Business Highlights

Published on NewsOK Modified: September 18, 2014 at 5:13 pm •  Published: September 18, 2014
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Alibaba prices IPO at $68 per share

NEW YORK (AP) — Alibaba, the Chinese e-commerce powerhouse named after a fabled, poor woodsman who discovers a thieves' den full of treasures, is ready to strike it rich on the New York Stock Exchange.

The company priced its initial public offering of stock at $68 per share on Thursday, the top end of the expected price range, according to IPO investment adviser Renaissance Capital. The stock is expected to start trading Friday under the ticker "BABA" on the NYSE. The IPO values Alibaba at $167.62 billion. That's bigger than the current market value of Amazon, Cisco, and eBay.

The company has enjoyed a surge in U.S. popularity over the past two weeks as investors met with executives, including its colorful founder Jack Ma. The main reason investors appear breathless about the 15-year old Alibaba: It offers an investment vehicle that taps into China's burgeoning middle class.

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Home Depot says malware affected 56M payment cards

The Home Depot estimates that a cyberattack earlier this year affected 56 million unique payment cards.

The Atlanta-based home improvement retailer said Thursday it has eliminated the malware behind the attacks that took place between April and September.

It said it has also completed a "major" payment security project that provides enhanced encryption of customers' payment data in the company's U.S. stores.

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Ellison gives up Oracle CEO role, becomes chairman

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison is ending his 37-year reign as CEO of the business software maker that he co-founded and is handing over the job to his two top lieutenants, Safra Catz and Mark Hurd.

As part of the changing-of-the-guard announced Thursday, Ellison will become Oracle Corp.'s chairman and chief technology officer. Jeff Henley, the company's chairman for the past decade, becomes vice chairman.

Ellison, 70, is likely to continue to play an influential role at Oracle, given his leadership position on the board and his stature as the company's largest individual shareholder.

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Brighter economy driving up holiday hiring plans

NEW YORK (AP) — UPS will hire up to 95,000. Kohl's plans to take on 67,000 and FedEx 50,000. Wal-Mart will add 60,000.

One after the other, a flurry of major U.S. retail and transportation companies announced sharp increases this week in the number of temporary workers they plan to hire for the holiday season. Collectively, such hiring could reach its highest point this year for stores since 1999, when the economy was roaring and the Great Recession was still eight years away.

Credit the combination of a strengthening economy and optimism about consumer spending. Stores have determined that they'll need more temporary help for the holiday season, which accounts for 20 percent of the retail industry's annual sales.

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Stock gains lift US household wealth to a record

WASHINGTON (AP) — Strong stock market gains and higher home prices boosted Americans' net worth in the April-June quarter to a record high, a trend that could encourage more spending.

U.S. households also took on the most new debt in five years, driven mostly by student and auto loans. More borrowing can be a sign of confidence, although greater student debt can pose a burden for younger households.

The Federal Reserve said Thursday that household wealth rose 1.7 percent in the second quarter to $81.5 trillion. Americans' stock and mutual fund portfolios gained $1 trillion. The value of their homes increased $230 billion.

Greater wealth can make people feel more financially secure and encourage them to spend more. This "wealth effect" could boost the economy, although analysts note that it may not produce as much benefit as it did before the Great Recession.

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