Dow now at 12,810, up 47 points.
NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks are jumping as the Federal Reserve
chairman spells out ways that the central bank might act to
stimulate the economy if the threat of deflation, or falling
prices, comes back.
Bernanke’s remarks were far from an actual promise for more
economic stimulus, but markets reacted immediately nonetheless. The
Dow Jones industrial average nearly doubled its morning gains in
ten minutes, and the dollar and U.S. government bond prices fell as
investors shed lower-risk assets.
The Standard & Poor’s 500 rose 15 points, or 1.1 percent, to
1,329 in midday trading Wednesday. The Dow rose 133 points, or 1.1
percent, to 12,580. The Nasdaq composite rose 39, or 1.4 percent,
In testimony before congress, Bernanke outlined options the Fed
would consider if the economy does not improve.
A reader asked why the Wal-Mart in East Bremerton never was
expanded after the chain announced in late 2008 it would build a
40,000-square-foot addition devoted mostly to groceries.
Soon after that initial story, I didn’t see any expansion being
built. I called company representatives, who said there’d been a
change of course in planning, and the addition no longer was
Since then, I haven’t heard anything to the contrary.
Remember late last summer when 34 workers at the Coca-Cola
distribution center on Auto Center Way went on strike? They had
joined 500 other Coca-Cola workers in Western Washington, angry, in
part, because they said that the company was asking them to
contribute more for their health-care plans.
It turns out that the workers did get a new five-year contract
last May, one that was “not good,” but “not horrible,” according to
Mike Rodenbucher of Teamsters Local 589.
Here’s the link to one of the stories:
Today at $3.80 per gallon of unleaded. Here’s some from a wire
story about oil prices.
NEW YORK (AP) — The latest readings on Chinese inflation and
renewed worries about European debt are pushing oil lower.
Benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude fell $1.44 to $94.75 per
barrel Monday morning on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent
crude, which is used to price many international oil varieties,
dropped $2.41 to $115.92 per barrel on the ICE Futures exchange in
Oil started falling early in electronic trading after a weekend
announcement that inflation in China hit a three-year high in June.
China has been raising interest rates in an attempt to control
inflation and cool off its economy, but on Saturday the government
said consumer prices continued to rise, jumping 6.4 percent last
Rising consumer prices will heap even more pressure on the
country’s burgeoning economy, and that could affect energy demand.
Oil has been rising all year on the expectation that China would
drive world oil demand.
Meanwhile, European officials disagreed over a second bailout
package for Greece. Uncertainty about the country’s debt problems
raised concerns that the economic crisis could spread to Italy and
“You combine the debt crisis in Europe with those (Greece)
austerity measures, and you get less spending and therefore less
demand” for oil, analyst Andrew Lipow said.
The dollar shot up against other currencies in morning trading, and
that also weighed on oil futures. Oil is traded in dollars and
tends to fall as the dollar strengthens and makes crude barrels
more expensive for investors holding foreign money.
This report makes for interesting reading. As you know,
Bremerton and Bainbridge Island have local B&O taxes. The
upcoming Legislature will consider the recommendation in this new
report from the Department of Revenue, and a revamp of the way the
B&O is collected could be in effect as soon as 2012, says a
spokesman from the Department of Revenue. The following is a recent
news release from Revenue.
OLYMPIA – June 29, 2011 – Centralizing the collection of state
and local business and occupation taxes is a key recommendation of
a Tax Simplification Report sent to Governor Chris Gregoire
The report stems from the Governor’s October 2010 executive
order directing the Department of Revenue to examine ways to reduce
the complexity of state and local tax systems.
The Department based the report on a series of meetings with
small businesses, local governments, tax experts, and other
Currently, the Department administers the state business and
occupation (B&O) tax and at least 39 cities administer their
own local B&O taxes.
Businesses expressed strong interest in consolidating the
administration of state and local business taxes so they only have
to file one return instead of dozens, often with differing
definitions and requirements.
Revenue Director Suzan DelBene said small businesses struggle to
understand which state and local agencies they must deal with as
they navigate a complex maze of tax reporting requirements.
“By centralizing administration of tax reporting, Washington can
relieve a significant burden for small business owners, freeing
them to get back to the work of running their businesses,” DelBene
The full report is available at
OLYMPIA — Taxable retail sales increased 1.5 percent to $23
billion during the first quarter of 2011 over year-earlier results,
the Department of Revenue has reported.
Retail trade increased 4.2 percent to $10.7 billion compared to the
first quarter of 2010. Retail trade is a subset of all taxable
retail sales that includes retailers but excludes other industries
such as services and construction.
Among major industries, the construction sector was down 9.8
percent to $3.2 billion, but sales by new and used car dealers
jumped 11.9 percent to $1.9 billion. Accommodations and food
services rose 4.6 percent to $2.6 billion, while building
materials, garden equipment and supplies sales dropped 8.6 percent
to $842 million. Despite positive numbers in most retail sectors,
sales by general merchandise stores dropped 0.3 percent to $2.2