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Five Things We Learned from Team Behind Internet Explorer

Five Things We Learned from Team Behind Internet Explorer

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Microsoft’s Internet Explorer has long been the browser that people love to hate.The team behind the browser participated in a Reddit “Ask Me Anything” where they dished on their desire to change the perception of Internet Explorer.Here are five revelations from the online chat:They Considered Re-BrandingWith sleeker competitors, including Google’s Chrome and Mozilla’s Firefox, the team revealed it had discussed internally whether Internet Explorer should be re-branded.”I remember a particularly long email thread where numerous people were passionately debating it. Plenty of ideas get kicked around about how we can separate ourselves from negative perceptions that no longer reflect our product today,” Jonathan Sampson, an engineer, wrote.In 2012, Microsoft released advertising showing a guy complaining about Internet Explorer but coming to the conclusion that “IE sucks…less.”Let Them Eat CakeThey’re not opposed to a little friendly competition. The Internet Explorer team and Mozilla have sent cakes to one another to celebrate various achievements.The last cake that the Internet Explorer team received was to celebrate the shipping of IE 10.”We started this tradition when we sent them a cake for Firefox 2. It was probably the best damn cake I’ve eaten,” Jacob Rossi, an engineer, said of the marble chocolate vanilla confection.They Can Bust a MoveWell, at least one member of their team can.Rey Bango recently rejoined Microsoft, and a user asked what it was about the developer that attracted the team. Was it perhaps this video of him dancing?

“Clearly, Rey’s stellar dance moves served as huge motivator for us,” the Internet Explorer team wrote. “Thankfully, he’s able to complement them with a good understanding of IE and web development but the primary impetus was to build up our IE dance crew to compete on So You Think You Can Dance.”A follow-up comment added:”In case you were wondering, that was Rey answering that question. The rest of us would prefer not to see him dance.”What They Want People to KnowThey just want you to give Internet Explorer another chance.”I don’t think it’s a matter of selling you on IE as much as ensuring that you’re familiar with the changes that have come to the browser,” Bango wrote. “Many developers still view IE as old IE but when they take the time to actually use it, leverage the features and see the improvements, in many cases they change their perception of the browser.”They Just Want to Be LovedThe team behind Internet Explorer just want their product to be loved — and they believe they’ll get there one day.”It’s okay to love us — the IE we work on is probably not the IE you remember,” Sampson said.
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Monetary Rewards Take Time for These College Degrees

Monetary Rewards Take Time for These College Degrees

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — With the summer coming to a close, many young adults will either be starting or continuing college in hopes of landing a job in their field of study upon graduation.Studies have shown that college grads earn significantly more over the course of a lifetime than people who don’t pursue a degree after high school.However, as pointed out by College Factual, which helps people find the right school, some starting salaries are not exactly going to make grads rich right off the bat, especially if they’re carrying onerous student loans.As something of a public service then, College Factual has listed the 10 lowest paying majors in terms of starting pay, based on the responses from thousands who went into these fields:

Animal Science: $31,100
Social Work: $32,200
Child Development and Psychology: $32,300
Theological and Ministerial Studies: $32,500
Human Development, Family Studies, and Related Services: $32,700
Culinary Arts: $33,000
Radio, Television, and Digital Comm: $33,300
Parks, Recreation and Leisure Studies: $33,500
Education, General: $33,800
Behavioral Science: $33,800

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Nearly All Young Adults Use Internet to Car Shop

Nearly All Young Adults Use Internet to Car Shop

Ingram Publishing/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — The Internet is driving car sales among nearly all people ages 18-34, otherwise known as millennials.According to a report released by AutoTrader.com, a whopping 95 percent of car shoppers in this group go online before they buy, and of this group, 50 percent use their smartphones.Obviously then, says AutoTrader vice president of research Isabelle Helms, auto dealers would be smart to have a strong online presence to attract this car buying demographic.Over a third of millennials say that a lack of a mobile platform will hurt a brand while six in ten believe that a site that is not easy to use is equally as damaging.Meanwhile, AutoTrader predicts that 80 percent of all consumers will use multiple devices to car shop by 2020, compared to just 32 percent now.Interestingly, Helms says that social media has minimal impact on millennials with just five percent using these sites for car shopping.
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J.C. Penney on the Comeback Trail?

J.C. Penney on the Comeback Trail?

iStock Editorial/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — J.C. Penney may have finally turned a corner, thanks to impressive second-quarter sales.It was just last January that the troubled retailer announced it was shuttering 33 under-performing stores in 2014 following losses of $2 billion over the past two years along with taking on $2 billion in debt.However, J. C. Penney said Thursday that sales from April through June were up six percent compared to the same period last year and revenue was up 5.2. percent.CEO Mike Ullman remarked, “Our turnaround initiatives continue to produce improved financial results. We gained additional market share while significantly increasing gross margin in a highly competitive promotional environment.”Naturally, it’s the all-important fourth-quarter, which includes the holiday shopping period that is likely to make or break the store’s chance at long-term survival.J.C. Penney’s previous efforts at stopping its red ink went poorly. An ill-conceived discount three-tier pricing policy confused everyone before it was tossed to the curb. Later, the store revamped its campaign strategy to focus on lifestyle but customers complained they just wanted to know how much products cost.
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Ford Recalling 83,250 Vehicles for Possible Power Loss Problem

Ford Recalling 83,250 Vehicles for Possible Power Loss Problem

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Ford Motor Company is recalling about 83,250 vehicles after reports that an improperly installed part could cause the vehicles to lose power or roll away when parked.The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says that the recall includes Ford Edge, Taurus and Flex vehicles and Lincoln MKX, MKS and MKT vehicles manufactured between 2010 and 2013. The NHTSA says that a halfshaft retention circlip may have been incorrectly installed in those vehicles. Such an issue could cause power to cease being transmitted to the wheels, placing the vehicle at risk of a crash. Vehicles could also roll away when placed in park, unless the parking brake is applied. Ford intends to notify owners, and free repairs are expected to begin by the end of August. It was not clear whether any injuries or accidents have occurred because of this defect.
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Invest Like Warren Buffett? His Stock Just Hit $200,000

Invest Like Warren Buffett? His Stock Just Hit $200,000

Photo by Bill Pugliano/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway stock hit a new milestone on Thursday, closing above $200,000 for the first time ever.Just one share of Berkshire Hathaway Class A stock is now worth $202,850. The stock is already up 14 percent this year, well ahead of the S&P 500, which is up 5.8 percent year-to-date.Berkshire Hathaway stock first hit $1,000 in 1983.It’s no wonder investors pay close attention when Buffett releases his list of holdings each quarter and tells the world exactly what Berkshire Hathaway is buying and selling.What exactly is the Oracle of Omaha doing with his money?What Buffett’s Buying:    -Charter Communications — the newest addition to Berkshire Hathaway’s portfolio    -Chicago Bridge & Iron    -GM    -IBM    -Suncor Energy    -Verizon    -Visa    -WalmartWhat Buffett’s Selling:    -Conoco Phillips    -Phillips66    -DirecTV    -Liberty Media    -Starz
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Coca-Cola Company, Monster Beverages Announce Long-Term Partnership

Coca-Cola Company, Monster Beverages Announce Long-Term Partnership

Photo Courtesy: The Coca-Cola Company(ATLANTA) — The Coca-Cola Company and Monster Beverage Corporation announced on Thursday that the two companies have entered into a long-term partnership that aims to accelerate growth for both companies.As part of the deal, the Coca-Cola Company will purchase a 16.7-percent equity stake in Monster Beverage Corp. for about $2.15 billion and will receive two directors on Monster’s Board of Directors. Coca-Cola will also transfer its existing energy business — including the energy drinks NOS and Full Throttle, among others — to Monster, while Monster transfers its non-energy drinks to Coca-Cola, including Hansen’s Natural Sodas and Hubert’s Lemonade.Coca-Cola hopes to expand distribution of Monster’s products in the U.S. and Canada, while also becoming Monster’s preferred global distribution partner.The deal is expected to be closed in late 2014 or early 2015.Muhtar Kent, chairman and CEO of the Coca-Cola Company, said the partnership “will create compelling and sustainable value for our system and our shareowners.”
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More Gains for Wall Street on Thursday

More Gains for Wall Street on Thursday

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Thursday represented another day of gains for Wall Street, on the back of positive earnings reports from the world’s largest retailer.The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed up 61.78, ending the day at 16713.58.The Nasdaq finished at 4453, up 18.87 from Wednesday’s close, while the S&P 500 gained 8.46 to a close of 1955.18.Walmart reported that it had met earnings estimates for the second quarter on Thursday. Still, the company lowered its annual earnings expectations.
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Twitter Reviews Policies After Harassment of Robin Williams’ Daughter

Twitter Reviews Policies After Harassment of Robin Williams’ Daughter

iStock Editorial/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Del Harvey, vice president of trust and safety at Twitter, said the social media website “will not tolerate abuse of this nature,” referring to the recent cyber-bullying of Robin Williams’ daughter, Zelda Williams.”We have suspended a number of accounts related to this issue for violating our rules and we are in the process of evaluating how we can further improve our policies to better handle tragic situations like this one,” Harvey said in a statement to ABC News. “This includes expanding our policies regarding self-harm and private information, and improving support for family members of deceased users.”In the wake of her father’s death, Zelda Williams, 25, wrote that she was deleting Twitter from her devices.The decision to step away from social media came after at least two users sent Williams harassing messages and disturbing photos, including a Photoshopped image that was purported to be her father’s corpse.”I’m shaking,” Williams tweeted earlier this week before deleting the message. The actress asked her followers to report her alleged tormentors to Twitter.Twitter has a one-click button that takes users to a page where they can fill out a report detailing alleged harassment.
Zelda Williams is the daughter of Robin Williams and his second wife, Marsha Garces.  Robin Williams died Monday of an apparent suicide at the age of 63.
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Kyocera Brigadier: Android Phone Put Through Ultimate Torture Tests

Kyocera Brigadier: Android Phone Put Through Ultimate Torture Tests

ABC NewsBy ABC News’ Alyssa Newcomb(NEW YORK) — When given the chance to test a smartphone that claims to be built for abuse, I jumped at the opportunity.I’ve seen my sleek new smartphone of the moment being scuffed up from spending time in my purse. I’ve dropped phones in the sink, spilled liquids on them and have become a pro at trying to resuscitate them — whether it’s with my hairdryer or by placing them in a jar of dry rice.While many smartphones on the market are about looks and functionality, the maker of the Android-based Kyocera Brigadier is touting its durability. It’s an armored tank among other more attractive, aesthetically pleasing phones.Given my track record of breaking smartphones, I felt pretty confident that if there was ever a person who could inflict some damage on the Brigadier, it would surely be me.The first torture test I put it through was the scratch test.Scratch TestThe 4.5-inch touch screen is built with Kyocera’s Sapphire Shield display, which the company said is second only to diamonds in mineral hardness and is virtually scratch proof. I took a pocket knife to the screen, but wasn’t able to inflict any noticeable damage.Water TestThe Brigadier can stay in up to 6 feet of water for 30 minutes, according to Kyocera. I dropped it in a bucket of water and walked away for half an hour. When I returned, the phone still worked.I placed it in the water and fiddled with a few buttons. It appeared the phone was still operational, even when immersed. Kyocera said the phone is not designed to operate in water and recommends that it be dried as quickly as possible when wet.The Drop TestAdventurist Bear Grylls tested the Brigadier outdoors, but could it survive abuse in a Manhattan office building? I dropped it from various places and, for good measure, even threw it against the wall. It would not break.Can It Still Make Calls?After a series of torture tests, I have decided the Brigadier is like the Terminator of smartphones. It looks durable and virtually indestructible. But what’s a smartphone if you can’t use it? I put it through one final test to see if it could still make calls.

The Brigadier is heavy — weighing in at 6.6 ounces. It runs on Android 4.4 KitKat — however it remained unclear what the future holds for operating system updates.It doesn’t stand out from other smartphones in terms of user experience, however if you’re looking for a crazy tough smartphone, this may be it.
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Cisco to Cut 6,000 Jobs as Part of Restructuring Plan

Cisco to Cut 6,000 Jobs as Part of Restructuring Plan

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(SAN JOSE, Calif.) — Networking equipment giant Cisco says it will cut 6,000 jobs, or 8 percent of its workforce, as part of a major restructuring plan.
The company on Wednesday posted revenue of $12.36 billion in its latest quarter, down from $12.42 billion last year, as it faces increased competition from young and upcoming tech companies.
In a statement, the company maintained its optimism about the road ahead.
“We are executing well in a tough environment,” Cisco CEO John Chambers wrote. “I’m pleased with how we are transforming our company over the past several years, and that journey continues.”
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Walmart Meets Earnings Estimates for Second Quarter

Walmart Meets Earnings Estimates for Second Quarter

Walmart(BENTONVILLE, Ark.) — Walmart on Thursday reported earnings per share of $1.21 in its second quarter, keeping in line with analysts’ estimates.In another bit of good news, the retail giant also announced its total revenue for the quarter ending July 31 was $120.1 billion — a 2.8 percent increase from last year.Walmart, however, lowered its full-year earnings outlook as traffic to its stores fell slightly and comparable store sales remained stagnant.”If you’re Walmart you’re at least temporarily seeing benefits from a strategy that constituted going back to your everyday discounting,” Paul Ballew, chief economist for Dun & Bradstreet, says. “…[B]ut it’s still a tough, tough environment in so many ways.”
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Jobless Claims Climb to 311K

Jobless Claims Climb to 311K

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — Jobless claims were up last week, increasing by 21,000, according to the latest figures released Thursday by the Labor Department.For the week ending Aug. 9, the number of people filing for benefits rose to 311,000. The previous week, claims stood at 290,000.The Labor Department said there were no “special factors” impacting that week’s figures.The four-week moving average also spiked, increasing by 2,000 to 295,750.
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Apple Posts Tribute to Robin Williams, Creates iTunes Store Section of His Work

Apple Posts Tribute to Robin Williams, Creates iTunes Store Section of His Work

ABC/Randy Holmes(NEW YORK) — Apple posted a tribute to Robin Williams on Wednesday, posting a statement to the company website and creating a new section in the iTunes Store called “Remembering Robin Williams.””We are deeply saddened by the passing of Robin Williams,” the company statement reads. “He inspired us through his passion, his generosity, and the gift of laughter. He will be greatly missed.”Within the iTunes Store, the “Remembering Robin Williams” section compiled a number of the late comedian’s movies, stand-up acts and television shows. A description of the section notes that Williams won an Oscar, an Emmy and a Grammy, in addition to his “mile-a-minute comic energy” and his stature as a “generous philanthropist.”
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Ice Bucket Challenge Has Raised Over $5.5 Million to Fight ALS in Two Weeks

Ice Bucket Challenge Has Raised Over $5.5 Million to Fight ALS in Two Weeks

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — In just two weeks, the Ice Bucket Challenge has raised more than $5.5 million dollars to battle ALS.The ALS Association says that it, along with its 38 chapters, have received $5.7 million in donations since July 29. That figure far surpasses the $1.2 million during the same two-week time period last year. Donations have come from both existing donors and nearly 107,000 new donors.The ALS Association says that only about half of the general public is knowledgeable about ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease. According to Barbara Newhouse, president and CEO of the ALS Association, the monetary donations have been “incredible,” but “the visibility that this disease is getting as a result of the challenge is truly invaluable.”
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Markets Rebound from Tuesday Losses Despite Disappointing Retail Sales

Markets Rebound from Tuesday Losses Despite Disappointing Retail Sales

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — The stock market rallied on Wednesday, more than making up for Tuesday’s losses.The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at 16,651.80, up 91.26 from Tuesday’s finish.The Nasdaq gained 44.88, closing at 4,434.13, while the S&P 500 jumped 12.97 to a finish of 1,946.72.Those gains came despite news from the Commerce Department that U.S. retail sales fell in July. According to the latest data, much of the drop in retail sales can be attributed to diminished auto sales.
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Hotel’s Latest High-Tech Employee Is ‘Botlr,’ a Robot Butler

Hotel’s Latest High-Tech Employee Is ‘Botlr,’ a Robot Butler

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — The next time you check into an Aloft hotel and order room service, don’t be surprised if it’s delivered by a robot.The hotel chain, part of the Starwood brand and with more than 100 properties worldwide, introduced its newest “employee” Tuesday.
A.L.O. is “dressed” in a custom shrink-wrapped, vinyl-collared uniform and name tag. The best part? A.L.O. works for tweets, not tips.The robot is the brand’s first “Botlr,” or robotic butler, and Aloft claims it’s “the first major hotel brand to hire a robot for both front- and back-of-house duties.”
The Botlr will be on call to assist the Aloft employees in delivering amenities to guest rooms or help the front desk in busy times. The Botlr, the hotel said, will free up employee time while enhancing tech offerings.Here’s an example: A guest calls the front desk for an item (a newspaper, a towel, a can of soda, etc.) and an Aloft associate places it inside Botlr and programs the room number. Botlr then navigates the hotel lobby, elevator banks, and makes its way to the guest’s room. Botlr places a call to the room as soon as it arrives outside. The guest opens his or her door, follows the prompts from Botlr’s touch screen interface, takes the item and the transaction is complete.Brian McGuinness, Global Brand Leader, Starwood’s Specialty Select Brands, said A.L.O. “has the work ethic of Wall-E, the humor of Rosie from The Jetsons and reminds me of my favorite childhood robot, R2-D2.”A.L.O. “officially reports for duty” on Aug. 20 at Aloft Cupertino in California, with several new Botlrs to join in the upcoming months. #MeetBotlr will document guest feedback and experiences with the robot.
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IRS Warns Taxpayers About Phone Scams Again

IRS Warns Taxpayers About Phone Scams Again

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — The Internal Revenue Service reiterated its warning about phone scams to taxpayers on Wednesday.The agency says the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration has, to date, identified more than 1,000 victims who have lost about $5 million from these types of scams.”There are clear warning signs about these scams, which continue at high levels throughout the nation,” IRS Commissioner John Koskinen said in a statement. “Taxpayers should remember their first contact with the IRS will not be a call from out of the blue, but through official correspondence sent through the mail.””A big red flag for these scams are angry, threatening calls from people who say they are from the IRS and urging immediate payment,” Koskinen continued. “This is not how we operate. People should hang up immediately and contact TIGTA or the IRS.”
For more tips on how to avoid falling victim to one of these scams, click here.
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Are Hydrogen Cars a Threat to Electric Cars?

Are Hydrogen Cars a Threat to Electric Cars?

Sean Gallup/Getty Images(SACRAMENTO, Calif.) — California’s $46.6 million bet on hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles is testing the theory, “if you build it, they will come.”Automakers are only just starting to bring fuel cell cars to the market and most are beta test cars, according to Chris White, communications director for the California Fuel Cell Partnership in Sacramento. There are about 300 fuel cell cars and buses on the road in the state today, according to that organization.Teresa Schilling, a spokeswoman for the California Energy Commission, explained that as part of Gov. Jerry Brown’s goal of putting 1.5 million zero-emission cars on the road by 2025, the state needs to have in place the appropriate fueling and charging infrastructure. That’s why three weeks ago, the commission approved $50 million in construction projects for these stations: $46.6 million in grants for 28 hydrogen refueling stations and one mobile refueler; plus $2.8 million for 175 electric vehicle charger stations.”The goal is to invest early on and encourage auto makers to produce the vehicles,” Schilling told ABC News. “They knew that if the infrastructure is there, consumers will buy it, which spurs private investment in refueling stations.”Derek Joyce, a spokesman for Hyundai, applauds the investment. Hyundai is one of the handful of car makers introducing hydrogen-powered cars. Last November, Hyundai announced leasing plans for its Tucson Fuel Cell vehicle for $499 a month for a 36-month term and $2,999 down. And, the deal comes with unlimited free fuel.
The car became available this spring at several Southern California Hyundai dealers. The lease price includes maintenance, because Joyce said the technology is too new for mechanics on the street just yet.Hyundai boasts of the longer range of hydrogen cars (265 miles vs. 100 miles for mainstream, or cheaper, electric cars) and the quicker refueling time. Joyce said the refueling process is very similar to that of a gas car: 5-10 minutes vs. several hours or more for an electric car, he said. Plus, there’s an “infinite” supply of hydrogen, Joyce adds.”There’s a reason why Hyundai, Honda, Toyota and Mercedes Benz are investing in hydrogen vehicles,” Joyce said. “There’s tremendous potential for the future. But with any alternative fuel, there’s the chicken and egg question.”That is, consumers might be wary of not being able to power their cars. It’s a fear that the electric car market is overcoming with public support like that of the $50 million California investment.In comparison to the small number of hydrogen cars on the road, the number of electric vehicles in the state, not including hybrid cars, are expected to cross the 100,000 threshold this quarter, according to the Center for Sustainable Energy. That’s compared to 30,000 on Jan. 1, 2013.
In the entire country, the number of electric vehicles on the road now is about 240,000, compared to 70,000 in January of last year.Karl Brauer, senior analyst at Kelley Blue Book, said hydrogen fuel cells are much more expensive and less viable than pure electric cars right now, and they will remain that way for the “foreseeable future.””We’ve been hearing that the fuel cell car is only 10 years away for the last 15 years,” Brauer told ABC News. “As challenging as it is to build a viable, cost-effective electric car, it remains far more challenging to develop a realistic business case for fuel cell cars. Tesla has another decade, at least, to refine its electric car production before it will face any real competition from fuel cells.”Joyce doesn’t compare the Hyundai Tucson to Tesla’s electric Model S, which starts at $70,000, due to its higher price.Tesla has invested in over 160 “Supercharger” stations across North America, Europe and China, which allow Model S owners to travel for free between cities.Tesla claims that the Tesla Supercharger “is substantially more powerful than any charging technology to date, providing up to 135 kilowatts of power and replenishing half a charge in 20 minutes,” according to a spokesperson.Supercharger stations are strategically placed to allow owners to drive from station to station with minimal stops. They are located near amenities like roadside diners, cafes and shopping centers so road trippers can stop for a quick meal and have their Model S charged by the time they’re done, the spokesperson said.
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Retail Sales Fall Flat in July

Retail Sales Fall Flat in July

Purestock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — U.S. retail sales fell flat last month, amounting to the weakest reading for retailers since the beginning of the year, the Commerce Department reported on Wednesday.Yahoo! Finance’s Rick Newman said car sales were part of the problem.”Auto sales fell back and that’s with some fairly steep discounts. Automakers have been increasing their discounts to keep the cars moving and they’ve also been ramping up lending, including sub-prime lending. Even with that, we’ve seen a fall back in auto sales,” he said.Newer, lower paying jobs also played a role in the dismal report, according to Newman.”The catch that you don’t really notice in those job numbers is that a lot of the jobs that are coming back pay a lot less than the jobs we lost in the recession. Families just don’t have as much disposable income as they used to,” he explained.Newman said the weak reading could be a concern. “We’re getting in to the back to school season; very important for retailers, that’s an important sign of how healthy consumers are and the signs are not great,” he added.
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