6 Most Important Things in Business Today

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The U.S. Department of Labor is looking into the 401(k) business of Wells Fargo & Co. (NYSE: WFC). According to The Wall Street Journal:

The Labor Department is examining whether Wells Fargo & Co. has been pushing participants in low-cost corporate 401(k) plans to roll their holdings into more expensive individual retirement accounts at the bank, according to a person familiar with the inquiry.

Labor Department investigators also are interested in whether Wells Fargo’s retirement-plan services unit pressed account holders to buy in-house funds, generating more revenue to the bank, the person said.

The strong financial results of both Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT) and Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) were aided by cloud computing success, a sign of how critical the business has become to big tech companies.


Quarterly results show Starbucks Corp. (NASDAQ: SBUX) has problems. According to Bloomberg:

After another quarter of tepid sales growth, Starbucks Corp. Chief Financial Officer Scott Maw assured investors that the company is investing “strategically and with a ‘long game’ mentality.” Wall Street may not be so patient.

Starbucks grew just as much as analysts expected in the latest quarter, but investors sold off shares late Thursday. Still associated with its meteoric rise to ubiquity, the company is having trouble managing expectations now that it’s among the biggest restaurant chains in the world.

“The results aren’t what people have in mind necessarily with Starbucks being a ‘growth stock,”’ Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Jennifer Bartashus said. “Results were OK, just not great.”

In a show of strength, Amazon increased the price of its Prime free delivery and streaming media membership. According to CNNMoney:

Amazon is raising the price of Amazon Prime from $99 to $119 per year.

The company announced the price hike for its membership program during a call with investors Thursday. The change will go into effect May 11, and it will apply to Prime renewals beginning June 16.

“We continue to increase the value of Prime,” Amazon CFO Brian Olsavsky said on the call, adding that the company has added “digital benefits,” like Prime Video.

The long rumors merger of Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) and T-Mobile US Inc. (NASDAQ: TMUS) took another step forward. According to Reuters:

U.S. wireless carriers T-Mobile US Inc and Sprint Corp have made progress in negotiating merger terms and are aiming to successfully complete deal talks as early as next week, people familiar with the matter said on Thursday.

Southwest Airlines Co. (NYSE: LUV) said the number of tickets it is selling has dropped after a deadly engine explosion. According to The Wall Street Journal:

 Southwest Airlines Co. said bookings have dropped since last week’s fatal accident on the largest domestic U.S. airline.

The carrier froze all advertising in the wake of the incident on a flight from New York to Dallas, a move executives said had cost the airline bookings into May and up to $100 million in lost revenue

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