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1. This year, resolve to leave no more gift cards unused -

Years ago, a friend who needed cash sold me a $100 Nordstrom gift card. I wish I knew where the heck I put it.

Gift cards are a popular holiday solution, especially recently, as supply chain disruptions and shipping delays have made gift buying more challenging. Most gift cards are spent within a year, but billions of dollars remain unspent, and about 1% to 2% of gift card dollars typically go unused, says Amy Dunckelmann, vice president of research operations for Mercator Advisory Group, a global payments consultant.

2. COVID-19 variant disrupts holiday travel but not shopping -

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — The latest COVID-19 variant is upending holiday plans for tens of thousands of travelers — but it didn't do much damage to holiday shopping.

Airlines canceled hundreds more flights Sunday, citing staffing problems tied to COVID-19, as the nation's travel woes extended beyond Christmas, with no clear indication when normal schedules would resume.

3. Harris announces private investments in Central America -

WASHINGTON (AP) — Vice President Kamala Harris on Monday announced $1.2 billion in commitments from international businesses to support the economies and social infrastructure of Central American nations, as she works to address what the White House terms the "root causes" of migration to the United States.

4. Visa CEO: COVID caused permanent shift to digital payments -

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Al Kelly believes there has been a permanent shift in how consumers worldwide pay for goods and services. His 91-year-old parents are a prime example.

The CEO of payments processing giant Visa recently visited his mother just after she'd finished buying her groceries online — something she'd never done prior to COVID-19.

5. Shoppers are back in store, online, but virus impact lingers -

NEW YORK (AP) — Americans are spending freely and going back to store shopping, knocking out some of the momentum in online sales from last year when Americans were making many of their purchases exclusively via the internet.

6. Buffett's firm trims drugmaker stakes, buys 2 new stocks -

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Investor Warren Buffett's company made two new investments during the third quarter while trimming its holdings in several drugmakers and financial firms.

Berkshire Hathaway Inc. updated its stock holdings in a quarterly filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Monday. The reports are closely watched by many investors because of Buffett's successful track record over the decades.

7. EXPLAINER: What is Apple doing with its App Store? -

Over the past week or so, Apple has eased some longstanding restrictions that helped make its App Store into a big moneymaker for the company. The company has long required app developers to pay high commissions to Apple on the sales of paid apps as well as purchases of subscriptions or digital items inside their apps.

8. How points, miles credit cards can ease return to travel -

As the COVID-19 vaccination era makes it safer to travel, many people who stayed home during pandemic shutdowns are vacationing again. Airport checkpoint numbers have increased about 20% from January through mid-June compared with the same time frame in 2020, the Transportation Security Administration reports.

9. Stores expect strong sales as children return to classrooms -

NEW YORK (AP) — As more children go back to the physical classroom, families are expected to spend robustly on a wide range of items, particularly trendy clothing like cropped tops, for the critical back-to-school season, according to one key spending measure.

10. Harris to announce business investments in Central America -

WASHINGTON (AP) — Vice President Kamala Harris on Thursday will announce commitments from a dozen companies and organizations to invest in Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador as part of the Biden administration's efforts to address the root causes of migration from the region.

11. Judge digs into Apple app store policies as Epic trial ends -

SAN RAMON, Calif. (AP) — The judge who will decide a case challenging Apple's stranglehold on its iPhone app store indicated on Monday she would like to promote more competition but without dismantling a commission system that reaps billions of dollars for the technology powerhouse.

12. EXPLAINER: Why has the price of Bitcoin been falling? -

NEW YORK (AP) — The price of Bitcoin fell as much as 29% Wednesday after the China Banking Association warned member banks of risks associated with digital currencies. Other digital currencies suffered sharp declines as well.

13. AmEx sees drop in revenue as pandemic slows travel, dining -

NEW YORK (AP) — American Express saw its first-quarter profits rise sharply, but the company saw a significant drop in revenue as fewer customers used their credit cards and those with balances paid down debt.

14. How my travel credit card saved me $1,388 on vacation cancellation -

In 2020, I was looking forward to leaving Los Angeles for a socially distanced vacation in San Diego. I had stocked up on food, hand sanitizer, wipes and masks.

To stay safe and distant, I had booked two cottages near the beach with my travel credit card. My friend and his significant other would stay in one, and my roommate and I would take the other. That was the plan, until one friend tested positive for the coronavirus and had to isolate at home.

15. Wall Street closing lower; bank stocks fall -

Wall Street closed out a choppy week of trading Friday with major stock indexes mostly lower and all finishing in the red for the week.

The S&P 500 ended 0.1% lower after reversing a small gain. The benchmark index, which hit an all-time high on Wednesday, posted its first weekly decline in three weeks. Losses by banks, industrial companies and technology stocks weighed on the market. They offset gains in companies that rely on consumer spending, health care and other sectors.

16. Report: DOJ investigating Visa over debit card business -

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Visa is under investigation by the Department of Justice's antitrust division over whether the company pushes merchants into more expensive forms of debit card payments, The Wall Street Journal reported Friday.

17. Corporations become unlikely financiers of racial equity -

In the months since the police killing of George Floyd sparked a racial reckoning in the United States, American corpo-rations have emerged as an unexpected leading source of funding for social justice.

18. Cost of a single Bitcoin exceeds $50,000 for first time -

SILVER SPRING, Md. (AP) — The seemingly unstoppable rise of Bitcoin continued Tuesday with the cost of a single unit of the digital currency rising above $50,000 for the first time.

The same Bitcoin just one year ago would have cost you $10,000. The price is up almost 200% in the last three months alone.

19. US stock indexes wobble as investor caution offsets optimism -

Another day of choppy trading on Wall Street left the major U.S. stock indexes nearly flat Thursday, even as the S&P 500 and Nasdaq composite hit all-time highs.

The S&P 500 rose 0.2% after wobbling between small gains and losses up until the final minutes of trading. Technology stocks led the gainers after two relatively weak days, almost single-handedly outweighing losses by energy stocks, banks and companies that rely on consumer spending.

20. Seven credit card perks to prioritize in the new year -

As you lay the groundwork for 2021 financial resolutions, take inventory of your credit cards to see if they’re still in line with your goals and priorities.

With the pandemic upending spending patterns, possibly for the foreseeable future, an audit of the benefits and costs of your cards can reveal which ones are getting the job done and saving you money, which ones are a drag on your finances – and what features you might want to look for in a new card. Here are some credit card features to prioritize.

21. Visa, Mastercard won't allow charges for services on Pornhub -

NEW YORK (AP) — Mastercard and Visa said Thursday they would block their customers from using the credit cards to make purchases on Pornhub following accusations the pornographic website showed videos of rape and underage sex.

22. Mastercard SpendingPulse: November holiday sales up 5.1% -

NEW YORK (AP) — Retail sales rose 5.1% in November, as spending on home furnishings and consumer electronics helped offset a drop in sales of clothing and at department stores, a widely watched industry gauge shows.

23. Here's why Ant Group is about to shatter IPO records -

HONG KONG (AP) — Stella Su, who lives and works in Shanghai, has used an ATM only once in the past year. Instead of cash, in recent years she has done almost all her business using the digital wallet Alipay –- shopping in a mall, buying stuff online or transferring money to friends.

24. Here's why Ant Group is about to shatter IPO records -

HONG KONG (AP) — Stella Su, who lives and works in Shanghai, has used an ATM only once in the past year. Instead of cash, in recent years she has done almost all her business using the digital wallet Alipay –- shopping in a mall, buying stuff online or transferring money to friends.

25. Government probes Microsoft's effort to boost diversity -

Microsoft says the U.S. Labor Department is scrutinizing its efforts to boost Black employment and leadership at the tech company.

Microsoft disclosed in a blog post Tuesday that it received a letter from the agency last week asking about the company's June pledge to double the number of Black and African American managers, senior individual contributors and senior leaders by 2025.

26. Europe's central bank moves toward introducing digital euro -

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — With consumers increasingly using cashless ways to buy things, the European Central Bank on Friday took a step closer to issuing a digital version of the euro currency shared by 19 countries, saying it had to be ready to launch digital money if a changing world requires it.

27. Learn to unlock benefits available through your credit cards -

A few days after buying a sweater at Macy’s, Erin Chisman returned to get the same one in a different color, only to realize it was 50% off. Upon seeing the new price tag, the Wisconsin-based business owner was determined to save.

28. Trump policy change frightens Cubans, shows Washington chaos -

HAVANA (AP) — A week and a half ago, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo issued a strongly worded announcement that the Trump administration was prohibiting business with Fincimex, a Cuban state corporation that works with foreign credit card and money transfer businesses, among others.

29. Web inventor: Closing digital divide must be top priority -

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — World Wide Web inventor Tim Berners-Lee said Thursday the COVID-19 pandemic demonstrates "the gross inequality" of a world where almost half the population is unable to connect to the internet.

30. Dow drops 879, bonds soar on fears virus will stunt economy -

Stocksfell sharplyagain on Wall Street Tuesday, piling on losses a day after the market's biggest drop in two years as fears spread that the growing virus outbreak will put the brakes on the global economy.

31. Central banks join to study possible digital currencies -

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — Major central banks have joined together to explore whether they should issue cryptocurrencies as the use of cash declines and more people turn to electronic forms of paying.

32. US says its pavilion at Expo 2020 in Dubai sponsored by UAE -

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — The United States said its participation at this year's World's Fair in Dubai is being made possible by "the generosity of the Emirati government."

The U.S. State Department said Wednesday Emirati sponsorship of America's pavilion, estimated to be at least $60 million, was made "in recognition of the strong partnership between the United States and the United Arab Emirates."

33. Visa buys financial technology company Plaid for $5.3B -

NEW YORK (AP) — Visa is purchasing the financial technology company Plaid for $5.3 billion, a major push by the payment processing giant into other types of money transfer systems outside of Visa's traditional credit and debit card business.

34. US adds 145,000 jobs; unemployment holds at 3.5% -

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. employers added 145,000 jobs in December and the unemployment rate held steady at 3.5%, signaling that the job market remains strong at the start of 2020 even if hiring and wage gains have slowed somewhat more than a decade into an economic expansion.

35. US stocks close at record highs; Nasdaq goes above 9,000 -

Retailers and technology companies powered stocks broadly higher on Wall Street Thursday, extending the market's record-setting run.

The Nasdaq composite climbed above 9,000 points for the first time as Apple led technology stocks higher. The Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 also climbed to new highs. The benchmark index is on course for its best year since 2013.

36. How employers help workers save for rainy days -

Everyone needs a rainy-day fund. Your financial health depends on it, and your employer could help you build one.

Many companies offer 401(k)s and other retirement plans, but until recently few had programs to promote short-term savings. That’s starting to change as employers experiment with matching funds, payroll deductions and other methods to encourage workers to build emergency funds.

37. French luxury group LVMH to buy Tiffany for $16.2 billion -

PARIS (AP) — French luxury group LVMH has agreed to buy New York jeweler Tiffany & Co. for $16.2 billion, adding a famed star to its portfolio that already boasts Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior and Bulgari.

38. Zuckerberg defends Facebook's currency plans before Congress -

WASHINGTON (AP) — Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg endured hours of prickly questioning from lawmakers Wednesday as he defended the company's new globally ambitious project to create a digital currency while also dealing with widening scrutiny from U.S. regulators.

39. US stock indexes close lower on mixed company earnings -

A choppy day of trading on Wall Street ended Tuesday with stocks closing lower after a technology sector-led sell-off strengthened toward the end of the day.

That late-afternoon burst of selling erased modest gains for the market, which was coming off two weeks of gains.

40. Facebook says Libra won't launch without US approval -

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg plans to tell Congress Wednesday that the company's planned Libra cryptocurrency won't launch unless all U.S. regulators approve.

In prepared remarks released Tuesday ahead of a hearing before the House Financial Services Committee, Zuckerberg says that Facebook will not be part of launching the new digital currency anywhere in the world without U.S. government approval.

41. Visa, Mastercard shun Facebook's Libra digital currency plan -

NEW YORK (AP) — Visa and Mastercard are dropping out of Facebook's Libra project, a potentially fatal blow to the social network's plan for a worldwide digital currency.

Along with the two payment giants, several other large companies have announced their departures from Libra. Payment processing company Stripe said it was stepping back, as well as online auction company eBay.

42. US stock indexes end mostly higher after late buying burst -

Major U.S. stock indexes closed mostly higher Tuesday, erasing much of an early slide, as investors favored smaller, U.S.-focused companies for the second straight day.

Industrial, energy and health care stocks helped power the market higher. Banks also notched solid gains amid a broad pullback in demand for U.S. government bonds, which pushed yields higher. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note climbed to 1.73% from 1.62% late Monday, a big move.

43. S&P 500 finishes flat; smaller company stocks notch gains -

Major U.S. stock indexes ended mixed Monday as large companies gave up early gains and smaller companies closed broadly higher.

The S&P 500 ended virtually flat as losses in technology and health care stocks outweighed gains in financials and other sectors. The Russell 2000 index of smaller company stocks, which has lagged the S&P 500 this year, outpaced the rest of the market.

44. Facebook's Libra gets stark warning from G-7 finance chiefs -

CHANTILLY, France (AP) — Finance chiefs from the Group of Seven rich democracies issued a stark warning on Thursday that cryptocurrencies like the Libra digital money recently unveiled by Facebook should not be allowed before "serious regulatory and systemic concerns" are addressed.

45. Facebook's currency plan gets hostile reception in Congress -

WASHINGTON (AP) — Under sharp criticism from senators, a Facebook executive on Tuesday defended the social network's ambitious plan to create a digital currency and pledged to work with regulators to achieve a system that protects the privacy of users' data.
"We know we need to take the time to get this right," David Marcus, the Facebook executive leading the project, told the Senate Banking Committee at a hearing.
But that message did little to assure senators. Members of both parties demanded to know why a company with massive market power and a track record of scandals should be trusted with such a far-reaching project, given the potential for fraud, abuse and criminal activity.
"Facebook is dangerous," asserted Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio, the committee's senior Democrat. Like a toddler playing with matches, "Facebook has burned down the house over and over," he told Marcus. "Do you really think people should trust you with their bank accounts and their money?"
Republican Sen. Martha McSally of Arizona said "the core issue here is trust."Users won't be able to opt out of providing their personal data when joining the new digital wallet for Libra, McSally said. "Arizonans will be more likely to be scammed" using the currency, she said. The litany of criticism came as Congress began two days of hearings on the currency planned by Facebook, to be called Libra. Also Tuesday, a House Judiciary subcommittee was extending its bipartisan investigation of the market power of Facebook, Google, Amazon and Apple.
On the defensive from bursts of aggressive questioning, Marcus indicated the currency plan is a work in progress. "We will take the time" to ensure the network won't be open to use by criminals and illicit activity like money laundering and financial fraud. "We hope that we'll avoid conflicts of interest. We have a lot of work to do," Marcus said.
The grilling followed a series of negative comments and warnings about the Libra plan in recent days from President Donald Trump, his treasury secretary and the head of the Federal Reserve.
But some senators emphasized the potential positive benefits of Facebook's plan, meant to bring money transacting at low cost to millions around the globe who don't have bank accounts. Facebook had its strong defenders of the project, too, on the panel.
"To strangle this baby in the crib is wildly premature," said Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa.
In that vein, Marcus said Libra "is about developing a safe, secure and low-cost way for people to move money efficiently around the world. We believe that Libra can make real progress toward building a more inclusive financial infrastructure."
The planned digital currency is to be a blend of multiple currencies, so that its value will fluctuate in any given local currency. Because Libra will be backed by a reserve, and because the group of companies managing it will encourage a competitive system of exchanges, the project leaders say, "anyone with Libra has a high degree of assurance they can sell it for local (sovereign) currency based on an exchange rate."
Promising low fees, the new currency system could open online commerce to millions of people around the world who lack access to bank accounts and make it cheaper to send money across borders. But it also raises concerns over the privacy of users' data and the potential for criminals to use it for money laundering and fraud.
To address privacy concerns, Facebook created a nonprofit oversight association, with dozens of partners including PayPal, Uber, Spotify, Visa and MasterCard, to govern Libra. As one among many in the association, Facebook says it won't have any special rights or privileges. It also created a "digital wallet" subsidiary, Calibra, to work on the technology, separately from its main social media business. While Facebook owns and controls Calibra, it won't see financial data from it, the company says.
Senators demanded to know exactly what that separation will entail.
"Facebook isn't a company; it's a country," said Sen. John Kennedy, R-La. Kennedy and other conservative senators took the occasion to air long-standing grievances against Facebook, Twitter and Google for a perceived bias against conservative views.
Facebook's currency proposal has also faced heavy skepticism from the Trump administration.
Trump tweeted last week that the new currency, Libra, "will have little standing or dependability." Both Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Fed Chair Jerome Powell have expressed serious concerns recently that Libra could be used for illicit activity.
The Treasury Department has "very serious concerns that Libra could be misused by money launderers and terrorist financers," Mnuchin told reporters at the White House on Monday. "This is indeed a national security issue."
Facebook has "a lot of work to do before we get to the point where we're comfortable with it," Mnuchin said.

...

46. Facebook's digital currency might flourish where banks don't -

NEW YORK (AP) — Europeans and Americans have their Visa and Mastercards. For everyone else, here comes ... Libra?

Facebook's new Libra digital currency is aimed at a huge potential market for financial services — the entire developing world, with billions of people in areas such as India and Sub-Saharan Africa, where financial services are often less sophisticated and many people don't use traditional banking accounts.

47. Facebook's currency Libra faces financial, privacy pushback -

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Facebook is getting a taste of the regulatory pushback it will face as it creates a new digital currency with corporate partners.

Just hours after the social media giant unveiled early plans for the Libra cryptocurrency, French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire insisted that only governments can issue sovereign currencies. He said Facebook must ensure that Libra won't hurt consumers or be used for illegal activities.

48. Facebook plans its own currency for 2 billion-plus users -

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Facebook already rules daily communication for more than two billion people around the world. Now it wants its own currency, too.

The social network unveiled an ambitious plan Tuesday to create a new digital currency similar to Bitcoin for global use, one that could drive more e-commerce on its services and boost ads on its platforms.

49. Apple is jumping belatedly into the streaming TV business -

CUPERTINO, California (AP) — Jumping belatedly into a business dominated by Netflix and Amazon, Apple announced its own TV and movie streaming service Monday, enlisting such superstars as Oprah Winfrey, Jennifer Aniston and Steven Spielberg to try to overcome its rivals' head start.

50. Weak holiday sales at department stores catch many off guard -

NEW YORK (AP) — Unemployment hasn't been so low in years, wages are rising, consumer confidence is high and gasoline is cheap, all creating high expectations for department stores this holiday season.

51. No words: Mastercard to drop its name from logo -

NEW YORK (AP) — What's in a name? For MasterCard, not enough to keep it in the logo.

The company is removing the word Mastercard from the pair of interlocking red and yellow circles where it has resided for more than 50 years.

52. A strong economy translates into big holiday sales -

NEW YORK (AP) — Americans buoyed by a strong economy pushed holiday sales growth to a six-year high.

Retail sales rose 5.1 percent between Nov. 1 and Dec. 24 from a year ago, according to Mastercard SpendingPulse, which tracked spending online and in stores across all payment types, including those who paid by cash or check. Total sales topped $850 billion this year, Mastercard said.

53. Wall Street notches best day in 10 years in holiday rebound -

Wall Street notched its best day in 10 years as stocks rallied back Wednesday, giving some post-Christmas hope to a market that has otherwise been battered this December.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped more than 1,000 points — its biggest point-gain ever — rising nearly 5 percent as investors returned from a holiday break. The benchmark S&P 500 index also gained 5 percent and the technology heavy Nasdaq rose 5.8 percent.

54. Stores fighting for Black Friday sales aim for convenience -

NEW YORK (AP) — Retailers are offering much of their Black Friday deals online, but shoppers still showed up at malls and stores around the country looking for discounts — and also to take in the scene.

55. Stock indexes end mixed, but tech companies slide further -

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stock indexes found their footing after a sharp early loss Monday and finished mixed. Technology companies sank for the third day in a row.

Stocks slumped in morning trading following big declines late last week. Some of the largest losses went to technology companies, including payment and credit card companies. Indexes in Europe also dropped as Italy vowed to ramp up spending that will increase its deficit.

56. New Homeland Security center to guard against cyberattacks -

NEW YORK (AP) — The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is creating a center aimed at protecting banks, electric companies and other critical infrastructure against cyberattacks — a threat that now exceeds the danger of a physical attack against the U.S. by a hostile foreign group, Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said Tuesday.

57. Supreme Court rules for American Express in credit card case -

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court handed American Express a win Monday in a lawsuit over rules it imposes on merchants who accept its cards.

Under their contracts, merchants who accept American Express generally can't encourage customers to use other credit cards, even though they charge merchants lower fees. The federal government and a group of states sued over those so-called "anti-steering" provisions, arguing that they violate federal law.

58. Business leaders speak out against child separation policy -

DETROIT (AP) — Business leaders are condemning the Trump administration's decision to separate children from parents who are accused of crossing the border illegally.

The Business Roundtable, a lobbying group that includes the CEOs of Walmart Inc., General Motors Co., Boeing Co. and Mastercard Inc., released a statement Tuesday urging the immediate end to the policy.

59. Group that advises gov't watchdog is disbanded, members say -

NEW YORK (AP) — The head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau dissolved a group of outside experts that acts as an important sounding board for the watchdog agency on economic and financial issues as well as policy.

60. Metova partners with Lightview Capital -

Franklin-based Metova, a provider of mobile, connected car, connected home and IoT solutions, has reached a recapitalization agreement with Lightview Capital, a Summit, New Jersey-based private equity firm.

61. Supreme Court to consider American Express fee dispute -

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court is taking up an appeal by 11 states that argue American Express violated antitrust laws by barring merchants from asking customers to use other credit cards that charge lower fees.

62. US stocks set records as Irma and North Korea worries fade -

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks rallied to record highs Monday as Hurricane Irma weakened without causing as much damage as many had feared, and a North Korean holiday passed without new missile launches. Financial and technology companies lead the way.

63. Insurers lead US stocks modestly lower in early trading -

U.S. stocks edged lower in early trading Thursday, pulled down by insurers and other financial companies as investors weighed the prospects of big losses for the sector from Hurricane Irma. The storm, which hammered the Northern Caribbean, was projected to hit Florida this weekend. Health care and technology companies were among the biggest gainers.

64. Supreme Court won't restore $7.25B swipe fees settlement -

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court will not restore a $7.25 billion settlement between merchants and Visa Inc. and MasterCard Inc. over credit card transaction fees.

65. ‘But this is a $550,000 house!’ No, not if it sells for $450,000 -

My wife stumbled onto a sale at a clothing store over the weekend and found a dress that had been priced at $750 marked down to $150, or something close to that. Don’t hold me to those numbers.

66. PayPal expands its partnership with Mastercard -

NEW YORK (AP) — PayPal and Mastercard signed a deal Tuesday that aims to make it easier for PayPal users to pay with a Mastercard.

The announcement comes after PayPal Holdings Inc. signed a similar deal with credit card issuer Visa Inc. in July.

67. Appeals court nixes $7.25B credit card swipe fee settlement -

NEW YORK (AP) — A $7.25 billion settlement between merchants and Visa Inc. and MasterCard Inc. over credit card transaction fees was rejected Thursday by a federal appeals court, a ruling praised by a retail trade association as a victory for consumers.

68. US stocks jump as Microsoft and other tech stocks rise -

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks soared on the last trading day of January, led by big gains in technology companies after Microsoft turned in a strong quarter.

Visa and MasterCard also joined the rally in technology Friday, and several other companies also surged on strong earnings. Consol Energy jumped along with the price of natural gas.

69. American Express to trim $1 billion in expenses -

NEW YORK (AP) — American Express plans to trim $1 billion in expenses over the next two years as it deals with the impact of the strong dollar and fierce competition for its cardholders.

Its fourth-quarter profit declined 38 percent from a year ago, and its shares dropped 4 percent in after-hours trading.

70. Apple Pay expands as it vies for broader acceptance -

NEW YORK (AP) — Apple's year-old mobile-payments service is expanding to more countries, banks and merchants, as it faces growing competition and some challenges before it becomes as commonplace as plastic cards.

71. Russell Simmons' RushCard creates fund to help customers -

NEW YORK (AP) — RushCard, the pre-paid debit card backed by hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons, will create a "multi-million dollar" fund to help cover the costs that its customers suffered while the card was beset by technical problems earlier this month.

72. Poll shows few in US have received credit cards with chips -

Even as an Oct. 1 deadline approaches to replace Americans' out-of-date credit cards with new cards embedded with computer chips, the vast majority of Americans still have not received their new cards and only a small minority are using the chips at all, a new Associated Press-GfK poll shows.

73. Appeals court revives antitrust lawsuit over ATM fees -

WASHINGTON (AP) — A federal appeals court has revived a lawsuit accusing MasterCard, Visa and three major banks of illegally fixing ATM prices at the expense of consumers.

The federal appeals court in Washington ruled Tuesday that a group of consumers and independent ATM operators could pursue antitrust claims against the companies.

74. Need reason to pay by phone? Apple, Google add new features -

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The tech industry has been saying for years that smartphones would make traditional wallets obsolete. But most people still use cash or plastic when they shop in stores.

That could change later this year when three leading tech companies are promising to give shoppers more reasons to use "digital wallets."

75. After a sluggish start, US stocks finish higher -

NEW YORK (AP) — Investors cheered moves by Google and credit-card companies on Wednesday and sent the stock market to a solid gain. Google helped set off a surge in technology stocks after it unveiled a low-cost wireless phone service.

76. New scoring system aims to help people with poor credit -

NEW YORK (AP) — People struggling with a bad credit score, or lack of one, could benefit from a program rolling out in the next few months aimed at making it easier to get a Visa or MasterCard.

The company behind the widely-used FICO credit score announced Thursday a pilot program to help millions of Americans get easier access to credit, based on their record of paying utility bills, instead of their history of loan repayments.

77. Costco strikes credit card deal with Citi, Visa -

NEW YORK (AP) — Costco says it struck a deal for Citi to be the exclusive issuer of its co-branded credit cards, with Visa replacing American Express as the card network.

The deal is subject to Citi buying the company's co-branded credit card portfolio, Costco said.

78. Netflix brings its streaming video service to Cuba -

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Netflix began selling its Internet video service in Cuba Monday in what appears to be a largely symbolic move driven by the recent loosening of U.S. restrictions on doing business with the communist-run island.

79. Q&A: US government eases Cuba travel restrictions -

NEW YORK (AP) — Americans are one step closer to being able to vacation in Cuba, but don't pack your bathing suit and sunscreen just yet.

A new set of government regulations takes effect Friday, severely loosening travel and trade restrictions that have been in place for 54 years. The rules follow President Barack Obama's announcement last month of a reestablishment of diplomatic relations with the communist island. Only Congress can fully remove the embargo but it is up to the administration to enforce — or turn a blind eye — to the travel ban.

80. Holiday shopping hiccup: US retail sales fell in December -

WASHINGTON (AP) — With the job market on a roll and gas prices falling, consumers are spending away, right?

Not quite. Americans actually cut back last month after ramping up spending in November, perplexing analysts who had expected strong retail sales in December in light of rising job growth and sinking gas prices.

81. US companies eager to embrace Cuba face hurdles -

WASHINGTON (AP) — Cargill aims to sell more corn and soybeans. MasterCard covets another site for Americans to swipe credit cards. Marriott sees beachfront property that needs hotels.

And outside Orlando, Florida, Danny Howell just knows there would be demand for his classic Chevrolet parts.

82. How prepaid cards work and why Feds are watching -

NEW YORK (AP) — Prepaid cards allow users to store and spend their money without tying themselves to a traditional bank. Now regulators want many of the protections that cover bank accounts expanded to this product.

83. US stocks turn higher in afternoon trading -

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks edged higher Thursday as Visa, MasterCard and other big companies turned in stronger quarterly results. The Dow Jones industrial average climbed more than 100 points, thanks largely to Visa, the Dow's highest-priced stock.

84. Apple CEO Tim Cook says Apple Pay a success -

LAGUNA BEACH, Calif. (AP) — Apple CEO Tim Cook said Apple's new mobile payment system had over 1 million activations in the first three days after it became available, and is now more widely used than any competing payment system.

85. Will Apple Pay be the next iRevolution? -

CUPERTINO, Calif. (AP) — Apple's skinnier iPads and flashy big-screen iMac are sleek and stunning. But the tech giant is making a bigger strategic bet with next week's launch of Apple Pay — the mobile pay service aimed at turning your iPhone into your wallet.

86. Could a merger follow the PayPal-eBay split? -

NEW YORK (AP) — PayPal's split from long-time partner eBay Inc. makes Carl Icahn mighty happy. But he doesn't think PayPal should stay single for long.

Icahn, who months ago called on eBay to spin off the lucrative online and mobile payment service, continues to believe that the payments field must be consolidated, either by PayPal buying up smaller rivals or by merging with another major player.

87. Wal-Mart's mobile checking account nixes fees -

NEW YORK (AP) — Wal-Mart is the latest company to get rid of fees that traditional banks charge customers who don't have enough money in their accounts to cover purchases.

The world's largest retailer said Wednesday that it teamed up with Green Dot Corp., a company known for its reloadable prepaid cards, to bring mobile checking accounts to its shoppers. The accounts won't charge overdraft and bounced-check fees.

88. MasterCard loses EU court battle over fees -

BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union's highest court has thrown out an appeal by MasterCard against a decision by the bloc's antitrust authority to scrap some of its fees charged to merchants.

The ruling by the 28-nation bloc's Court of Justice on Thursday closes MasterCard's seven-year-old battle against a decision made by the EU's competition watchdog.

89. Apple pushes digital wallet with Apple Pay -

NEW YORK (AP) — Apple is betting that people want to pay with a tap of the phone rather than a swipe of the card.

The technology company on Tuesday introduced a new digital wallet service called Apple Pay that is integrated with its Passbook credential-storage app and its fingerprint ID security system.

90. Stocks end little changed ahead of earnings rush -

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks are ending little changed as traders wait for key economic and earnings reports later this week.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose less than a point to close at 1,978 on Monday. The Dow Jones industrial average edged up 22 points to 16,982. The Nasdaq fell. The tech-heavy index dropped four points to 4,444.

91. Target CEO Steinhafel out in wake of data breach -

NEW YORK (AP) — Target's massive data breach has now cost the company's CEO his job.

Target announced Monday that Chairman, President and CEO Gregg Steinhafel is out nearly five months after the retailer disclosed the breach, which has hurt its reputation among customers and hammered its business.

92. Stocks are mixed amid earnings, economy reports -

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks were mixed on Thursday as investors assessed the latest round of company earnings, a survey on manufacturing and news on the U.S. job market. Satellite TV company Dish gained on reports that AT&T had approached the company about a merger.

93. Online shopping grows, with some growing pains -

Americans waited until the last minute to buy holiday gifts, but retailers weren't prepared for the spike.

Heavy spending in the final days of the mostly lackluster season sent sales up 3.5 percent between Nov. 1 and Tuesday, according to MasterCard Advisors SpendingPulse, which tracks payments but doesn't give dollar figures.

94. Bitcoin payments take Flyte: Online currency gains a foothold here as popular restaurant, other businesses cash in -

When Flyte World Dining announced it would be add Bitcoin as a payment option, there were two responses: Tech types were intrigued, and everyone else wondered “what’s a Bitcoin?”

Those in the latter group can be forgiven since that very question was among Google’s top searches of 2013.

95. Answers to questions about the Target data breach -

NEW YORK (AP) — With less than a week until Christmas, a real-life Grinch has stolen the credit and debit card information of about 40 million Target shoppers.

Target says anyone who made purchases by swiping cards at terminals in its U.S. stores between Nov. 27 and Dec. 15 may have had their accounts exposed. The stolen data includes customer names, credit and debit card numbers, card expiration dates and the three-digit security codes located on the backs of cards.

96. Answers to questions about the Target data breach -

NEW YORK (AP) — With less than a week until Christmas, a real-life Grinch has stolen the credit and debit card information of about 40 million Target shoppers.

Target says anyone who made purchases by swiping cards at terminals in its U.S. stores between Nov. 27 and Dec. 15 may have had their accounts exposed. The stolen data includes customer names, credit and debit card numbers, card expiration dates and the three-digit security codes located on the backs of cards.

97. Target: 40M card accounts might be breached -

Target says about 40 million credit and debit card accounts may be affected by a data breach that occurred just as the holiday shopping season shifted into high gear.

The chain said customers who made purchases by swiping their cards at terminals in its U.S. stores between Nov. 27 and Dec. 15 may have had their accounts exposed. The stolen data includes customer names, credit and debit card numbers, card expiration dates and the three-digit security codes located on the backs of cards.

98. Stocks slump following disappointing earnings -

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks are falling on Wall Steet as traders react to disappointing earnings from U.S. companies.

Health care stocks had some of the biggest declines. Laboratory Corporation of America slumped after cutting its full-year earnings forecast. Quest Diagnostics, a major competitor, also dropped.

99. Music, gaming industries sounds alarm on piracy -

WASHINGTON (AP) — The music and movie industries are sounding the alarm again on online piracy, saying illegal downloads are on the rise and search engines like Google aren't doing enough to stop them.

100. Is home where the profit is for J.C. Penney? -

NEW YORK (AP) — J.C. Penney is honing in on its home department as part of a bigger plan to turn its stores into mini-malls of sorts.

The struggling department-store chain is unveiling revamped home areas within its stores that feature 20 boutiques that highlight 50 new brands. The areas will include an eclectic mix of items, from $60 Michael Graves' stainless steel teakettles to $1,850 Jonathan Adler "Happy Chic" sofas.