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Business/Economy

  • Black Friday Deals Draw Shoppers
  • Udall endorses 'Small Business Saturday'

    Wednesday, U.S. Senator Tom Udall issued the following statement announcing his cosponsorship of a resolution to designate Nov. 30, 2013, as “Small Business Saturday” and to increase awareness of the importance of locally owned small businesses.
    On Saturday, Udall will visit Albuquerque small businesses to talk to owners and shoppers about the important role small business plays in our economy.
    “Small businesses have been the economic foundation of communities across America since our nation’s beginning, and they remain a driving force behind our economy. Small businesses in New Mexico are almost 96 percent of our state’s employers, and employ over half of our private-sector workforce.
    As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, I’m working hard to implement policies that create opportunities for small businesses to grow, get access to capital and hire new workers.

  • Americans kicked off a holiday shopping marathon

    Holiday shopping this year is a marathon, not a sprint.

    More than a dozen major retailers from Wal-Mart to Target to Toys R Us opened on Thanksgiving Day and planned to stay open through Black Friday, the traditional start to the holiday shopping season. As a result, crowds formed early and often throughout the two days.

    The holiday shopping season is transforming right before shoppers' eyes. For nearly a decade, Black Friday, which was initially named that because it was historically when retailers turned a profit for the year, had been the official start to the busy buying binge sandwiched between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

    But in the past few years, retailers have pushed opening times into Thanksgiving night. Some like Macy's and J.C. Penney opened on Thanksgiving for the first time this year. Others like Gap Inc., which owns Banana Republic, Gap and Old Navy, opened some of its stores earlier on Thanksgiving than the year before. And many pushed up the discounting that used to be reserved for Black Friday into early November.

    A Kmart store in midtown Manhattan in New York City was packed with people shopping for clothing and holiday decor items. The discounter opened at 6 a.m. on Thanksgiving and planned to stay open for 41 hours straight. Clothing was marked down from 30 percent to 50 percent.

  • Financial advisor shows how money, happiness go hand in hand

    Managing money, planning retirement and making wise financial decisions can be a difficult process. Donna Skeels Cygan is a financial advisor that helps clients all over the state.

    Her new book “The Joy of Financial Security,” aims to continue educating her clients about handling money. The focus of the book explains how to determine human capital — the ability to earn money, track net worth, monitor savings and spending and the basics of estate planning. Skeels Cygan offers tools and strategies to make people understand where they are and how to move to where they want to be. “The key is to find a healthy balance with money and happiness,” Skeels Cygan said.

    Skeels Cygan started her financial planning firm in 1998 in Albuquerque. She sold the business in 2007 and decided to get out of the “rat race” and focus on other priorities, such as family obligations. After the financial collapse in 2008, she was contacted by former clients who wanted her to make a return to financial advising. In 2010, she started Sage Future Financial, a small firm in Albuquerque. She currently works with 40 clients throughout the U.S., including three in Los Alamos. “I want to get the word out to people about financial advising more than the firm can reach,” she said of her book.

  • Floral shop still a growing pursuit

    Searching for a gift at the last minute? Want custom flowers for a special event? Looking for a new piece for the garden? CeCe’s Garden in White Rock has items that may just fit the bill.

    Located at 126 Longview Drive, it is nestled in what was a bustling shopping center. Businesses have come and gone, but this flower shop still thrives in the community after 28 years in business.

    Christie Kelly has owned the family run shop for 11 years. The staff of four consists herself, her husband Mickey — who does deliveries, daughter Tiffany — who helps with arrangements and orders, a son that is away at college in Albuquerque, and the shop cat, Jaspar, who overlooks the store.

    The flower arrangements are custom-made for each customer’s needs. “We have many returning clients in the community and they know what they want,” Kelly said.

    She helps the customer’s find flowers that will fit the venue. “I make sure the color schemes match the venue, so the arrangements stand out.” Kelly creates her own floral designs for each particular event.

    CeCe’s Garden takes online orders at the website, CeCes.net. Kelly said she constantly is sending flowers to other states, and recently overseas to soldiers in Afghanistan. Kelly also takes phone orders.

  • Stocks hit round-number milestones, then slip

    NEW YORK (AP) — The stock market broke through two milestones Monday before giving up nearly all its gains late in the day.

    Stocks rose from the opening bell, lifting the Dow Jones industrial average above 16,000 for the first time and the Standard & Poor's 500 index past 1,800, two big markers in a historic bull market. But by the end of day, both indexes had fallen below those levels.

    "The market is always a little hesitant when it gets to round numbers," says Ed Cowart, managing director at Eagle Asset Management. "You don't want to be the first guy buying at 16,000 on the Dow."

    The Dow managed to eke out a gain over Friday's close with a late push higher, ending just 24 points shy of 16,000. Both the Dow and the S&P 500 are on track for their best year in a decade and have soared more than 140 percent since bottoming out in the Great Recession more than four years ago.

    Investors have pushed stocks up sharply this year as the U.S. economy improves, companies report record profits and the Federal Reserve keeps up its easy-money policies.

  • Dow Crosses 16,000 Level for First Time

    Stock market indexes are hitting new milestones on Wall Street. The Dow Jones industrial average crossed 16,000 points for the first time early Monday and the Standard & Poor's 500 index crossed 1,800 points.

  • Prairies vanish in the US push for green energy

    ROSCOE, S.D. (AP) — Robert Malsam nearly went broke in the 1980s when corn was cheap. So now that prices are high and he can finally make a profit, he's not about to apologize for ripping up prairieland to plant corn.

    Across the Dakotas and Nebraska, more than 1 million acres of the Great Plains are giving way to corn fields as farmers transform the wild expanse that once served as the backdrop for American pioneers.

    This expansion of the Corn Belt is fueled in part by America's green energy policy, which requires oil companies to blend billions of gallons of corn ethanol into their gasoline. Ethanol has become the No. 1 use for corn in America, helping keep prices high.

    "It's not hard to do the math there as to what's profitable to have," Malsam said. "I think an ethanol plant is a farmer's friend."

    What the green-energy program has made profitable, however, is far from green. A policy intended to reduce global warming is encouraging a farming practice that actually could worsen it.

  • All day shopping frenzy on Thanksgiving?

    NEW YORK (AP) — Last Thanksgiving Day, Kimberly Mudge Via's mother, sister and nieces left in the middle of their meals to head for the mall.

    Now, Via says she'll never host Thanksgiving dinner for her relatives again.

    "They barely finished," says the 28-year-old who lives in Boone, N.C. "They thanked me and left their plates on the counter."

    That scene could become more common in homes across the country. Black Friday shopping, the annual rite of passage on the day after Thanksgiving, continues to creep further into the holiday as more stores open their doors a day early.

    It's a break with tradition. Black Friday, which typically is the year's biggest shopping day, for a decade has been considered the official start to the busy holiday buying season. Stores open in the wee hours of the morning with special deals called doorbusters and stay open late into the evening. Meanwhile, Thanksgiving and Christmas remained the only two days a year that stores were closed.

  • The secret, dirty cost of Obama's green power push

    CORYDON, Iowa (AP) — The hills of southern Iowa bear the scars of America's push for green energy: The brown gashes where rain has washed away the soil. The polluted streams that dump fertilizer into the water supply.

    Even the cemetery that disappeared like an apparition into a cornfield.

    It wasn't supposed to be this way.

    With the Iowa political caucuses on the horizon in 2007, presidential candidate Barack Obama made homegrown corn a centerpiece of his plan to slow global warming. And when President George W. Bush signed a law that year requiring oil companies to add billions of gallons of ethanol to their gasoline each year, Bush predicted it would make the country "stronger, cleaner and more secure."

    But the ethanol era has proven far more damaging to the environment than politicians promised and much worse than the government admits today.

    As farmers rushed to find new places to plant corn, they wiped out millions of acres of conservation land, destroyed habitat and polluted water supplies, an Associated Press investigation found.

    Five million acres of land set aside for conservation — more than Yellowstone, Everglades and Yosemite National Parks combined — have vanished on Obama's watch.