Review Category : Business

Used Car Prices Fall After Several Years of Rises

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Are you in the market for a new car? Now may be a good time to buy used.

Used car prices are falling and expected to go even lower after years on the rise.

What should you remember when you’re shopping for a car and looking to save money?

“It’s a great idea to buy a certified pre-owned vehicle because you really know what you’re getting,” Tamara Warren, senior transportation editor at the Verge, told ABC News.

Because of low gas prices, many Americans are buying larger vehicles like SUVS and pick-up trucks. Warren added that small cars are a “good deal” right now since “dealers have an excess of them on their lots.”

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Main Street Electrical Parade Returns to Disneyland After 21 Years

Scott Brinegar/Disneyland(ANAHEIM, Calif.) — The Main Street Electrical Parade returned to Disneyland Jan. 20 for the first time since 1996.

Although the parade has been around since 1972, and versions of it have been at other Disney parks, this is the first time it’s returned to its original park in Southern California in 21 years, according to a press release from Disney.

The floats and performers are adorned with 600,000 lights as the parade journeys down Main Street.

Seven films are portrayed in the performance, including Alice in Wonderland, Cinderella, Peter Pan, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Pinocchio, Dumbo and Pete’s Dragon, according to the press release.

The parade, which takes place at night, has been held at four other Disney parks, including Walt Disney World Magic Kingdom Park, Disney California Adventure Park, Tokyo Disneyland and Disneyland Paris.

The parade is set to run through June 18.

Disney is the parent company of ABC News.

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US Stocks Close Mixed on Earnings, GDP

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — U.S. stocks closed mixed on Friday as investors weighed quarterly earnings reports and fourth-quarter gross domestic product (GDP) results.

The Dow gave up 7.13 (-0.04 percent) to finish at 20,093.78.

The Nasdaq jumped 5.61 (+0.10 percent) to close at 5,660.78, while the S&P 500 finished at 2,294.69, down 1.99 (-0.09 percent) from its open.

Crude oil prices hit $53 a barrel, down about 1 percent.

GDP: According to the Department of Commerce, the GDP increased at an annual rate of 1.9 percent in quarter four, lower than the 3.5 percent growth spurt in the third-quarter. From 2015 to 2016, real GDP increased 1.6 percent, compared to a 2.6 percent increase in the previous year, the Department of Commerce said.

Winners and Losers:
Shares in Starbucks Corporation sunk 4 percent after the coffeehouse giant in its first-quarter report downgraded its full-year revenue forecast from growth in the double digits to 8-10 percent.

Better-than-expected quarterly results from Microsoft Corp. sent shares soaring over 2 percent.

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Company That Sent Woman Home for Not Wearing Heels Broke the Law, UK Parliament

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — When Nicola Thorp was sent home from work, without pay, allegedly for not wearing shoes with a heel with a minimum of two inches in height, she said she decided to fight back, getting many of the women of the United Kingdom behind her and ultimately changing a dress code she felt was discriminatory.

“I had the choice of either, ‘Will I get paid for a day’s work [and] let go of my principles, or stick to it?’ And I’m really glad now that I did,” Thorp, 28, of London, told ABC News of her job as a receptionist at global accounting firm, PwC, which had hired Thorp through an outsourcing firm called Portico.

After she says Portico promptly sent her home in December 2015 for not wearing heels, she said she resolved not to remain silent about the matter. Outraged, Thorp started a petition, and six months later, was calling on lawmakers to prevent companies from demanding women wear heels at work.

“I looked into it [and] found out it was, in fact, a gray area in British law that my employer was sort of acting within their rights, arguably,” Thorp said. “So, I Googled, ‘How do I change the law?’”

Professional women sounded off on Twitter in support of Thorp’s mission, defiantly posting pictures of themselves wearing flats. Her petition for a law ensuring no company could mandate that women wear heels to work gained more than 150,000 signatures, spurring a review by two parliamentary committees.

And now, her hard work has paid off.

The parliamentary committees concluded that Portico, the outsourcing firm that gave Thorp the high heel ultimatum, had broken the law.

On Jan. 10, the committees came out with a report stating the existing rules have not been applied properly and discriminatory dress codes remain widespread. They suggested that the government review the existing rules, and employers who do not abide by them should face penalties.

As of now, no laws have been changed. In March, the committees will hold a hearing to address next steps to amend the existing laws to more clearly state the specific dress code guidelines.

Portico announced on Wednesday it has rewritten its code and dropped the two- to four-inch heel requirement, among others.

“We fully support the recommendations within the report and welcome the debate in Parliament in March,” Simon Pratt, managing director of Portico, said in a statement, responding to the Petitions Committee and Women and Equalities Committee report, issued Wednesday. “Portico has always been committed to being an inclusive and equal opportunities employer so when this issue was raised last year we immediately updated our uniform guidance.”

Portico “provides front of house reception services to companies in the U.K. such as PwC,” PwC explained in a comment to ABC News. “The dress code in question was Portico’s and the supervisor who sent Ms. Thorp home worked for Portico.”

“We’re very sorry that the incident … took place under our roof,” PwC added. “We took immediate action to review the policies of all our suppliers, to ensure that they made them fair and inclusive. PwC itself has a longstanding flexible dress code in place and we want the policies of our suppliers to reflect our own.”

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Fundraising Campaign Helps 110-Year-Old Vet Stay in His Home

Courtesy Volma Overton Jr.(AUSTIN, Texas) — Richard Overton, believed to be the nation’s oldest living World War II veteran, would see it as a “death sentence” if he was forced to leave his beloved Austin, Texas, home, according to his relative, Volma Overton Jr.

The prospect of Richard Overton, 110, being moved to an assisted living facility prompted Volma Overton Jr., the veteran’s third cousin, to start a GoFundMe campaign to raise money for around-the-clock in-home care.

“We all knew that if you move Richard out of his home, he’d die,” said Overton Jr. “That home is everything for him.”

The fundraising campaign has raised $117,000 since its launch last December, enough money to keep Overton in his home of around 70 years for another seven months.

“His front porch is a special place,” Volma Overton, 68, told ABC News. “He always sits there and waves to people and everyone just comes by and talks to him.”

It was the idea of Volma Overton’s 26-year-old daughter, Sarah, a graphic designer, to start a GoFundMe campaign. The family was unsure of what to do when Overton’s caretaker experienced aging issues of her own and was no longer able to care for him.

The closest heir to Overton, who was twice married but has no children of his own, is a 95-year-old cousin who lives a few doors down. Volma Overton is now Overton’s primary family caretaker, stopping by every day to check on him.

“His mind is really pretty sharp,” he said. “We just sit there and listen to him talk and just listening to him talk is something that’s really, really special.”

Volma Overton’s wife, Shirley Overton, described Overton as of sound mind still and “very witty.”

“We wanted him to be able to stay where he knows and loves,” she said. “He still walks and talks and does everything. He’s so much fun to be around.”

After his military service, Overton, who turns 111 in May, worked for a furniture company and then worked for the state of Texas at the capitol in Austin, according to Volma Overton.

“He knew many dignitaries,” he said. “He worked for the treasurer of the state at one time and would drive a golf cart to the bank to deposit millions of dollars in checks.”

Volma Overton said the family has been blown away by the response to the GoFundMe campaign, which raised $50,000 in just the first two days after its launch.

Volma Overton said he has used the money to hire a in-home senior care provider to provide 24-7 support. He estimates one year of coverage will cost around $180,000.

Overton continues to have no major medical issues and still enjoys the daily cigars and shot of whiskey that he attributes, in part, to his longevity, according to Volma Overton.

“He knows it’s a gift of God,” he said of Overton’s outlook on his life.

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Heinz Ketchup Wants to Give You a Day Off After the Super Bowl

Heinz(WASHINGTON) — Kraft-Heinz, the makers of Heinz Tomato Ketchup, have launched a campaign to declare the Monday after the Super Bowl a national holiday. The company is so committed to the idea, they’re giving their employees the day off.

Kraft-Heinz have started an online petition at, called “Make the Monday after the ‘Big Game’ a National Holiday!” The company believes the day after the Superbowl is depressing and results in staff call-outs, low productivity and financial losses of around one billion dollars. And the ketchup makers want to change that.

A statement with the petition says the company wants to make Monday, “more like Sunday. Make it a SMUNDAY and have more Sunday on your Monday.” They’ve shared a video featuring actors dressed in their signature squeezable ketchup bottles and make a compelling argument for their case.

When Kraft-Heinz reaches their goal of 100,000 signatures, they say the petition will be delivered to the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate.

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How One CEO Is Trying to Fix the Nation’s Skills Gap

ABC News(NEW YORK) — In 2016, the U.S. economy added 2.2 million jobs and closed the year with an unemployment rate of 4.7 percent — the lowest in a decade.

Right now, there are over five million available jobs in the U.S and 7.5 million unemployed Americans. So what’s going on?

“This is what they call the skills gap,” according to Jake Schwartz, CEO of General Assembly.

Schwartz co-founded General Assembly, an online education and private school, to offer short, immersive courses on highly desirable skills like computer programming and data science in 2011. Today, there are 25 campuses in six countries, and while it’s not an accredited institution, it has been approved by California’s Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education.

“The skills that businesses need change very frequently and the reality is…if you went to school once in your life between the ages of 18 and 22 then stopped, it is very unlikely that you’re going to keep up with the skills that are required into your late 20s and early 30s and beyond,” Schwartz said during an interview on “Real Biz with Rebecca Jarvis.”

General Assembly offers courses that teach skills like web and mobile development, data analytics and data science. It also provide graduates with a network of over 2,500 hiring partners to make the job search a little easier.

While Schwartz still believes a four-year college degree is necessary to develop critical thinking, he argues that “that’s not the same thing as knowing how to build a web application, or deal with large data sets.”

“We’re always looking for what’s in demand, what are companies looking for, and how can we get people the skills needed to get their foot in the door in that job?” Schwartz said.

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Facebook Changing Rules for Its Trending Topics

Facebook(NEW YORK) — Just because all your friends are talking about it, doesn’t make it true.

That’s the concept behind tweaks Facebook is making to its algorithm to make sure trending topics aren’t lies.

To weed out fake news and make sure real news gets through, Facebook is inserting genuine news stories from established media outlets.

The social network also plans to stop pulling in trending topics from a single source to prevent falsehoods from going viral, and will no longer personalize lists based on users’ interests. Instead, everyone will get the same topics.

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Designer of Melania Trump’s Inauguration Gown Shocked by ‘Consequences’

SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Hervé Pierre had no idea “what the consequences would be” after he accepted the job to design one of first lady Melania Trump’s inauguration ball gowns, he says, explaining that things got crazy shortly after last week’s festivities in Washington, D.C.

“Immediately, my phone went completely ballistic with interview requests. I had investors and bankers in Dubai calling, people opened fake Instagram accounts under my name. Even Target called to say, ‘We are so excited you are doing a line for us.’ I’m like, ‘Well I had no idea I was doing one,'” he told Harper’s Bazaar.

He added, “The attention is something I’m not used to.”

This isn’t Pierre’s first time working with a first lady, but the first time he has done it solo, under his name, and not under the label of Carolina Herrera, among others, for whom he used to work as creative director.

“When you work under the shadow of an established brand, you feel that you are protected. I felt comfortable on the big boat at Balmain, de la Renta,” he said of the fashion houses. “I felt secure.”

While designers like Sophie Theallet said they would not dress Melania Trump, and Rachel Zoe said “I don’t know,” Pierre said, “That’s the good thing about this country. We are all equal, but we are definitely not the same. I’m not doing politics, I’m doing dresses. … If people don’t want to dress her, I think it’s sad.”

Pierre added that working with Melania Trump, 46, went well and that the former model knew exactly what she wanted when it came to the particulars.

“She was very specific about the neckline, about all the lines being parallel. … Her next four years as first lady are going to be, like this gown, straight to the point,” he said.

He also said he appreciated her directness.

“Hervé, I love you,” he said she told him during one fitting, “but I cannot move my arm to hold my husband’s arm when we dance.”

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Unemployment Insurance Claims Were Higher Last Week

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — Jobless claims climbed higher last week, increasing by 22,000, according to the latest figures released Thursday by the Labor Department.

For the week ending Jan. 21, the number of people filing for benefits jumped from a revised level of 237,000 the previous week to 259,000.

The Labor Department said there were no “special factors” impacting that week’s figures.

The four-week moving average, however, decreased by 2,000 to 245,500, marking the “lowest level for this average since November 3, 1973 when it was 244,000, the Labor Department says.

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