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Inequality Between America's Rich and Poor Is at a 30-Year High

economic inequality at 30 yr. highThere are many ways to compare finances, but perhaps a more holistic measure of financial health looks at household wealth, a comparison of what a family’s assets (home, cars, investments and bank accounts) are worth, versus what they owe. And when it comes to wealth, or net worth, the gap between the richest Americans and everyone else is at an historic high.

For the most part, it’s not necessarily that the rich are getting richer and the poor, poorer. Instead, the data shows that while the rich are seeing their assets grow and increase in value, the middle and lower-classes are seeing financial stagnation, creating a growing economic gulf.

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More Sears and Kmart closings than first announced

Sears closingsSears Holdings, the parent company to Sears and Kmart, announced it will close another 235 stores nationwide after another quarterly loss.
Sears boosted the list of store closures from 130 to 235 while the company reported its third-quarter losses were more than the same period last year.

Analysts said it's the best move for the struggling company, but more stores will likely need to be closed to make the company profitable. Rob Schriesheim, Sears Holdings' Chief Financial Officer, said the company is financially stable.

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US adds 321,000 jobs, the most in nearly 3 years

unemploymentU.S. employers added 321,000 jobs in November, the biggest burst of hiring in nearly three years and the latest sign that the United States is outperforming other economies throughout the developed world.

The Labor Department also said Friday that 44,000 more jobs were added in September and October combined than the government had previously estimated. Job gains have averaged 241,000 a month this year, putting 2014 on track to be the strongest year for hiring since 1999.

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How Executive Ended Up With $196 Million in an IRA

IRA investmentCorporate and private-equity executives can accumulate millions of dollars in tax-favored retirement accounts, taking advantage of gaps in the law and IRS enforcement, said a Government Accountability Office study.

The Internal Revenue Service has trouble fighting back because legal disputes over asset values in individual retirement accounts are complex and time-consuming, the report said. Also, the IRS has a three-year deadline for challenging an individual’s tax return.

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Seven big US corps pay CEOs more than they hand Uncle Sam in taxes

CiticorpSeven of the 30 largest American corporations paid more money to their chief executive officers last year than they paid in U.S. federal income taxes, according to a study released Tuesday that was disputed by at least one of the companies.

The study, put out by the Institute for Policy Studies and the Center for Effective Government, two think tanks in Washington, D.C., said the seven companies, which in 2013 reported more than $74 billion in combined U.S. pre-tax profits, came out ahead on their taxes, gaining $1.9 billion more than they owed.

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JPMorgan Settles Claims It Cheated Shale-Rights Owners

JP MOrgan ChaseJPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) settled a lawsuit by mineral-rights owners who accused the bank of cheating them out of $681 million in compensation for drilling rights in Texas.

Deal talks stalled and forced the start of a trial Nov. 12 in state court in San Antonio while negotiations continued. The settlement was reached yesterday as jurors heard a third day of testimony, according to lawyers for both the bank and beneficiaries of the South Texas Syndicate Trust.

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Regulators fine global banks in currency probe

Global banks finedU.S., British and Swiss regulators fined five global banks more than $3 billion for attempting to manipulate foreign exchange markets — the latest penalties for an industry previously criticized for rigging interest rates and for their role in triggering the global financial crisis.

The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission, the U.K. Financial Conduct Authority and the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority said Wednesday that Citibank, JPMorgan Chase Bank, Royal Bank of Scotland, HSBC Bank and UBS had agreed to settlements totaling almost $3.4 billion. The FCA said it is continuing to investigate Barclays Bank.

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