Rising riches: 1 in 5 in US reaches affluence
WASHINGTON (AP) — Fully 20 percent of U.S. adults become rich for parts of their lives, wielding extensive influence over America's economy and politics, according to new survey data.
These "new rich," made up largely of older professionals, working married couples and more educated singles, are becoming politically influential, and economists say their capacity to spend is key to the U.S. economic recovery. But their rise is also a sign of the nation's continuing economic polarization.
They extend well beyond the wealthiest 1 percent, a traditional group of super-rich millionaires and billionaires with long-held family assets. The new rich have household income of $250,000 or more at some point during their working lives, putting them — if sometimes temporarily — in the top 2 percent of earners.
Tech giants call for controls on gov't snooping
LONDON (AP) — Major technology companies, stung by poor publicity for having helped the U.S. government access personal data, on Monday issued an open letter to President Barack Obama asking for tighter controls on surveillance.
As part of a global campaign to reform data collection, Google, Facebook, Apple and others said that concerns over national security should be weighed against individual rights.
The letter follows this summer's revelations by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden, who leaked details of the secret programs that critics argue violate privacy rights. Intelligence officials argue that the NSA's tactics have helped to disrupt terror attacks and that they've taken care not to routinely look at the content of conversations or messages by American citizens.
New American Airlines emerges as deal closes
FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — American Airlines emerged from bankruptcy protection and US Airways culminated its long pursuit of a merger partner as the two completed their deal Monday to create the world's biggest airline.
It's the latest in a series of mergers that will leave four airlines controlling more than 80 percent of the U.S. air-travel market. With less competition, the airlines have successfully limited the number of seats, boosting prices and returning to profitability.
AP Exclusive: Accusations dog Russian copter deal
WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. military officials insisted a top-secret Pentagon study proved the need to buy Russian helicopters for Afghanistan's security forces. But the study actually recommended an American-made rotorcraft, according to unclassified excerpts obtained by The Associated Press.
The excerpts show the U.S. Army's workhorse Chinook, built by Boeing Co. in Pennsylvania, was "the most cost-effective single platform type fleet for the Afghan Air Force over a 20-year" period.
The finding has triggered allegations the Defense Department misled members of Congress and improperly cut U.S. companies out of competing for a contract that has swelled to more than $1 billion.
Survey: Fed economic stimulus will end in 2014
NEW YORK (AP) — The vast majority of business economists believe the Federal Reserve will begin to pull back on its massive economic stimulus program in the first three months of 2014, according to a November survey done by the National Association of Business Economists.
The survey also showed a majority of economists believe the United States' economic recovery will accelerate next year.
NABE surveyed 51 economists between Nov. 8 and Nov. 19 and found that 62 percent of respondents believe the Fed will pull back on its bond-buying program in the first quarter of 2014. Another 30 percent believe the Fed will begin to reduce its bond buying in the second quarter of 2014.
Combined, nine out of 10 economists believe the Fed's stimulus program will wind down next year, after being place in its current form since December 2012.
Sysco to buy US Foods for about $3.5B
HOUSTON (AP) — One of the largest food supply companies is buying one of its key rivals, creating an even larger, global distribution company.
Sysco is buying privately held US Foods for about $3.5 billion in cash and stock. When the deal closes, Sysco expects the addition of US Foods to boost its annual sales by about 46 percent to around $65 billion.
Sysco shares rose almost 10 percent Monday and hit their highest point in decades.
Houston's Sysco will pay $3 billion in common stock and $500 million in cash. It will also assume or refinance about $4.7 billion in debt. That puts the total value of the deal at about $8.2 billion.
By The Associated Press=
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 5.33 points, less than 0.1 percent, to close at 16,025.53. The Nasdaq composite increased 6.23 points, or 0.2 percent, to 4,068.75. The S&P 500 index climbed 3.28 points, or 0.2 percent, to 1,808.37.
Benchmark U.S. crude for January delivery slipped 31 cents to $97.34 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Wholesale gasoline rose lost 1 cent to $2.67 a gallon. Heating oil lost 4 cents to $3.01 a gallon. Brent crude, a benchmark for international oils, dropped $2.22 at $109.39 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange in London.