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The Apple logo is pictured on the front of the company's flagship retail store near signs for the central subway project in San Francisco, CaliforniaBy Edwin Chan SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Apple Inc has approved another $30 billion in share buybacks till the end of 2015 and authorized a rarely seen seven-for-one stock split, addressing calls to share more of its cash hoard while broadening the stock's appeal to individual investors. Activist investor Carl Icahn, who had famously called on the iPhone maker to boost its buyback program, tweeted his approval of the move on Wednesday. On Wednesday, Apple reported sales of 43.7 million iPhones in the quarter ended March, far outpacing the roughly 38 million that Wall Street had predicted. But whether Apple can again produce a revolutionary new product remains the central question in investors' and Silicon Valley executives' minds.


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The facade of the U.S. Federal Reserve building is reflected on wet marble during the early morning hours in WashingtonBy Jonathan Spicer and Emily Stephenson NEW YORK/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A former lawyer with the American Bankers Association is being considered by the White House as a possible nominee to the board of the Federal Reserve, according to sources familiar with the efforts The lawyer's name emerged as the White House weighs candidates with community banking backgrounds to fill gaps on the Federal Reserve's powerful but depleted board, the sources said. People familiar with the White House's process said administration officials may fill one of the remaining openings with someone with banking experience, as opposed to an economist. Two sources said the administration is considering Diana Preston, a lawyer who recently left a post at the American Bankers Association, which represents many small banks.


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New home is being built next to a home with a for sale sign on a street in Vienna, on the morning the National Association of Realtors issues its Pending Home Sales for February report, in VirginiaBy Lucia Mutikani WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Sales of new U.S. single-family homes tumbled to their lowest level in eight months in March, dashing hopes for a quick turnaround for a sector that fell into a soft patch last summer.


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A smartphone user shows the Facebook application on his phone in Zenica, in this photo illustrationBy Alexei Oreskovic SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Facebook Inc's mobile advertising business accelerated in the first three months of the year, helping the Internet social networking company top Wall Street's financial targets. Shares of Facebook were up nearly 3 percent at $63.05 in after-hours trading on Wednesday. Facebook said that mobile ads represented 59 percent of its ad revenue in the first quarter, up from 30 percent in the year-ago period. Facebook's overall revenue grew 72 percent year-on-year to $2.5 billion in the first quarter, above the $2.36 billion expected by analysts polled by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. "They've got the right products for what advertisers are looking for and that's manifesting itself in the results you're seeing," said JMP Securities analyst Ronald Josey.


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Investor Warren Buffett poses for a portrait during an interview after a luncheon to benefit the Glide Foundation of San Francisco in New YorkWarren Buffett, the chairman of Berkshire Hathaway , said on Wednesday the company's BNSF railroad unit probably will not need to expand its rail car purchases as a result of delays in the Keystone pipeline construction. In addition, he said that the rail industry as a whole remains concerned about safety after a recent string of accidents. "It's true that the world is going to need an improved tank car," the iconic investor said in an interview with Reuters. How to transport oil by rail safety is "all" the industry is thinking about, he said Among the worries he cited was the potential for cyber attacks at Berkshire companies, particularly those with large physical facilities such as BNSF and utility operations.


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Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock ExchangeBy Chuck Mikolajczak NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. stocks dipped on Wednesday to snap a six-session winning streak as gains in Boeing and Gilead were offset by slides in AT&T and the wider biotech sector. AT&T Inc fell 3.8 percent to $34.92 a day after the Dow component reported earnings that beat expectations, offset by weak service revenue growth. Verizon Communications shed 1 percent to $47.43 while the S&P telecom sector index dropped 2.2 percent, easily making it the session's worst-performing sector. Biotech shares pulled the Nasdaq lower.


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To match Special Report SEC/INVESTIGATIONSBy Sarah N. Lynch WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A coalition of liberals and conservatives is lashing out at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission for pushing back against legislation that would force government agencies to get warrants before they access the email of people under investigation. The group, Digital 4th, on Wednesday launched www.notwithoutawarrant.com, a website urging the public to lobby the White House to support sweeping changes to federal privacy laws proposed in Congress in 2013. In a conference call with reporters, the group singled out the SEC for stalling the reforms. It also called on President Barack Obama to respond to a petition with more than 100,000 signatures in support of the bill, saying the SEC's opposition has caused the White House to ignore a groundswell of support.


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The headquarters of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission are seen in WashingtonBy Emily Flitter and Sarah N. Lynch NEW YORK/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A former accounting manager for Nvidia Corp has settled with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission over allegations he leaked non-public information about the chipmaker that allowed a group of Wall Street analysts to make millions through illegal trades, the SEC announced on Wednesday. The SEC said Chris Choi of San Jose, California will pay $30,000 to settle civil charges that he shared confidential tips with a friend who passed them on to a circle of hedge fund employees. The Wall Street circle that benefited from Choi's tips included two former portfolio managers, Todd Newman and Anthony Chiasson, whose insider trading convictions are being examined by a federal appeals court. Another one of the portfolio managers who eventually received information leaked from Choi was former SAC Capital employee Michael Steinberg, who was convicted in December on criminal charges related to insider trading.


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A man holding his mobile phone walks past the logo of Softbank Corp at its branch in TokyoBy Yoshiyasu Shida TOKYO (Reuters) - For Japanese billionaire Masayoshi Son, who wants to build the world's largest mobile Internet company, criticism of his operations from regulators in his home market could not come at a worse time. The feisty entrepreneur is lobbying skeptical Washington officials to let him buy a second U.S. mobile operator, saying he would help to break up a cozy U.S. wireless oligopoly. So it must be galling to hear regulators in Tokyo chide his SoftBank Corp , along with NTT DoCoMo , Japan's mobile industry leader, and No.2 KDDI Corp , for lack of competition in the domestic smartphone market. His ministry is preparing long-term proposals to bring lower prices and faster services, including fostering growth of mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs), cut-rate providers that lease network access from the big carriers.


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A Qualcomm sign is seen at one of Qualcomm's numerous buildings located on its San Diego CampusBy Noel Randewich SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Qualcomm Inc on Wednesday posted its smallest quarterly revenue increase since 2010 as it wrestles with a smartphone market that is losing steam and shifting to China, sending its shares lower. With expansion in the smartphone industry moving away from wealthy markets such as the United States and toward China and other developing countries, where consumers favor less expensive devices, Qualcomm's once-impressive revenue growth is tapering off and it is focusing on costs to preserve its profitability. It was far lower than the quarterly growth rates of over 20 percent that Qualcomm investors until recently have been accustomed to. Less growth than expected in recent months in China, where China Mobile is preparing to launch a new, faster network with 4G, or LTE, technology, hurt Qualcomm's results in the quarter, Chief Executive Steve Mollenkopf told Reuters.


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FILE - In this Dec. 23, 2013 file photo, a woman using a phone walks past Apple's logo near its retail outlet in Beijing. Apple reports quarterly earnings on Wednesday, April 23, 2014. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan, File)SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Apple is diverting more of its cash to shareholders and preparing to split its stock for the first time in nine years in an attempt to win back investors fretting about the iPhone maker's slowing growth and pace of innovation.


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FILE - This Tuesday, July 16, 2013 file photo shows a sign at Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif. Facebook reports quarterly earnings on Wednesday, April 23, 2014. (AP Photo/Ben Margot, File)NEW YORK (AP) — Facebook's earnings nearly tripled and revenue grew sharply in the first quarter, surpassing Wall Street's expectations thanks to an 82 percent increase in advertising revenue.


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A user of Russia’s leading social network internet site VKontakte, poses holding an iPhone showing the account page of Pavel Durov, the former CEO and founder of VKontakte, in Red Square in Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, April 23, 2014. The network’s founder, Pavel Durov, described as Russia’s Mark Zuckerberg (founder of Facebook), left his post as CEO on Tuesday April 22, 2014, and is reported to have left Russia, one week after he posted online what he said were documents from the security services demanding personal details from 39 Ukraine-linked groups on VKontakte.(AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)MOSCOW (AP) — The founder of Russia's leading social media network — a wunderkind often described as Russia's Mark Zuckerberg — has left his post as CEO and fled the country as cronies of President Vladimir Putin have made steady inroads into the company's ownership.


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Trader Gregory Rowe, left, and specialist Frank Masiello work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange Wednesday, April 23, 2014. The stock market slipped Wednesday after rallying for six straight days as investors worked through another round of quarterly earnings reports from U.S. companies. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks edged mostly lower Wednesday, breaking a six-day winning streak, as investors were disappointed by the latest round of earnings from U.S. companies.


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In this Thursday, April 10, 2014 photo, Dominion Resources Inc. nuclear power station plant manager, Roy Simmons talks about his participation in a wellness program at the plant in Surry, Va. Dominion started offering a $400 premium credit a couple of years ago for employees who agreed to have a health assessment. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)That little voice nagging you to put down the cake and lace up the running shoes is increasingly coming from your employer and is likely to grow louder with a looming change under the federal health care overhaul.


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This undated photo provided by Harvard Press shows French economist Thomas Piketty. In his new book, Piketty, who helped popularize the notion of a privileged 1 percent, sounds a grim warning: The U.S. economy is beginning to decay into the aristocratic Europe of the 19th century. (AP Photo/Harvard Press, Emmanuelle Marchadour)NEW YORK (AP) — In a new book, Thomas Piketty, the French economist who helped popularize the notion of a privileged 1 percent, sounds a grim warning: The U.S. economy has begun to decay into the pattern of aristocratic Europe of the 19th century. Hard work will matter less, inherited wealth more. The fortunes of the few will unsettle the foundations of democracy.


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FILE - In this file photo, originally released by HBO in 2007, Edie Falco portrays Carmela Soprano and James Gandolfini is Tony Soprano in a scene from one of the last episodes of the hit HBO dramatic series "The Sopranos." Amazon is teaming up with HBO, the first such streaming arrangement agreed to by the cable network, in a deal that will make available to Amazon Prime members some classic TV like "The Sopranos" and "The Wire." (AP Photo/HBO, Craig Blankenhorn, File)NEW YORK (AP) — Fans of classic HBO shows like "The Sopranos" and "The Wire" will soon have access to those series and more through Amazon Prime in the first online streaming deal signed by the cable network.


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FILE - In this May 6, 2013, file photo, Berkshire Hathaway CEO and Chairman Warren Buffett speaks during an interview in Omaha, Neb. Buffett says he disapproves of Coca-Cola’s highly contested pay plan for its executives. Buffett, the beverage maker’s largest shareholder, called the plan “excessive” in an interview on CNBC after it was approved at the company’s annual meeting. But he said Berkshire Hathaway abstained from voting against the pay plan because he didn’t want to express disapproval of the company’s management. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik, File)NEW YORK (AP) — Warren Buffett says he disapproves of Coca-Cola's highly contested pay plan for its executives.


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In this photo made on Friday, March 28, 2014, construction continues on a housing plan in Zelienople, Pa. The Commerce Department releases new home sales for March on Wednesday, April 23, 2014. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)WASHINGTON (AP) — The number of Americans buying new homes plummeted in March to the slowest pace in eight months, a sign that real estate's spring buying season is off to a weak start.


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FILE - This June 18, 2013 file photo shows a line of Boeing 787 Dreamliners waiting to be delivered on a closed runway at Paine Field near Boeing's Everett, Wash. assembly plant. Boeing reports quarterly earnings on Wednesday, April 23, 2014. (AP Photo/seattlepi.com, Joshua Trujillo, File)Boeing's increased rate of commercial jet manufacturing is starting to pay off for shareholders.


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As I know all too well, managing group activities can be difficult. Of course, in crisis there is opportunity. These days, nearly 7 million people around the world use TeamSnap to manage sports and other activities, is hitting its stride. The company raised a $7.5 million venture capital round led by the Foundry Group at the beginning of the year. It's no understatement to claim that it is becoming a must-use app for everyone involved in youth sports: "Before TeamSnap, did kids ever make it to their soccer games?" Earlier this week, I sat down with Dave DuPont, CEO of TeamSnap, to findRead the Rest of This Story
This week, I released a collection of new recordings on Amazon. While my six-song EP is unlikely to set any sales records, it's one of my biggest personal achievements -- on par with starting my own company.Read the Rest of This Story

Building a Successful BrandElton is on top of his game and proves that you really can have it all, on and off the court. Read along and find out what it takes to reach entrepreneurial success and achieve all around greatness.


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In most industries, the lowest cost player makes money selling large quantities of product or service at a low price with great discipline. The differentiated player makes money selling smaller quantities of product or service at a relatively high price fueled by value-creating innovation. Those in the middle lose. This note provides a look at the five keys to BRAVE Innovation, a cross between the ideas in Peter Skarzynski and David Crosswhite's The Innovator's Field Guide, with my own BRAVE leadership framework. ...Read the Rest of This Story

All Reputation Management Tools Are Not Created EqualAn over-reliance on a familiar tool is a concept made famous by American psychologist Abraham Maslow who in 1966 said: "I suppose it is tempting, if the only tool you have is a hammer, to treat everything as if it were a nail." Recently, I worked on two interesting yet vastly different online reputation problems, and the experiences affirmed to me that even though online reputation management issues are diverse, "hammers" are very popular. The first involved a company that was fighting a disparaging and defamatory online forum posting. ...


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8 Simple Steps to Acquiring a Small BusinessHaving bought a number of small companies and frankly having sold my companies to bigger companies a number of times, I have found the following eight steps to be essential in this process.


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Corporations and governments proclaim that design and innovation, are the twin engines for future progress, especially within the Creative Economy. Nothing new here, - since innovation has fueled the explosive development of the last two hundred years. However, most are still unclear on exactly what innovation entails. ...Read the Rest of This Story

Macy's, the Gap, Walmart: Does Customer Service Really Matter?Does customer service really matter? It seems like an obvious question to answer, but, given the results of a consumer survey by the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ASCI), "conventional wisdom" may be wrong on this one. From a consumer PR perspective, and by examining consumer buying habits, a large majority of people, based on their practices care more about other aspects of their shopping experience than customer service. Here are five companies which the survey said had bad customer service -- and why they still manage to clean up at the cash register: 1. ...


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Why Marketing and Sales Are Inseparable?Your content marketing will attract customers seeking to solve the problems you are best at solving. When that happens, your sales efforts will be about determining if you can help, not convincing them of your talents.


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The Bond Market Disagrees With The Fed: So What's New About That?Bond traders seem to have seen Steve Martin's The Man With Two Brains so often they have forgotten it was a comedy. And these are the folks the equity markets are supposed to pay attention to?


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Judith Rodin: Director of the DayJudith Rodin is president of The Rockefeller Foundation, which held $3.7 billion in assets as of its 2012 annual report. That year, the foundation distributed $130 million in grants and charitable activities while taking in a net investment income of $283 million.


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Mandy Edwards is the owner of ME Marketing Services, a social media marketing company that provides consulting, management and coaching to businesses in the United States and Canada. A graduate of the University of Georgia's Terry College of Business, Mandy has 12+ years of sales & marketing experience. Mandy is a founding board member of the online social media organization, the Social Solutions Collective.Read the Rest of This Story

9 Tools for Engineering GrowthAs technology continues to evolve, so does the way users interact with it, making new and innovative user acquisition strategies necessary as well. Growth engineering requires equal parts marketing, technology and creativity, which is why the best toolboxes are as diverse as they are ever-changing.


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Demystifying Credit ScoresOne of the few positive outcomes of the 2008 financial crisis was that it helped shine a light on the importance of understanding and staying on top of your credit profile. Along with that heightened visibility, however, has come a great deal of confusion and misunderstanding -- particularly around the all-important credit score. "The consequences of not maintaining a sound credit score can be very costly," says Anthony Sprauve, senior consumer credit specialist at FICO.


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Russian President Vladimir Putin said he doesn't think the European community can do without the natural gas it gets from energy monopoly Gazprom. With a Russian economy starting to decline, however, it may be Gazprom that's too strongly interconnected to the European market to break free.Read the Rest of This Story

What's Wrong With Silicon Valley's No-Poach Rule?What's revealed in these arrangements is striking: a belief that, once you've hired someone, you have bought the power to control their future when they work for you -- even after they've quit. In other words, you own them.


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The One Chart That Explains Our Grim Economic FutureIf you're looking for somebody to blame for rising inequality, blame babies. A drop-off in population growth is a big reason why global economic growth is going to slow down in the decades ahead, French economist Thomas Piketty points out in his new book, Capital in the 21st Century. The top-selling book on Amazon.com is getting a lot of attention for its predictions of soaring wealth concentration and inequality and its call for a massive global tax on the wealthy.


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Growing Discount Airlines Learn The Hard Way You Can't Leave Workers BehindJetBlue and Southwest Airlines are starting to look less like innovative upstarts -- complete with low fares and unusual perks -- and more like their stodgy competitors. As they age, they may have less room to treat workers well, and employees are starting to respond. JetBlue’s pilots voted to unionize Tuesday, ending the airline’s status as the biggest U.S. carrier without organized labor groups. ...


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For decades large companies have gone shopping in Silicon Valley for startups. Lately the pressure of continuous disruption has forced them to step up the pace. More often than not the results of these acquisitions are disappointing. What can companies learn from others' failed efforts to integrate startups into large companies? The answer - there are two types of integration strategies, and they depend on where the startup is in its lifecycle. ...Read the Rest of This Story

Beyond Jeremy Rifkin: How Will the Phase Transition to a Commons Economy Actually Occur?In the future, the economy and society will re-orient itself around collaborative commons, with a more peripheric role for the market dynamics.


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