All posts by jinwu

VIDEO: Chicago online florist finds efficiencies, and customers

By Jin Wu

According to IBIS World, by January 2015, there are more than 35,000 offline florists and more than 3,000 online flower shops in U.S. In spite of this strong competition, with only a few thousand dollars invested to start the business, Chicago-based Flowers for Dreams LLC was profitable even in its first year.

The 2-year-old Chicago’s online flower store Flowers for Dreams made more than one million dollars in revenue since it was founded. In 2014, it gained more than $100,000 in profit and a quarter of it, $33,608, was donated to 12 charities. It doubled the number in 2013. Its past Valentine’s Day sales was six times of last year’s Valentine’s Day sales, according to Steven Dyme, co-founder of the business. Continue reading VIDEO: Chicago online florist finds efficiencies, and customers

Chicago start-ups embrace digital health

By Jin Wu

2014 proved to be a stellar year for digital health. According to data from Startup Health, a New York based digital health accelerator, $6.5 billion was invested into the digital health sector in 2014, up 124 percent from 2013. The money is coming not only from venture capital, but also from the private sector as well as individual partners. Continue reading

Illinois unemployment hits 6-year low in January

By Jin Wu

Regional and state unemployment rates were little changed in January, according to a release Tuesday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Illinois reports an unemployment rate of 6.1 percent, the lowest since 2009.

Illinois unemployment rate has been dropping for six consecutive years, reaching 6.1 percent in January. (Bureau of Labor Statistics, Jin Wu/Medill)

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U.S. Producer Price Index Dropped January due to Cheap Oil Prices

by Jin Wu

U.S. Producer Price Index (PPI), which measures changes in prices received by domestic producers, posted a decline in January mainly due to plunging energy costs and a strengthening of the U.S. dollar, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Wednesday.

The Producer Price Index (PPI) for final demand decreased a seasonally adjusted 0.8 percent in January from December. It’s the biggest drop since the new PPI calculation system was begun experimentally in November 2009. Continue reading

Allscripts still lags amid healthcare technology rise

By Jin Wu

Allscripts Healthcare Solutions Inc. (NASDAQ: MDRX), the Chicago-based healthcare information technology provider, is getting divided ratings from analysts.

There are currently 28 analysts that Bloomberg tracks covering Allscripts. Of those 28, 11 have a buy rating, 16 have a hold rating, and one has a sell rating.

Since the fourth quarter of 2012, Allscripts has been posting losses in net income while the whole healthcare technology industry is growing steadily, boosted by federal subsidies that encourage hospitals and doctors to digitize medical records. In the third quarter that ended September 30, Allscripts lost $25.8 million.

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MATTER officially opens, boosting healthcare innovation

By Jin Wu

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated the number of health care entrepreneurs that had begin working in MATTER’s incubator. The correct number is now included below.

Governor Bruce Rauner, Senator Dick Durbin and Mayor Rahm Emanuel marked the official opening of MATTER, Chicago’s new entrepreneurship and innovation incubator in the Merchandise Mart for digital healthcare, medical devices, diagnostics and biopharma start-ups, to “get Illinois’ healthcare technology booming.”

MATTER, the not-for-profit incubator, has already got its first groups of members; more than 100 healthcare entrepreneurs moved into the open space last week and dozens more will move in in a couple weeks, according to MATTER’s CEO Steven Collens.

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Stericycle sustains revenue growth; but stock falls

by Jin Wu

Stericycle Inc. (NASDAQ: SRCL), the Illinois-based world’s largest provider of regulated medical waste management, reported higher profits in both the fourth quarter and the year 2014 due to its successful acquisition strategy.

For the quarter ended December 31, Stericycle earned $82.5 million, or 96 cents per diluted share, compared with $78.2 million, or 90 cents per diluted share, in the year-earlier quarter. However, the diluted EPS missed the $1.12 consensus estimate of seven analysts, and the stock dropped 2.48 percent. Continue reading

AbbVie expenses yield loss, stock falls

by Jin Wu

AbbVie Inc. (NYSE: ABBV), the Illinois-based biopharmaceutical company separated from Abbott Laboratories in 2013, reported lower profits in both the fourth quarter and the full year due to foreign currency volatility and expenses of the terminated acquisition of Shire Plc., a specialty biopharmaceutical company headquartered in Ireland. The stock dropped 4.3 percent.

For the quarter ended December 31, AbbVie swung to a loss of $810 million, or 51 cents per diluted share, from earnings of $1.13 billion, or 70 cents per diluted share, in the year-earlier quarter. The diluted EPS missed the negative 44 cents consensus estimate. Continue reading

Zimmer Q4 earnings beat estimates

by Jin Wu

Zimmer Holdings Inc. (NYSE and SIX: ZMH), the Indiana-based joint replacement manufacturer, reported lower profits in both the fourth quarter and the full year due to foreign currency volatility and expenses of its pending merger with Biomet Inc., another medical devices manufacturer.

For the quarter ended December 31, Zimmer earned $156.6 million, or 91 cents per diluted share, down 33.6 percent from $235.9 million, or $1.36 per diluted share, in the year-earlier quarter. The diluted EPS missed the $1.44 analysts’ estimate compiled by Bloomberg. Continue reading

Experts cite Ebola’s indirect cost, urge public-private partnerships

By Jin Wu

Chicago health care and economic experts said the indirect cost of Ebola is enormous and partnerships between public and private sectors could be a solution for “the market failures” in Ebola prevention and treatment.

Dozens of people attended a public conversation called “The Cost of Health Crisis” Wednesday night at Chicago’s Harold Washington Library, discussing about the economics of pandemics, in this case, Ebola. Continue reading