Opinion: Four other ways Uber is ethically challenged

uber ethics
Uber is under fire for an executive’s controversial remarks.

Bruce Weinstein is the public speaker known as The Ethics Guy. His forthcoming book is, “The Good Ones: Ten Crucial Qualities of High-Character Employees,” and he maintains the website, TheEthicsGuy.com.

Last Friday, Uber Vice President Emir Michael reportedly suggested a way of stifling the company’s critics that would violate the most basic standards of business ethics. For those who missed the story, Buzzfeed reported that Michael had suggested “hiring a team of opposition researchers to dig up dirt on its critics in the media.”

The report understandably sparked outrage. But even before that, this wildly popular car-sharing service had raised several disturbing ethical issues:

1. Multitasking Drivers. Uber’s main selling point — that nearby drivers are notified immediately of your desire to get a ride — is also its chief drawback, at least from a safety perspective. After all, how does a driver learn about your need in the first place? By checking a mobile device in the car. But doing so dramatically increases the rate of having an accident.

According to research by the American Automobile Association’s Foundation for Traffic Safety and the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, taking your eyes off the road is potentially deadly for drivers and others nearby. Even hands-free devices present this problem because all of the activities that go along with receiving a message

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Stocks rise. Investors are thankful…. for central bankers

turkey thanksgiving stocks

Thanksgiving arrived a week early on Wall Street.

Stocks climbed higher on Friday in response to a surprise rate cut by China’s central bank and hints of more emergency action by the European Central Bank.

“Both the ECB and PBoC got out the bazookas overnight and fired them resolutely,” Michael Block, chief strategist at Rhino Trading Partners, wrote in a note to clients.

An early burst of buying carried the Dow 175 points higher and above the 17,800 level for the first time ever. It lost some momentum, but still closed 91 points in the green and at another all-time closing high.

The SP 500 advanced 0.5% and notched its 45th record close of 2014, while the Nasdaq Composite gained 0.2%.

The party started overnight in China, which unleashed its first rate cut in more than two years. The move is aimed at energizing the world’s second-largest economy, which has slowed decidedly after years of rapid growth.

Recent indicators show that factory output has stalled and the real estate market continues to weaken. China’s third-quarter GDP slowed to the weakest pace since the financial crisis.

Dow thanksgiving China

Related: 5 reasons to worry about the world economy

Super Mario’s on the case: Not to be outdone, ECB President Mario Draghi sparked a rally in European stocks

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Burger mania hits Wall Street

This is a tasty burger ... stock 

Where’s the beef? You might want to check the stock market.

Shares of West Coast-based burger chain Habit Restaurants (HABT) surged nearly 120% in their market debut Thursday! Why all the fuss for a hamburger joint? This isn’t some sexy tech stock like GoPro (GPRO).

Habit is relatively small, with just 113 Habit Burger Grill restaurants. The majority of them are in California.

But it is growing rapidly. Sales were up nearly 50% in the first three quarters of the year compared to the same period of 2013. It’s also profitable. Net income soared more than 60%.

And apparently it makes a ridiculously good burger.

In fact, the readers of Consumer Reports named Habit the best fast-food burger chain in the country this summer.

McDonald’s (MCD) had the worst. Burger King (BKW) and Wendy’s (WEN) fared poorly as well. So the strong performance for Habit could be bad news for the big chains. Consumers don’t just want cheap burgers. They want them to taste good too.

The top of the Consumer Reports list was dominated by smaller companies that make so-called “better” or “gourmet” burgers, including California cult favorite In-N-Out Burger, Smashburger and Five Guys Burgers Fries.

Cheeseburgers in paradise.

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‘Hunger Games’ aims to top 2014’s box office

The Hunger Games: Catching box office fire 

At the box office this weekend, the odds are ever in favor of “The Hunger Games.”

Lionsgate’s “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1,” the first act of the final installment of the “Hunger Games” series, opens this weekend along with big expectations.

The film is projected to have a huge box office weekend somewhere between $130 million and $150 million. That would make it the biggest opening weekend ofany film this year.

The film is also targeting the top overall box office of 2014.

In fact, if “Mockingjay – Part 1″ follows the same box office trajectory as last year’s “Catching Fire,” which reportedly took in $380 million in a month, it will top 2014’s current top film, “Guardians of the Galaxy,” which has grossed $330 million.

“‘Mockingjay – Part 1′ is a part of a franchise that seems to have a never ending supply of audience,” said Paul Dergarabedian, a box office analyst for Rentrak.

hunger games box office
“Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1″ takes aim at “Guardians of the Galaxy,” 2014’s highest grossing film.

If the movie is the biggest of 2014, it speaks to not only the popularity of the series, but just how lackluster the year has been for the film industry.

This year

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Why I quit JPMorgan to start a jetpack business

Adventures in jetpacking  

In 2011, Dean O’Malley walked away from a high-paying job with no plans for the future, other than to escape the world of finance.

His IT job at JPMorgan Chase (JPM) had survived the financial crisis, but he had no desire to stick around for the next one. O’Malley had grown tired of the crazy hours, increasing regulation and negative stigma.

“Banking was one of those industries where we were seen as the root of all evil. I felt like I wasn’t really doing any positive work,” the Southern California native told CNNMoney.

Just two weeks after leaving his Vice President of Technology post, O’Malley ran into a friend who opened up a very different career path.

Her family was launching a business based on jetpacking, an emerging extreme water sport that lets riders fly above the water James Bond-style.

Jetpack Dean O'Malley

Even though he thought jetpacks looked crazy at first, O’Malley eventually agreed to run day-to-day operations and invest in the new business, which launched in Newport Beach, California.

Three years later, O’Malley is loving life as president of Jetpack America, a business he’s led to $1 million in annual gross revenue. He’s making just a fraction of what he took home at JPMorgan, but O’Malley said he’s in it

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Bonds shrug off better data, as Alibaba debuts

Corporate issuance has been running hot, and Alibaba came to market Thursday with a massive $8 billion deal amid reports it was five times oversubscribed.

Corporate investment grade issuance is already more than $90 billion for the month to date, and this week’s activity pushed 2014 issuance to a record $1.039 trillion so far, surpassing 2013’s total of $1.036 trillion, according to Thomson Reuters IFR. Besides Alibaba’s issuance, there was a $2 billion Johnson Johnson deal; $2 billion from Dominion Resources; and $1 billion from Albemarle, according to IFR.

Alibaba offered a 5-year bond, to yield 0.95 percentage points more than comparable Treasurys.

“One $8 billion deal is not just an $8 billion deal. It has a series of flows behind that that could generate multiples of $8 billion in related hedgings, swaps, etc,” said David Ader, chief Treasury strategist at CRT Capital. Investors hedging the Alibaba or other corporate deals, for instance, might sell Treasurys ahead of the deal and then buy them back after it.

“I frankly think the way the market is trading, we’re going to improve. We’re going to see some lower yields. If we can hold on in the face of this type of stuff. I think the market is making a statement,” Ader said. Stronger U.S. data are typically a negative for the bond market, resulting in selling and higher yields.

Article source: http://www.cnbc.com/id/102204421

Cramer: Lookin’ for tech in all the wrong places

“When I talk about stealth tech, I’m referring to companies that are using proprietary technology,” Cramer said. In turn the technology allows the companies to either gain market share, win new business away from rivals or offer customers a preferred experience.

One of Cramer’s favorite stealth tech stocks is Colgate.

“I know, this classic consumer staple company is not what you’d think of as a technology play,” Cramer said, “but Colgate’s success is due, in large part, to technology used to create products that are genuinely better than the competition.”

Cramer views Colgate’s Optic White as a prime example. The toothpaste leverages technology used in whitening strips and therefore not only cleans teeth but can make them whiter, too.

The technology led to a better product and customers noticed. In 2012, Colgate said that Optic White was a big reason behind its ability to gain share in the toothpaste market.

However, if Colgate isn’t your cup of tea, Cramer said there are many other stealth tech plays; in fact the “Mad Money” host seems them in almost every corner of the market.

“How about Under Armour?” Cramer said. “Under Armour became a household name because its technology gave birth to an entirely new category of sportswear, one that wicks moisture away from your skin, keeping your body at a more comfortable temperature, even as you perspire.”

Article source: http://www.cnbc.com/id/101923801