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Business Watch – April 2, 2012

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The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is investigating reports of engine fires in the Chevrolet Cruze and Jeep Wrangler.

Reports indicate the fires began while the vehicles were moving. GM and Chrysler Group say they know of no accidents or injuries arising from the incidents…and are cooperating with the investigation.

Credit card processor Global Payments says less than 1.5 million charge cards in North America were affected by a recent data breach.

If your account was affected, Visa and Mastercard have already notified you of the potential for identity theft and illicit charges because of the breach. But cardholder names, addresses and social security numbers were not obtained.

An update to the VISA system caused a 45-minute network outage yesterday, causing some transactions to be rejected at the register. Your card should work this morning.

Groupon had difficulty getting its financials correct before its IPO and it’s in trouble again: Revising both its Q-4 20-11 and full-year numbers to show $14.3 million less income and increased expenses.

So what happened?

Groupon beefed-up its refund-reserve accrual because of the company’s fourth-quarter deal-mix and higher price-point offers — which have higher refund rates. Groupon shares fell over six percent.

TaxMasters and its CEO, Patrick Cox, must pay $195 million in restitution and penalties for defrauding customers and violating the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act 110,000 times.

The latest regulatory filings indicate the company has $4.9 million in assets and $21.6 million in liabilities.

Farmers are planning to plant more corn this season to cash in on higher prices.

Reuters says corn crops will be at a seven-year high, pushing prices down, and the price of wheat and soybeans will be higher, as less of those crops are sown.

Wall Street finished a winning month — and a winning quarter — with the S&P, Dow, and Nasdaq showing a mixed finish on Friday.
The Dow up 66-points.
The S&P up 5-points.
The Nasdaq down 4-points.
Crude oil added 24 cents to close at $103.02 a barrel.
Natural gas down a penny at $2.11.
Gold closed up $17 at $1,671.90 an ounce….silver up 26-cents at $32.35.
Copper climbed 3-cents to $3.82/pound.

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