Chicago finds new tax stream: Netflix, Spotify, online gambling

Live in this city? Your Netflix subscription just got pricier

Binge watching on Netflix has become a bit costlier in the Windy City.

Chicago has expanded its taxing power to extend to streaming services. The city’s residents will now pay an extra 9% tax to use services such as Netflix and Spotify.

Chicago’s finance department made the ruling last month, amending the established amusement tax to include “electronically delivered amusements.” That includes streaming music, movies and television. It also includes online gaming.

The change took effect on Wednesday, and it will apply to those with Chicago billing addresses. According to multiple media reports, the city expects the change to generate an extra $12 million each year.

More than two dozen states already charge sales tax on digital services.

Related: Are you paying the iTunes tax?

Article source:

Arnold Schwarzenegger looks to save ‘Terminator Genisys’ at box office

Can Arnold save Terminator Genisys?

Arnold Schwarzenegger once promised “I’ll be back” and with this weekend’s “Terminator Genisys” the actor returns the role that made him famous.

“Genisys,” which opened Wednesday, is looking at a roughly $50 million projected debut over the five-day Fourth of July weekend, according to analysts.

Much like the summer’s biggest movie, “Jurassic World,” the film looks to cash in on the nostalgia from the Terminator series, which has made $518.5 million in the U.S. since 1984 when “The Terminator” first came back through time, according to Rentrak (RENT).

However, the fifth film in the series, “Genisys,” may need Schwarzenegger to save the day due to some bumpy buzz.

Its trailer gave away one of the film’s twists (something that reportedly even the director wasn’t happy about), and it doesn’t help that it has a 25% rotten rating on reviews site “Rotten Tomatoes.”

“It’s an example of a lot of things not clicking,” said Phil Contrino, chief box office analyst at “I don’t think fans are excited about it.”

terminator genisys
Arnold is back as the Terminator for this weekend’s “Terminator Genisys.”

However, Schwarzenegger, 67, is one of the biggest (figuratively and literally) stars in the history of Hollywood with his films

Article source:

Revenge porn hacker pleads guilty, faces 7 years

Hear a revenge porn hacker explain why he did it

Chalk one up for revenge porn victims.

Charlie Evens, 26, has pleaded guilty to hacking into the email accounts of hundreds of women to steal and resell their naked pictures. He faces up to seven years in prison.

This act — posting non-consensual nude photos of a person on the web — is a growing form of online harassment known as “revenge porn.”

Evens — who was the focus of a recent CNNMoney report — fessed up on Wednesday before United States District Judge Dolly M. Gee in California.

When Evens was 23, he was hired by Hunter Moore, who is known as the “king of revenge porn” to steal naked photos of women. Moore would pay Evens for the pictures and post them on his now defunct site,

In February, Moore pleaded guilty to the same two felony charges — federal computer crime and identity theft.

“I did it for money, it makes me sound like a monster,” Evens told CNNMoney’s Laurie Segall earlier this year.

Evens said he met Moore after hacking him — he didn’t even know who Moore was at that time.

“He contacted me saying that he’d pay me to [hack] for him,” he said.

So Evens began stealing photos to make money — he had just

Article source:

Aetna to buy rival health insurer Humana for $37 billion

musical chairs

Aetna has struck a deal to buy rival health insurer Humana for $37 billion.

Aetna (AET) will acquire all outstanding shares of Humana (HUM) for a combination of cash and stock, at roughly $230 per Humana share, according to a joint statement. That’s 23% higher than Humana’s closing price on Thursday.

The new company will have more than 33 million members, and bring in estimated revenue of about $115 billion per year, with 56% coming from government-sponsored programs such as Medicare.

“This combination will allow us to continue to invest in excellent service for our members and strengthen our partnerships with providers to deliver high quality care at an affordable price,” said Mark Bertolini, Aetna’s chairman and CEO.

If the deal is approved by shareholders and regulators, Bertolini will serve as chairman and CEO of the new company. Both Aetna and Humana shares fell nearly 3% on Thursday before the deal was announced.

Related: Will you pay more health insurance as companies merge?

The U.S. health insurance industry has been engaged in a flurry of deal talks recently — Anthem (ANTX) is interested in buying Cigna (CI), and UnitedHealth (UNH) was even rumored to be interested in Aetna or Humana. That’s on top of a spate of health industry deals and negotiations last year. At one point, Pfizer

Article source:

More American teens are getting jobs. That’s good for everyone

wendy peffercorn
Wendy Peffercorn, the lifeguard in the 1993 summer classic movie “The Sandlot.”

Lauren Miller loves her summer job.

She just started working at the Hershey Lodge in Pennsylvania, roasting s’mores and organizing activities for kids.

Miller, 16, earns the minimum wage, but she doesn’t mind — her job is a foot in the right direction. Most of her friends found jobs this summer too, she says.

“I think it creates a lot of responsibility in teens,” says Miller, who got her driver’s license last week. “They have to get up and go to their job. They’re earning money for whatever they want to do.”

Related: Unemployment falls to lowest level in 7 years

Miller’s ability to find a summer job is representative of America’s improving teenage economy.

More teens finding jobs: About 4.7 million teenagers have jobs now, an increase from this time last year.

How the teenage job market performs is a bellwether for the rest of American job seekers. If more and more employers are willing to take a chance on an inexperienced teen, that’s good news for older workers too, says Diane Swonk, chief economist at Mesirow Financial in Chicago.

Lauren Miller Hershey
Lauren Miller, 16, works at the Hershey Lodge in Hershey, PA.

“The trend is moving in the right direction,” says Swonk. The teenage economy “is certainly

Article source:

Jobs report by the numbers: ‘Goldilocks’ or not?

That’s the bad news for financial markets, however. The good news is that the folks who watch such numbers and trade on them now believe the Fed won’t start hiking interest rates until 2016. Chicago Mercantile Exchange traders assign just a 12 percent chance of a September rate hike, 26 percent in October and 48 percent in December, with the 50 percent threshold not broken until the January 2016 contract, which implies a 65 percent chance of a rate hike.

That’s counter to Wall Street consensus, which believes the U.S. central bank will move off zero rates either in September or, at the latest, December.

“In some ways it was a Goldilocks report,” said Russ Koesterich, chief investment strategist at BlackRock. (
Tweet This
) “You still see strength from job creation, the hourly earnings number was on the soft side. But (for those) worrying about the Fed, it offered the best of both worlds. In some ways, it was not too hot or too cold.”

The Fed has been locked on zero rates since late 2008, but members have indicated they want to begin normalizing policy at some point this year. However, liftoff has been pushed back multiple times as the Fed Open Market Committee looks for evidence of sustained inflation along with a jobs market that appears close to full employment.

“It’s becoming harder to encapsulate

Article source:

Will China’s epic slide impact U.S. stocks?

Chinese stocks have been on a wild ride the past year, with volatility ratcheting up to extreme levels since mid-June. But according to Michael Block of Rhino Trading Partners, investors in U.S. stocks shouldn’t worry about what’s happening in the world’s second-largest economy.

After more than doubling in the course of just one year, China’s Shanghai Composite has fallen back to earth in spectacular fashion. Since hitting highs on June 12, the index has entered into bear market territory, falling more than 23 percent.

“China goes down, and the rest of the world seems to shrug it off,” Block told CNBC on Friday. There doesn’t seem to be any correlation between China’s selloff and the movement in U.S. stocks, he added. According to Block, U.S. institutional investors were not largely involved in the selling, “so I don’t see the contagion problem.”

Indeed, China’s recent volatility doesn’t appear to be correlated with action in U.S. markets. In the past week, the Shanghai Composite has seen intraday moves of 3 percent or more in both directions, multiple times. While U.S. stocks sold off on Monday, the move was far less violent than that in China. And in the time that China has plunged 23 percent, the SP 500 has only dropped by less than 2 percent.

Cowen Co.’s head of sales and trading, David Seaburg, said China’s volatility might not last long, as Beijing could take more measures to end the whipsaw

Article source:

Here’s why ETFs are a growing part of total trading value

Many people have asked me how important ETF’s are. The simple answer is, they are important and getting more important.

They are a significant portion of trading activity on all the exchanges. How important? Volume is not the right metric to use when dealing with ETFs. It’s better to use “traded value,” which as the name implies is the actual dollar value of what is traded.

In June, ETF trading was close to 28 percent of total daily exchange value, according to Credit Suisse. That’s the most since March.

More importantly, it’s a 35 percent increase from last June.

What’s going on? Partly, it’s just more money continuing to flow into ETFs from mutual funds. The industry is moving toward $3 trillion in assets under management.

There’s also been much heavier trading activity in European ETFs thanks to the weak euro, which unleashed a tsunami of trading in the first part of the year.

Finally, Greece is back on everyone’s radar, so broad European ETFs like the iShares Eurozone ETF (EZU) and the WisdomTree Europe Hedge ETF (HEDJ) and even single country ETFs for Spain (EWP), Italy (EWI) and France (EWQ) have seen much heavier volume.

In fact, ETF trading on Monday was 37 percent of exchange traded value, the highest level since December.

Here’s an important point about ETFs: when volatility is spiking, traders use ETFs to hedge their exposure. Higher volume!

By the way, ETFs have passed another test.

Article source: