A year after IPO, Facebook aims to be ad colossus
NEW YORK (AP) — It was supposed to be our IPO, the people's public offering.
Facebook, the brainchild of a young CEO who sauntered into Wall Street meetings in a hoodie, was going to be bigger than Amazon, bigger than McDonald's, bigger than Coca-Cola. And it was all made possible by our friendships, photos and family ties.
Then came the IPO, and it flopped. Facebook's stock finished its first day of trading just 23 cents higher than its $38 IPO price. It hasn't been that high since.
Even amid the hype and excitement surrounding Facebook's May 18 stock market debut a year ago, there were looming doubts. Investors wondered whether the social network could increase advertising revenue without alienating users, especially those using smartphones and tablet computers.
Despite its disappointing stock market performance, the company has delivered strong financial results. Net income increased 7 percent to $219 million in the most recent quarter, compared with the previous year, and revenue was up 38 percent to $1.46 billion.
The world's biggest online social network has also kept growing to 1.1 billion users. Some 665 million people check in every day to share photos, comment on news articles and play games. Millions of people around the world who don't own a computer use Facebook, in Malawi, Malaysia and Martinique.
Falling yen to make Japan's goods more affordable
Attention, bargain-hunters around the world: Japanese goods — from cars to televisions — are going on sale.
Credit Japan's drive to pump cash into its economy to stimulate growth. The extra money flooding its financial system is helping shrink the value of the yen. A U.S. dollar now buys about 100 yen. Last fall, it bought fewer than 80.
When the yen's value falls, many Japanese goods become less expensive worldwide. Toyotas become cheaper in Germany, the United States and South Korea. So do Sony electronics. For tourists, Tokyo doesn't cost so much to visit.
By contrast, goods made in Europe, Asia and the United States become pricier compared with Japanese products. And as sales of Japanese products grow, Japan's economy benefits.
GM stock rises above $33 for first time in 2 years
DETROIT (AP) — Shares of General Motors reached an important milestone on Friday, closing above their initial public offering price of $33 for the first time in more than two years.
GM shares reached $33.77 Friday before slipping back to close at $33.42, up 3.2 percent. The auto giant sold shares to the public for $33 in a November 2010 IPO, but they've traded below that price since May 4, 2011.
GM's business is getting stronger. Two weeks ago, GM reported solid first-quarter earnings on robust sales in North America. On Friday, there were signs sales declines may have bottomed in Europe — where GM has lost money for more than a dozen years.
Record Powerball jackpot inspires office pools
In workplaces across the nation, Americans are inviting their colleagues to chip in $2 for a Powerball ticket and a shared daydream.
The office lottery pool is a way to improve your odds and have a little fun with co-workers. And besides, who wants to be the only person at work the next day when everyone quits?
With $600 million on the line, this is the time to play. It's the largest-ever Powerball jackpot and the second-largest world jackpot of all time. And it could get even bigger before Saturday's drawing.
But it's important to be careful. Workplace pools that yield big jackpots sometimes result in lawsuits, broken friendships and delayed payouts.
Top officials call to overhaul euro institutions
BERLIN (AP) — Engineering a financial bailout for Cyprus in March was such a chaotic process that top European officials say it is time to rethink how the region manages its crisis — and who should be involved.
Officials say the International Monetary Fund, which has contributed financial expertise and billions in emergency loans, may no longer be needed as a key decision-making partner. And they say that the eurozone would be able to make decisions and take action more quickly if it wasn't bound by the need for unanimous agreement among its 17 member countries.
These concerns have been raised before by analysts and government officials outside of Europe, but now two of the region's leading financial decision-makers have said publicly that something needs to be done. Olli Rehn, the top economic official at the European Commission — the European Union's executive arm — and Joerg Asmussen, who sits on the European Central Bank's six-member executive board, said at a hearing last week that the easing of the financial crisis presents an opportunity to fix what is broken.
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