In Brief

WASHINGTON

Vehicle recall count in 2010
is highest in U.S. since 2004

Automakers recalled about 20 million vehicles in 2010, led by high-profile recalls by Toyota that prompted new scrutiny of the auto industry’s safety record.

The number of recalls this year was the largest in the United States since 2004, an analysis of federal data by The Associated Press shows. The auto industry set a record with 30.8 million recalled vehicles that year.

Toyota Motor Corp. recalled about 7.1 million vehicles in 2010 to fix faulty gasoline pedals, floor mats that could trap accelerators, defective braking and stalling engines. The safety woes by the world’s No. 1 automaker brought more attention to auto safety from government regulators and the public, which filed more than 64,000 complaints with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, nearly double the number in a typical year.

NEW YORK

Stocks climb, stay on pace for best December in 20 years

Stocks finished higher Wednesday as the market continued on pace for its best December in nearly 20 years.

The Standard and Poor’s 500 stock index, the market measure used by most professional investors, has gained 6.7 percent this month. If it closes Friday at this level or higher, it will be the best December return for the index since 1991.

Strong corporate profits have helped push stocks higher for much of 2010.

“The primary theme of 2010 was that corporate profits were much better than expected,” said Philip Dow, director of equity strategy at RBC Wealth Management in Minneapolis. “As we enter into 2011, my hope and belief is that we move from recovery to expansion and a self-sustaining economy.”

Stocks rose across the market, with eight of the 10 industry groups in the S&P index posting gains.

NEW YORK

As East Coast digs out of blizzard, energy prices drop

Energy prices fell Wednesday while the East Coast continued to dig itself out of Monday’s blizzard and a cold snap swept across other parts of the country.

Heating oil, natural gas and other energy commodities usually get costlier as the weather chills. But analysts said most traders already have locked in their energy contracts for the year, and those still buying are looking ahead to 2011.

Benchmark oil for February delivery gave up 37 cents to settle at $91.12 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Oil jumped above $90 per barrel this month, setting two-year highs as investors anticipated rising demand in 2011. Prices have held above that level all week.

The rise in oil pushed gasoline prices higher, too. The national average added 1.2 cents overnight at $3.061 per gallon, according to AAA, Wright Express and Oil Price Information Service. A gallon of regular is 20.4 cents higher than it was a month ago and 45.3 cents more than it was last year at this time.

SAN FRANCISCO

Groupon files to raise as much as $950 million in stock sale

Groupon Inc., the Chicago-based online coupon site that spurned a $6 billion offer from Google this month, has filed to raise as much as $950 million from the sale of preferred shares.

The company amended its certificate of incorporation, allowing it to issue about 30.1 million shares of Series G preferred stock at a price of $31.59 a share, a Dec. 17 filing with the state of Delaware shows. The financing would value Groupon at as much as $7.8 billion, exceeding Google’s offer, reports VCExperts, a website offering data and analysis for venture capitalists and private equity investors.

Groupon Chief Executive Officer Andrew Mason said in a Twitter message Tuesday that Groupon was completing a new round of financing.

Julie Mossler, a spokeswoman for the company, declined comment Wednesday.

NEW YORK

Woman who told managers of unannounced profits arrested

A California woman who tipped off two portfolio managers about the unannounced earnings of technology companies is the latest person arrested in a federal crackdown on consultants and others who specialize in feeding inside information to hedge funds, federal authorities announced Wednesday.

Winifred Jiau, 43, was ordered detained until a Monday bail hearing in federal court in San Francisco. She had been arrested Tuesday at her Fremont, Calif., home. Her lawyer, Josh Cohen, did not return a message for comment.

Jiau was charged with securities fraud and conspiracy to commit securities fraud for accepting more than $200,000 over a two-year period from an expert networking firm that promises to provide “institutional money managers and analysts with market intelligence” through a “Global Advisory Team of Experts,” a statement from U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said.

Although the firm’s name was not in court papers, the same language had been used after previous arrests to refer to Primary Global Research, a Mountain View, Calif.-based firm that advertised consulting services to investors on industry trends, issues and regulations.

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Business
Nevada's venture capital money doesn't stay in state
Zach Miles, associate vice president for economic development for UNLV, said there’s venture money in Southern Nevada, “but trying to find the right groups to tap into for that money is different.” According to a 2017 report from the Kauffman Foundation, Las Vegas ranked number 34 out of 40 metropolitan areas for growth entrepreneurship, a metric of how much startups grow. With a lack of growing startups in Las Vegas, investment money is being sent outside of state borders. The southwest region of the U.S. received $386 million in funding in the second quarter, with about $25.2 million in Nevada. The San Francisco area alone received about $5.6 billion. (source: CB Insights)
Neon wraps can light up the night for advertising
Vinyl wrap company 5150 Wraps talks about neon wraps, a new technology that the company believes can boost advertising at night. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Nevada on the forefront of drone safety
Dr. Chris Walach, senior director of Nevada Institute for Autonomous Systems, talks to a reporter at NIAS's new Nevada Drone Center for Excellence of Public Safety, located inside the Switch Innevation Center in Las Vegas. K.M. Cannon Las Vegas Review-Journal @KMCannonPhoto
Motel 8 on south Strip will become site of hotel-casino
Israeli hoteliers Asher Gabay and Benny Zerah bought Motel 8 on the south Strip for $7.4 million, records show. They plan to bulldoze the property and build a hotel-casino. Motel 8 was built in the 1960s and used to be one of several roadside inns on what's now the south Strip. But it looks out of place today, dwarfed by the towering Mandalay Bay right across the street.
Project billed as one of the world's largest marijuana dispensaries plans to open Nov. 1
Planet 13 co-CEO Larry Scheffler talks about what to expect from the new marijuana dispensary, Thursday, July 19, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Oasis Biotech opens in Las Vegas
Brock Leach, chief operating officer of Oasis Biotech, discusses the new plant factory at its grand opening on July 18. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
UNLV Tech Park innovation building breaks ground
Construction on the first innovation building at the UNLV Tech Park is underway. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Caesars Forum Meeting Center
Caesars broke ground Monday on its $375 million Caesars Forum Meeting Center (convention center) just east of the High Roller observation wheel. (Caesars Entertainment)
Technology reshapes the pawn shop industry
Devin Battersby attaches a black-colored device to the back of her iPhone and snaps several of the inside and outside of a Louis Vuitton wallet. The device, installed with artificial intelligence capabilities, analyzes the images using a patented microscopic technology. Within a few minutes, Battersby receives an answer on her app. The designer item is authentic.
Recreational marijuana has been legal in Nevada for one year
Exhale Nevada CEO Pete Findley talks about the one year anniversary of the legalization of recreational marijuana in Nevada. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Young adults aren't saving for retirement
Financial advisors talk about saving trends among young adults. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
President Trump’s tariffs could raise costs for real estate developers, analysts say
President Donald Trump made his fortune in real estate, but by slapping tariffs on imports from close allies, developers in Las Vegas and other cities could get hit hard.
Las Vegas business and tariffs
Barry Yost, co-owner of Precision Tube Laser, LLC, places a metal pipe into the TruLaser Tube 5000 laser cutting machine on Wednesday, June 20, 2018, in Las Vegas. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Nevada Film Office Connects Businesses To Producers
The director of the Nevada Film Office discusses its revamped locations database and how it will affect local businesses. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Opendoor isn't the typical house flipping company
Unlike most house flippers, the company aims to make money from transaction costs rather than from selling homes for more than their purchase price.
The Venetian gondoliers sing Italian songs
Gondolier Marciano sings a the classic Italian song "Volare" as he leads guests through the canals of The Venetian in Las Vegas. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Building In Logandale
Texas homebuilder D.R. Horton bought 43 lots in rural Logandale. (Eli Segall/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Indoor farming in Southern Nevada
Experts discuss Nevada's indoor farming industry. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Former Fontainebleau could have become a Waldorf Astoria
Months after developer Steve Witkoff bought the Fontainebleau last summer, he unveiled plans to turn the mothballed hotel into a Marriott-managed resort called The Drew. But if Richard “Boz” Bosworth’s plans didn’t fall through, the north Las Vegas Strip tower could have become a Waldorf Astoria with several floors of timeshare units. (Eli Segall/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
LVCVA CEO Rossi Ralenkotter announces plans to retire
Rossi Ralenkotter, CEO of the LVCVA, on Tuesday confirmed a Las Vegas Review-Journal report that he is preparing to retire. Richard N. Velotta/ Las Vegas Review-Journal
Cousins Maine Lobster to open inside 2 Las Vegas Smith’s stores
Cousins Maine Lobster food truck company will open inside Las Vegas’ two newest Smith’s at Skye Canyon Park Drive and U.S. Highway 95, and at Warm Springs Road and Durango Drive. Cousins currently sells outside some Las Vegas Smith’s stores and at Fremont Street and Las Vegas Boulevard. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas home prices to continue to rise, expert says
Lawrence Yun, chief economist at the National Association of Realtors, gives homebuyers a pulse on the Las Vegas housing market. (Eli Segall/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
NV Energy announces clean energy investment
The company is planning to add six solar projects in Nevada, along with the state's first major battery energy storage capacity. Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal
3 Mario Batali restaurants on Las Vegas Strip to close
Days after new sexual misconduct allegations were made against celebrity chef Mario Batali, his company announced Friday that it will close its three Las Vegas restaurants July 27. Employees of Carnevino Italian Steakhouse, B&B Ristorante and Otto Enoteca e Pizzeria, all located in The Venetian and Palazzo resorts, were informed of the decision Friday morning. Bastianich is scheduled to visit the restaurants Friday to speak to employees about the next two months of operation as well as how the company plans to help them transition to new positions.
Nevada has its first cybersecurity apprenticeship program
The Learning Center education company in Las Vegas has launched the first apprenticeship program for cybersecurity in Nevada. It was approved by the State Apprenticeship Council on May 15. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas union members voting to authorize the right to strike
Thousands of Las Vegas union members voting Tuesday morning to authorize the right to strike. A “yes” vote would give the union negotiating committee the power to call a strike anytime after June 1 at the resorts that fail to reach an agreement. (Todd Prince/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
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