Peer-to-peer lending sees exponential growth

By Penny Yi Wang

In the past few years, consumers disillusioned with tight-fisted banks have jumped on the peer-to-peer lending bandwagon.

When the Great Recession hit, banks suffered big losses as borrowers defaulted on loans they had taken out during the economy’s long upturn. In response, lenders have drastically tightened their lending requirements. As a result, many borrowers with anything less than stellar credit now can’t qualify for traditional bank loans. Continue reading “Peer-to-peer lending sees exponential growth”

Caterpillar tries to dig out as global challenges pile up

By Penny Yi Wang

Caterpillar
Caterpillar’s Middle Eastern markets face pressure as oil prices drop below $75 a barrel. (Photo by Penny Yi Wang)

Manufacturing giant Caterpillar Inc. is trying to dig out as headwinds from slowing global markets and falling oil prices pile up. The company is forecasting flat sales for the coming year.

Shares of the Peoria-based company have been under pressure since mid-July when key overseas markets reported  slower sales. At $101.30 Wednesday morning, Caterpillar stock is down 9 percent from its 52-week high of $111.4 set in July.

Continue reading “Caterpillar tries to dig out as global challenges pile up”

Sagging offshore sales pinch Cisco earnings

By Penny Yi Wang

(Flickr Creative Commons By Mark Tighe)
Cisco’s high speed broadband router has long been a market leader (Flickr Creative Commons By Mark Tighe)

Cisco Systems Inc., reported a fiscal first quarter profit decline in line with expectations  and reiterated a flat outlook, as emerging markets — which earlier fueled the Internet-equipment maker’s growth — continue to soften.

For the quarter ended on October 25, net income of the router maker declined 8.4 percent to $1.83 billion, or 35 cents per diluted share, from $2.00 billion, or 37 cents per diluted share in the same quarter last year.

Continue reading “Sagging offshore sales pinch Cisco earnings”

SpotHero shifts into high gear with parking app

By Penny Yi Wang

Parking in the city is never easy, but SpotHero, a Chicago-based technology company, has found a way to help commuters.  The start-up’s mobile apps find discounted parking spots in real time and allow users to pay online or in the app. The company, which launched in 2011 with three co-founders, now has 30 employees. SpotHero has just added four new cities to its roster of seven.

Continue reading “SpotHero shifts into high gear with parking app”

Cat earnings bulldoze past forecasts

By Penny Yi Wang

The manufacturing giant Caterpillar Inc. owns operations in more than 180 countries. (Photo by Penny Yi Wang)
Manufacturing giant Caterpillar Inc. has operations in over 180 countries. (Photo by Penny Yi Wang)

Shares of Caterpillar Inc. jumped after the manufacturing giant, helped by a surge in North American sales that more than offset a slowdown in international market, reported third-quarter earnings that dramatically surpassed Wall Street expectations.

Net income for the Peoria-based heavy equipment maker inched up less than one percent to $1.02 billion, or $1.63 per share, from $946 million, or $1.45 per share, in the year-ago quarter. Continue reading “Cat earnings bulldoze past forecasts”

Illinois Tool Works shares surge as 3Q earnings beat expectations

By Penny Yi Wang

Illinois Tool Works
Credit: Illinois Tool Works website

Illinois Tool Works Inc. shares soared 3.8 percent on Tuesday after reporting third-quarter earnings that beat analysts’ expectations, as the company sheds unprofitable product lines.

For the quarter ended September 14th, the company’s net income rose 17.5 percent, to $531 million, or $1.34 per diluted share, from the year-ago period’s $452 million, or $1.01 per diluted share. Revenue increased 3.5 percent, to $3.69 billion from $3.57 billion a year ago. Continue reading “Illinois Tool Works shares surge as 3Q earnings beat expectations”

Hedge funds hope for better days

fundsBy Penny Yi Wang

Hedge funds finally regained a shred of dignity in September:  after a long stretch of frequently underperforming the broad stock market, the investment funds – which charge their clients hefty  management fees – were able to do a bit better than the Standard & Poor 500 Index.

A standard yardstick of the industry’s performance known as the Hedge Fund Weighted Composite Index last month showed a narrow decline of 0.4 percent, Chicago-based fund tracker Hedge Fund Research reported this week.  That’s not great, but it was a better result than the 1.5 percent drop the S&P 500 showed in September.

Continue reading “Hedge funds hope for better days”

ISM manufacturing index slipped in September

The nation’s manufacturing sector showed softer-than-expected growth in September, according to a trade report on Wednesday.

The Institute for Supply Management manufacturing index slipped to 56.6 in September from 59 percent in August, indicating slowing expansion. The actual reading came below the economists’ estimate of 58.5, according to Bloomberg L.P. Continue reading “ISM manufacturing index slipped in September”