percent of advertising revenue came in at 23 percent, matching analyst estimates and falling right in line with previous quarters.

Google continues to grow its “other revenues” segment, which includes its cloud business and hardware sales. The division accounted for $6.49 billion during the quarter, narrowly beating Wall Street estimates of $6.43 billion.

That marks a 31 percent increase year over year. The company declined to break out Cloud revenues for the quarter, but said it remains “one of the fastest growing businesses across Alphabet.”

“Last year we more than doubled both the number of Google Cloud Platform deals over 1 million as well as the number of multiyear contracts signed,” Pichai said. “We also ended the year with another milestone passing 5 million paying customers for our Cloud collaboration and productivity solution G Suite.”

Google announced in November it was replacing its head of Cloud, Diane Greene, with former Oracle executive Thomas Kurian.

“One of the things that was evident towards end of last year is now our ability to win very large customers, global 5000 companies with multiyear contracts. And so that’s definitely something we want to focus on,” Pichai said. “I think Diane and Thomas have been working closely under transition with a lot of continuity.”

Alphabet’s “Other Bets” category, which houses Alphabet’s other companies, like health venture Verily and self-driving start-up Waymo, came in shy of revenue estimates at $154 million in revenue. Wall Street had been looking for $187.4 million, according to StreetAccount.

Still, the segment posted an 18 percent year-over-year increase.

Alphabet is now just 2,000 employees of 100,000-person headcount, up from 80,000 employees at the same time last year. Headcount grew primarily in the company’s cloud segment, Chief Financial Officer Ruth Porat said on the company’s earnings call.

WATCH: Amazon and Google are becoming omnipresent whether you like it or not

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Google’s capital expenditures doubled in 2018, the fastest growth in at least four years

Google’s capital spending is growing much faster than its revenue.

Alphabet said in Monday’s earnings report that Google’s capital expenditures, which include the costs of data centers and other facilities, more than doubled in 2018, that fastest expansion in at least four years.

While the vast majority of Google’s revenue comes from advertising, the company has been picking up more business from cloud applications and cloud-based infrastructure, which requires data center equipment. Google also continues to hire rapidly across the globe, requiring it to buy and lease more space for people to work.

Google’s capital expenditures in 2018 increased 102 percent to $25.14 billion, up from a growth rate of 34 percent in 2017. In the fourth quarter, spending surged 80 percent to $6.85 billion, while revenue rose 21 percent to $39.1 billion. (Alphabet reported total sales of $39.3 billion.)

Alphabet spent much more last year than rival Microsoft, which shelled out $16 billion in capital expenditures, up less than 39 percent year over year.

Data center expansion is critical for Google as is builds out its cloud computing capacity. Additionally, the company bought Chelsea Market in New York and has made real estate investments since in places including Texas.

“With respect to capex [capital expenditures], we continue to invest in both compute requirements and for office facilities, although we expect the capex growth rate in 2019 to moderate quite significantly,” Alphabet’s chief financial officer, Ruth Porat, told analysts on a conference call following the earnings release.

Alphabet’s headcount in 2018 rose 23 percent to 98,771. Porat said headcount growth will moderate in 2019.

WATCH: Watch these two big metrics in Alphabet’s earnings report

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Google has a ‘very high bar’ for M&A targets, CEO Sundar Pichai says

With more than $109 billion in cash and marketable securities on hand, Google is often at the center of M&A speculation — who the company should buy, who it missed out on. But CEO Sundar Pichai says the company has a “very high bar” to do a deal.

Q4 earnings call. “To me it’s been more about us finding the right fit rather than being constrained by anything in particular.”

Google had a shot at open source software companies GitHub and Red Hat last year, but ultimately lost out to Microsoft and IBM respectively. CNBC reported in October that Google held talks with both companies, but was ultimately outbid or walked away. The company has also previously looked at Twitter and Snap, according to media reports.

With former Oracle executive Thomas Kurian replacing Diane Greene as Alphabet’s new head of cloud, rumors are swirling about possible big acquisitions in the enterprise software space.

“It’s always an important part of our strategy, and we have done great acquisitions in the past things like YouTube and Android Wear — big acquisitions for us,” Pichai said. “And so we continue to look for opportunities ahead.”

WATCH: Loup Ventures Gene Munster gives instant reaction to Alphabet earnings

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Friday Is Going to Be a Huge Day for Stock Traders

Friday Is Going to Be a Huge Day for Stock TradersTwo major market events that have the potential to send U.S. equity volumes sky-high will collide Friday. The first is the quarterly event known as “quadruple witching” — when futures and options on indexes and individual stocks expire. The anticipated spike in turbulence will hit a market already roiled by rising trade tensions between the U.S. and China.


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Amazon just accidentally leaked details about 2 new Alexa devices ahead of an event today

  • Listings for an Amazon Echo Sub subwoofer and an Amazon Smart Plug were leaked ahead of a company event on Thursday.
  • The subwoofer is designed to work with Amazon’s Echo speakers, which would also get stereo sound functionality, according to the leaked listings on Amazon UK first spotted by the website Pocket-lint.
  • The Amazon Smart Plug would give basic Alexa functionality to devices plugged into it.
  • The devices could become available on October 11, according to Pocket-lint.

Two new Amazon devices were leaked on Amazon’s UK website ahead of a company event in Seattle on Thursday.

Echo Sub and a £95 (about $125) smart plug called, well, the Amazon Smart Plug.” data-reactid=”17″>The devices, whose listings were first spotted by the website Pocket-lint, are a £75 (about $100) subwoofer called the Echo Sub and a £95 (about $125) smart plug called, well, the Amazon Smart Plug.

The Echo Sub is designed to accompany Amazon’s Echo and Echo Plus smart speakers for a fuller, deeper sound. Indeed, a subwoofer would add much-needed bass to Amazon’s Echo range of smart speakers, which critics say have a relatively thin sound compared with speakers like the Alexa-powered Sonos One.

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Leaked Amazon Sub image

Amazon UK via PocketLint” data-reactid=”39″>Amazon UK via PocketLint

The listing also notes a new feature that enables two compatible Echo speakers to pair together and deliver true stereo sound. Currently, Amazon’s Echo speakers can be paired, but not in stereo — the sound isn’t separated into left and right channels, but simply duplicated. Adding stereo functionality could allow Echo speakers to deliver a more dynamic sound and better position Echo devices as primary sound systems rather than only smart speakers.

The Smart Plug is a wall-power-outlet adapter designed to give basic Alexa functionality to any device plugged into it. For example, a lamp plugged into the Smart Plug could be controlled with Alexa using your voice at home or the app while you’re away, or you could set a schedule to turn it on and off.

View photos

Leaked Amazon Smart Plug

Amazon UK via Pocket-lint” data-reactid=”62″>Amazon UK via Pocket-lint

other smart plugs sold on Amazon that also work with Alexa and cost $10 to $30. We might find out during Amazon’s event why the Smart Plug is so expensive.” data-reactid=”63″>The Smart Plug’s price tag seems a bit steep compared with other smart plugs sold on Amazon that also work with Alexa and cost $10 to $30. We might find out during Amazon’s event why the Smart Plug is so expensive.

Both device listings showed availability on October 11, according to Pocket-lint.

previously rumored products, like a smart microwave, could also be announced.” data-reactid=”65″>We’re likely to get the details of these new devices on Thursday — if Amazon plans to announce them during the event. Other previously rumored products, like a smart microwave, could also be announced.

the Tech Insider homepage after 1 p.m. ET for the latest.” data-reactid=”66″>Business Insider is at the event, so head over to the Tech Insider homepage after 1 p.m. ET for the latest.

Google, Apple, and Amazon are in a war that no one will win” data-reactid=”67″>NOW WATCH: Google, Apple, and Amazon are in a war that no one will win

  • Amazon just announced a $60 smart Alexa-powered microwave you can control with your voice
  • Amazon is releasing four new products to make your speaker system way smarter — including a subwoofer
  • Amazon’s brand-new $150 Echo Plus is an easier way to make your home smart
  • Amazon will reportedly release its own Alexa-enabled microwave, plus a bunch of other gadgets, later this year” data-reactid=”73″>SEE ALSO: Amazon will reportedly release its own Alexa-enabled microwave, plus a bunch of other gadgets, later this year

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    How Pepsi-Co, Tesla and Michael Jordan are helping the Carolinas

    Anheuser-Busch and other beverage makers donated cans of drinking water to victims of Hurricane Florence.

    Early estimates show that Hurricane Florence has left a $22 billion path of devastation in its wake, with $2.5 billion in insured losses so far. At least 33 people have died in storm-related incidents. Hundreds of thousands of people are still without power in North Carolina, and flooding remains at dangerous levels.” data-reactid=”22″>Early estimates show that Hurricane Florence has left a $22 billion path of devastation in its wake, with $2.5 billion in insured losses so far. At least 33 people have died in storm-related incidents. Hundreds of thousands of people are still without power in North Carolina, and flooding remains at dangerous levels.

    Corporations have stepped up to stem the pain and are donating tens of millions of dollars to the Red Cross and other nonprofits to help with recovery efforts. Here’s a snapshot of some of the ways companies, celebrities, and athletes are helping those affected by Florence.” data-reactid=”23″>Corporations have stepped up to stem the pain and are donating tens of millions of dollars to the Red Cross and other nonprofits to help with recovery efforts. Here’s a snapshot of some of the ways companies, celebrities, and athletes are helping those affected by Florence.

    Sports industry” data-reactid=”24″>Sports industry

    Basketball legend Michael Jordan, who grew up in North Carolina and now owns the Charlotte Hornets, is using his star status to get fans to donate via an NBA micro-site. He is also donating $2 million of his own cash — $1 million for the American Red Cross and $1 million to the Foundation for the Carolinas Florence Response Fund. ” data-reactid=”25″>Basketball legend Michael Jordan, who grew up in North Carolina and now owns the Charlotte Hornets, is using his star status to get fans to donate via an NBA micro-site. He is also donating $2 million of his own cash — $1 million for the American Red Cross and $1 million to the Foundation for the Carolinas Florence Response Fund.

    Jordan isn’t the only athlete to step up. Major League Soccer’s’ Atlanta United and the owner of the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons have each pledged $1 million. University athletes are also pitching in. After its football game with South Carolina’s Furman Paladins got canceled because of the storm, Colgate Raiders coach Dan Hunt released its hotel rooms to those affected by the storm and donated the scheduled team meals.” data-reactid=”26″>Jordan isn’t the only athlete to step up. Major League Soccer’s’ Atlanta United and the owner of the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons have each pledged $1 million. University athletes are also pitching in. After its football game with South Carolina’s Furman Paladins got canceled because of the storm, Colgate Raiders coach Dan Hunt released its hotel rooms to those affected by the storm and donated the scheduled team meals.

    Auto industry” data-reactid=”27″>Auto industry

    In anticipation of Florence’s landfall, many auto plants in the Carolinas — including those of Mercedes-Benz and Volvo — shut down production for days. But now that the storm has passed, Toyota and GM are offering some relief on car payments for affected residents. Consumers struggling with car leasing and financing can seek extensions and deferred payments. And Tesla is allowing drivers to charge their cars for free at all of its express-charging stations in Georgia, Virginia, South Carolina and North Carolina.” data-reactid=”28″>In anticipation of Florence’s landfall, many auto plants in the Carolinas — including those of Mercedes-Benz and Volvo — shut down production for days. But now that the storm has passed, Toyota and GM are offering some relief on car payments for affected residents. Consumers struggling with car leasing and financing can seek extensions and deferred payments. And Tesla is allowing drivers to charge their cars for free at all of its express-charging stations in Georgia, Virginia, South Carolina and North Carolina.

    Beverage business” data-reactid=”29″>Beverage business

    Access to safe drinking water is critical to survivors faced with potentially contaminated water from heavy rainfall at various industrial sites. The EPA reports that 16 community water treatment facilities in North Carolina are unable to supply drinking water and that seven publicly owned sewage treatment works are non-operational as a result of flooding. More than 600,000 customers have been warned not to drink tap water as North Carolina’s flooded hog farms; waste lagoons are under scrutiny for contamination.” data-reactid=”30″>Access to safe drinking water is critical to survivors faced with potentially contaminated water from heavy rainfall at various industrial sites. The EPA reports that 16 community water treatment facilities in North Carolina are unable to supply drinking water and that seven publicly owned sewage treatment works are non-operational as a result of flooding. More than 600,000 customers have been warned not to drink tap water as North Carolina’s flooded hog farms; waste lagoons are under scrutiny for contamination.

    With its birthplace in New Bern, North Carolina, Pepsi-Co was eager to help. The soft drink giant is donating $1 million to relief agencies and $350,000 in meals to help the Carolinas. Beer distributor MillerCoors sent over more than 2 million cans of drinking water to the region, and  Anheuser-Busch trucked in more than 300,000 cans of fresh water.” data-reactid=”31″>With its birthplace in New Bern, North Carolina, Pepsi-Co was eager to help. The soft drink giant is donating $1 million to relief agencies and $350,000 in meals to help the Carolinas. Beer distributor MillerCoors sent over more than 2 million cans of drinking water to the region, and  Anheuser-Busch trucked in more than 300,000 cans of fresh water.

    Big banks” data-reactid=”32″>Big banks

    The big banks are also donating millions to organizations helping victims. Wells Fargo donated $1 million, with $500,000 going to the Red Cross and the other $500,000 to other organizations in affected areas. Struggling customers can also seek the bank’s help for refunding certain late fees for personal, credit card, auto, and other lines of credit. Bank of America, Capital One, HSBC Bank, Morgan Stanley, Mastercard, Northwestern Mutual and the Northwestern Mutual Foundation are among the financial institutions making major contributions to the Red Cross.” data-reactid=”33″>The big banks are also donating millions to organizations helping victims. Wells Fargo donated $1 million, with $500,000 going to the Red Cross and the other $500,000 to other organizations in affected areas. Struggling customers can also seek the bank’s help for refunding certain late fees for personal, credit card, auto, and other lines of credit. Bank of America, Capital One, HSBC Bank, Morgan Stanley, Mastercard, Northwestern Mutual and the Northwestern Mutual Foundation are among the financial institutions making major contributions to the Red Cross.

    @chasingsibile ” data-reactid=”34″>Sibile Marcellus is an on-air reporter covering the day’s top stories in business for Yahoo Finance’s three daily live shows. Follow her on Twitter @chasingsibile 

    Soledad O’Brien on #metoo: ‘Every single industry has a big freaking problem’” data-reactid=”36″>Soledad O’Brien on #metoo: ‘Every single industry has a big freaking problem’

    Why keeping the business in the family pays off” data-reactid=”37″>Why keeping the business in the family pays off

     

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