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VOL. 39 | NO. 8 | Friday, February 20, 2015

Ready to spend: With recession over, Middle Tennessee consumers are opening their wallets

Elizabeth Moss is in the middle of a total kitchen renovation at the Hendersonville home she bought on August 4, 2013.

Best time to buy big-ticket items

You’ve got money to spend, but is it the right time to spend it? Here’s what the experts say.

What recession? Midstate largely spared

After handling clients at SunTrust as a senior portfolio manager for high-net-worth clients, many with $10 million or more in assets, Dana Moore, CFA, and two colleagues (George Stadler, Angela Helbig), founded HMS Investment Advisors in 2009.

Local Weather
Nashville, TN
A Few Clouds
Wind: Northwest at 3.5 mph
Humidity: 61%


Alice Randall and Caroline Randall Williams at Salon@615. A Nashville author and songwriter, Randall is best known for her novel, “The Wind Done Gone,” a reinterpretation of Gone With the Wind. Her daughter Caroline was recently named one of the ‘50 People Changing the South in 2015’ by Southern Living magazine. Saturday, 2 p.m. Salon@615 is a free, ticketed event, with advance tickets available online (www.salonat615.org) for a $2.50 service fee. A limited number of tickets will also be available each event day 30 minutes before show time. After each talk, authors will sign books. To participate in book signings, guests must purchase a copy of the writer’s latest work from Parnassus Books in Nashville in advance or at the event. Salon patrons receive a 10 percent discount. Additional opportunities:

more events »


Haslam wary of gas tax hike after ‘Insure’ loss

Despite low gas prices, a backlog on road projects and prevailing winds for fuel-tax reform, Gov. Bill Haslam is pulling back from a gas-tax increase this session.


Taking stock: Realtors running out of inventory in some areas

Richard Exton, the dean of real estate appraisers, well at least a tenured gentleman, spoke to a group pf Realtors recently and provided the data reflecting the current state of the real estate market.


Middle Tennessee Real Estate trends for January 2015

January 2015 real estate trends for Davidson, Williamson, Rutherford and Wilson counties, as compiled by Chandler Reports.


VUMC’s Wilson, Kapu take leadership roles

Two longtime Vanderbilt University Medical Center nurses are starting the year in new leadership positions with greater responsibilities for nursing education and advanced practice, respectively.


Relevant again? 10 keys to success for UT baseball

KNOXVILLE – Tennessee baseball coach Dave Serrano wasn’t pushing the panic button after his team lost two of three games in their season opening series at Florida International University in Miami last weekend.


Outback: More refined, added features for 2015

The Subaru Outback, one of the best vehicles at gracefully blending car and sport utility characteristics, is revamped for 2015 with more interior room than ever, improved ride, handsome looks and more features.


The sales relationship: Build trust, show knowledge

A key to sales success is identifying the prospect’s needs. But that knowledge doesn’t mean much if the potential relationship lacks a foundation of trust.


Relocation compensation not what it used to be

Moving for a new career, or the potential of a new career, can be daunting.


What will Fed do with latest data economic data?

The recent weeks have seen a flurry of economic data that shed light on the United States economy.


Brit Cumberbatch delivers world-class apology

“We use the term ‘people of color’ in America. Is that immensely different to what he said? I don’t think so ….” David Oyelowo, British actor currently playing Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., in “Selma.”


Social neighborhood a bit of a culture shock

With my mom living just a few houses down from me now, it’s easy (and fun) for us to share food. One day, she made banzazna nut bread and brought some down to hubby and me. It was gone PDQ.


Tennessee Black Caucus seeks apology from GOP lawmaker

NASHVILLE (AP) - The Tennessee Legislative Black Caucus wants a Republican state lawmaker accused of a racist Facebook post stripped of her leadership position.


Loretta Lynn, B.B. King, Cormac McCarthy win arts award

NASHVILLE (AP) — Singer-songwriters Loretta Lynn and B.B. King and novelist Cormac McCarthy are among the winners of the 2015 Governor's Arts Awards.


Nashville unveils $100 million flood protection system

NASHVILLE (AP) — Nashville Mayor Karl Dean on Wednesday unveiled a $100 million flood protection plan for Music City that includes a 2,100-foot-long flood wall located on the city's downtown riverfront.


Average US rate on 30-year mortgage rises to 3.80 percent

WASHINGTON (AP) — Average long-term U.S. mortgage rates have edged up for a third straight week while remaining near their historically low levels reached in May 2013.


FCC weighs overriding state laws to expand broadband access

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The Federal Communications Commission is considering whether to override state laws blocking city-owned broadband companies from expanding and competing with commercial Internet providers.

Regulators move to toughen Internet provider rules

WASHINGTON (AP) — Internet service providers like Comcast, Verizon, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile would have to act in the "public interest" when providing a mobile connection to your home or phone, under new rules being considered by the Federal Communications Commission.


Applications for US jobless aid rise to 313,000

WASHINGTON (AP) — More Americans sought unemployment aid last week, though the number of applications was still consistent with steady hiring.

Consumer prices plunge 0.7 percent on cheaper gas costs

WASHINGTON (AP) — A plunge in gas prices last month lowered consumer prices by the most in six years. But excluding the volatile food and energy costs, prices rose.

Orders for US durable goods up 2.8 percent in January

WASHINGTON (AP) — Orders to U.S. factories for long-lasting manufactured goods rebounded in January as a key category that signals business investment plans showed an increase.

US stock indexes drift as traders gauge economic data

Major U.S. stock indexes drifted between small gains and losses Thursday afternoon. Energy stocks were among the biggest decliners as crude oil prices resumed their slide. Investors were also weighing reports on unemployment benefit claims, consumer prices and orders for long-lasting manufactured goods.

What we heard, and didn't, from Yellen's remarks to Congress

WASHINGTON (AP) — Over two days of testimony to Congress, Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen was grilled on everything from the direction of interest rates to the health of the economy to "Audit the Fed" legislation supported by Republicans.

Fruits and vegetables get a star-studded marketing push

NEW YORK (AP) — What if cauliflower got the same type of marketing firepower as candy bars and potato chips?


GOP may need House Dems to help resolve DHS funding impasse

WASHINGTON (AP) — For all the talk of Republican House Speaker John Boehner being trapped by the quarrel over funding the Homeland Security Department, he holds a potential escape key, if he's willing to use it: cooperative Democrats.


Muslim group: Tennessee lawmaker's Facebook post was racist

NASHVILLE (AP) — The nation's largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization on Wednesday urged Tennessee Republican leaders to repudiate what they consider a racist Facebook post by a GOP state lawmaker.

Haslam says he didn't discourage enforcement at hog farm

NASHVILLE (AP) — Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam says he would "never, ever" discourage regulators from enforcing environmental rules at a fellow Republican state lawmaker's hog farm.


Tennessee prosecutors group suspends longtime director

NASHVILLE (AP) - Tennessee prosecutors have suspended their longtime executive director following allegations that he orchestrated a deal to help Nashville's district attorney boost his pension.

Longtime Tennessee journalist Kent Flanagan dies at 69

NASHVILLE (AP) - Kent Flanagan, a longtime journalist and open government advocate who spent 21 years as Tennessee's bureau chief for The Associated Press, died Wednesday. He was 69.


US new home sales fall slightly in January

WASHINGTON (AP) — Sales of new U.S. homes were basically flat in January, evidence that recent job gains and relatively low mortgage rates have yet to spur the real estate market.


Lexus tops auto dependability survey

DETROIT (AP) — Lexus is the most dependable car brand for the fourth consecutive year in rankings that increasingly hinge on high-tech features.


GOP lawmakers accuse Yellen of playing politics

WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen came under fire Wednesday from House Republicans, who challenged the central bank's lack of accountability during her second day of testimony to Congress.

Dow ekes out another record close even as other indexes slip

The Dow Jones industrial average managed another record high close, but just barely, even as other market indexes edged lower.

Lowe's has strong 4Q as job market improves

MOORESVILLE, N.C. (AP) — Lowe's fourth-quarter profit climbed as an improving job market creates marginal improvements in the housing market.


Bipartisan deal sets up Homeland Security vote in Senate

WASHINGTON (AP) — Three days before a partial Homeland Security shutdown, lawmakers cleared the way Wednesday for Senate passage of legislation to fund the agency without immigration-related provisions opposed by President Barack Obama.

Calling for cooperation, Obama engages in confrontation

WASHINGTON (AP) — Amid appeals for bipartisanship, President Barack Obama in just three days has provoked Republicans on issues as disparate as immigration, Wall Street and the Keystone XL pipeline — a combative mix of defense and offense that underscores Washington's political realignment.


Homeless people need libraries, and libraries need them

NASHVILLE (AP) - Jeffery Bailey spends nearly every day at his public library.


Justices signal support for investors in 401(k) lawsuits

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court appeared likely Tuesday to make it easier for participants in employee retirement plans to challenge companies' investment decisions that eat into retirement savings.


Tennessee Promise bill seeks to benefit military students

NASHVILLE (AP) — Legislation that would allow military students to maintain a scholarship that covers the costs of a two-year college degree has unanimously passed the Senate.


Fewer homes for sale pushes up US house prices in December

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. home prices rose in December at a faster pace than the previous month, likely because of a much smaller number of homes for sale.


US automakers improve in magazine's annual brand rankings

DETROIT (AP) — Buick is the first U.S.-based automotive brand to crack the top 10 in Consumer Reports magazine's annual brand report cards.

Mississippi auto parts workers in union drive plan protest

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Workers at an automotive seat factory in Mississippi are protesting what they say are low wages and poor working conditions as they attempt to unionize in what could become a new front for the United Auto Workers in the state.


Health care survey: Uninsured rate hit new low in 2014

WASHINGTON (AP) — Even as it faces another Supreme Court challenge, President Barack Obama's health care law has steadily reduced the number of uninsured Americans, according to an extensive survey released Tuesday.


Slight gains push US stocks to record highs; Home Depot up

The Dow Jones industrial average and the Standard & Poor's 500 index delivered a new set of record highs Tuesday, beating marks they set last week.

IRS: Your chances of getting audited lowest in a decade

WASHINGTON (AP) — The IRS says budget cuts forced the agency to reduce the number of tax audits last year to the lowest level in a decade.

Yellen reiterates Fed's patience in raising rates

WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said Tuesday that the U.S. economy is making steady progress, but for now the Fed is sticking with patience in raising interest rates because the labor market is still healing and inflation is too low.

US bank earnings drop 7.3 percent in 4Q

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. banks' earnings dropped 7.3 percent in the fourth quarter from a year earlier as a few big banks had increased costs to settle legal cases and the industry had declines in income from the mortgage business.

US consumer confidence slides after big January gain

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. consumers are feeling a bit less confident this month, but their spirits are still at the highest levels since before the Great Recession.

Comcast 4Q profit edges up, adds customers, boosts dividend

NEW YORK (AP) — Comcast Corp.'s fourth-quarter net income edged up less than 1 percent as the company added more customers for its cable TV, high-speed Internet and phone services.

Home Depot approves $18B buyback; boosts dividend 26 pct.

ATLANTA (AP) — Home Depot authorized the repurchase of $18 billion of its own shares and boosted its quarterly dividend by 26 percent.


Obama to veto Keystone XL oil pipeline bill today

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama will veto a Republican-backed bill on Tuesday that would have approved construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline, the White House said, putting a freeze on a top GOP priority — at least for now.

In a bind, Republicans offer vote on Homeland Security bill

WASHINGTON (AP) — A partial agency shutdown looming, Senate Republicans offered on Tuesday to permit a vote on Homeland Security funding legislation stripped of immigration provisions backed by conservatives but strongly opposed by President Barack Obama and fellow Democrats.

Obama faces left-right opposition on trade, military force

WASHINGTON (AP) — Reps. Barbara Lee and John Fleming are highly dubious at best about President Barack Obama's requests for enhanced powers to make trade deals and to deploy the U.S. military. And that's like oil and water mixing easily.


4-year schools competing for Tennessee Promise students

NASHVILLE (AP) — Many people know Tennessee Promise offers free tuition to the state's community colleges. But the money can also be used at four-year schools that offer associate degrees.

Haslam to speak at events in Nashville, Knoxville this week

NASHVILLE (AP) — Gov. Bill Haslam will wrap up a trip to Washington on Monday then return to Tennessee for events this week in Nashville and Knoxville.

SmartWay traffic app benefiting motorists

NASHVILLE (AP) — A new real-time road conditions map developed by the Tennessee Department of Transportation has come in handy this winter.


Dickson medical practice agrees to pay $500,000

NASHVILLE (AP) - Federal prosecutors say that a Dickson-based medical practice has agreed to pay $500,000 to settle allegations that it illegally bought lower-cost drugs from foreign sources in order to make a profit.


Meaning of 4 words at center of high court health law fight

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court next week hears a challenge to President Barack Obama's health care overhaul that hinges on just four words in the massive law that seeks to dramatically reduce the ranks of the uninsured. The argument threatens subsidies that help make insurance affordable to consumers in about three dozen states.


Honda to replace its president following air bag fiasco

TOKYO (AP) — Honda Motor Co., the Japanese automaker at the center of an air-bag defect scandal, said Monday its president Takanobu Ito will step aside and be replaced by another Honda executive.


US home sales plunge 4.9 percent in January

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. home sales struck a snow drift in January, plunging to the slowest pace in nine months.


Higher rates coming? Yellen faces lawmakers at pivotal time

WASHINGTON (AP) — After years of sounding reassuring notes about the need to keep interest rates at record lows, the Federal Reserve is finding the shift to an era of pending rate hikes a tricky and complicated one.

US stocks edge mostly lower, pulling Dow back from a record

U.S. stocks are edging mostly lower as the market pulls back from an all-time high reached last week.

US gas prices jump 13 cents a gallon, 26 cents in last month

CAMARILLO, Calif. (AP) — The average price of a regular gallon of gas jumped 13 cents in the past two weeks to $2.33, repeating the hike seen two weeks prior for a total 26 cents rise in the last month.

Obama calls for tighter rules on retirement account brokers

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration is proposing tougher restrictions on brokers who manage Americans' retirement accounts, reigniting a confrontation with the financial services industry over rules affecting trillions of dollars in 401k and other savings accounts.

Tobacco companies fighting over claims on smoking's effects

WASHINGTON (AP) — America's biggest tobacco companies say they are ready and willing to pass along factual public health information about cigarettes.


Tennessee legislators want to keep their state-paid insurance information secret

NASHVILLE (AP) - Republican lawmakers still seething about the release of their enrollment in the state's health care plan want to keep further coverage information from being made public.

New group spending money to support Common Core

NASHVILLE (AP) - Records show a new group with ties to Gov. Bill Haslam has spent more than $100,000 defending his position on maintaining Tennessee's current education standards.


Jeb Bush to headline Tennessee GOP fundraiser in May

NASHVILLE (AP) - Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is headlining the Tennessee Republican Party's annual fundraiser in May.


State appoints assistant commissioner for rural development

NASHVILLE (AP) - Tennessee Economic and Community Development Commissioner Randy Boyd has appointed the department's first assistant commissioner for rural development.

10 weather-related deaths now confirmed in Tennessee

NASHVILLE (AP) - There are now 10 confirmed weather-related deaths in Tennessee.


Kentucky governor: On union matters, we're no Tennessee

NASHVILLE (AP) - In an unexpected shot across the bow of his GOP neighbors to the south, Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear has a simple message on labor and economic development for automakers looking to build new plants: We're not Tennessee.


US rents rise in January, but dip in Chicago and Minneapolis

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. home rental prices rose at a steady rate in January, but prices barely budged or even dipped in parts of the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic.

Average US rate on 30-year mortgage rises to 3.76 percent

WASHINGTON (AP) — Average long-term U.S. mortgage rates have risen for a second straight week yet remained near historically low levels.


Doctors say fitness trackers, health apps can boost care

HACKENSACK, N.J. (AP) — That phone app keeping track of your exercise and meals might keep you out of the hospital one day.

Yahoo seeking to harvest ad revenue from other mobile apps

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Yahoo will try to harvest revenue from mobile applications outside its own crop of services as CEO Marissa Mayer scours the digital landscape for more growth opportunities.


Stock market hits new high after Greece gets loan extension

NEW YORK (AP) — A deal giving Greece more time to repay its debts swung the U.S. stock market higher Friday and drove the stock market to a record high.

Dollar Drag: surging buck hits US corporate earnings

NEW YORK (AP) — The biggest obstacle for Coca-Cola and Pepsi these days isn't tied to taste tests, the declining popularity of sugary drinks or even their century-long rivalry. It's the surging U.S. dollar.

Fannie Mae posts $1.3B profit in 4Q; paying $1.9B dividend

WASHINGTON (AP) — Mortgage giant Fannie Mae is reporting net income of $1.3 billion for the fourth quarter. That's down sharply from $6.5 billion a year earlier due largely to losses on investments used to hedge against swings in interest rates.

Dow, S&P 500 slip as utility stocks weigh on market

NEW YORK (AP) — Most U.S. stock indexes are closing slightly lower as a slide in utility companies weighs on the market.

Groups seek electronic collision alert devices on big trucks

DETROIT (AP) — Four highway safety groups have asked U.S. safety regulators to require tractor-trailers and big buses to have devices that alert drivers to stopped traffic and brake the trucks if drivers don't respond.


Facing militant threat, Corker shoulders matters of war

WASHINGTON (AP) — Two years ago, Sen. Bob Corker wondered aloud whether the standstill Senate was worth a grown man's time.

Liberal Democrats ask Boehner to postpone Netanyahu address

WASHINGTON (AP) — Almost two dozen liberal Democrats on Thursday asked House Speaker John Boehner to postpone Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's address to a joint meeting of Congress next month.

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