All posts by yingcongfu2017

Taxes and housing prices drive some Chicagoans out

By Yingcong (June) Fu

The third largest city in the U.S., Chicago has been seeing a slow population growth due to high tax rates and living expenses.

According to the census data by the U.S. Census Bureau, the population of Chicago grew 0.9 percent to 2.7 million in the five years from 2010 to 2015, much slower than the growth rate of 2.2 percent in New York and 4.7 percent in Los Angeles.

It is even likely to be surpassed by Houston, the fourth largest city, where the population in the same period grew 8.9 percent to 2.3 million, just 400,000 behind Chicago.

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Fed raises interest rates as expected

By Yingcong (June) Fu

The Federal Reserve’s policy makers raised the federal funds rates rate by 25 basis points on Wednesday as expected, following their two-day meeting.

The federal funds rate–the rate that banks charge each other for overnight loans–was increased to a range of 0.75 percent to 1 percent. It was the third quarter-point rate hike since the Fed began raising interest rates in December 2015.

It was the third quarter-point rate hike since the Fed began raising interest rate in December 2015. (Yingcong (June) Fu/MEDILL)

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Evanston’s European style bakery attracts customers for decades

By Yingcong (June) Fu

Noah Plotkim, a resident of Evanston, has been coming to Bennison’s Bakery twice a month for ten years to buy his favorite donuts. “I think it’s the best bakery in Evanston for sweets,” Plotkim said.

Bennison’s Bakery, located at 1000 Davis St. in Evanston, has been there since 1938. With an average of 700 customers per day, Bennison’s chalked up revenue of $3.5 million last year, said Jory Downer, the owner, who’s the second generation to run the family-owned bakery.

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Chicago startup hub empowers women in technology on International Women’s Day

Yingcong (June) Fu

Sandi Mays, chief information officer at Zayo Group, dresses up for work, but then finds herself surrounded by men in jeans and t-shirts.

She is often interrupted by men when she is the lone woman at meetings at the Boulder, Colorado-based communications technology company, and she sometimes gets left out of social events in the male-dominated workplace.

“When men go out and play golf, you don’t even necessarily get invited. So you are sitting back at the office, working hard, and they’re playing golf,” Mays said. She spoke on a panel to a packed audience of women in technology at 1871 for International Women’s Day on Wednesday.

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Chicago Business Barometer jumps to highest level in 2 years

By Yingcong (June) Fu

The Chicago Business Barometer jumped 7.1 points to 57.4 in February, the highest since January 2015, according to a report released by the Institute for Supply Management in Chicago on Tuesday.

This reading beat the average estimate of 53.49 by 35 economists polled by Bloomberg. According to ISM, a reading above 50 indicates economic expansion while one below 50 indicates contraction.

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Tokyo, eyeing 2020, reinforces Japanese character

By Yingcong (June) Fu

Tokyo is pointing toward its second Olympics, in 2020, after more than half a century. Different from the situation in 1964, when Japan’s economy was emerging after World War II, Tokyo is trying to bring a new global image this time after decades of economic stagnation in Japan.

Consistent with the slogan of “discover tomorrow”, the Tokyo government is polishing the city with well-designed details to depict an ideal urban life in the future–heated seats and women-only cars in the subway system, delicatedly-designated public smoking areas, and extremely clean streets with only a few trash cans.

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Zebra returns to profitability, stock jumps

By Yingcong (June) Fu

Shares of Zebra Technologies Corp. surged 4.8 percent on Thursday as the company reported a profit for the fourth quarter after four consecutive quarterly losses.

The Lincolnshire, Ill.-based printer and mobile computer provider swung to net income of $17 million, or 34 cents per diluted share, in the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31, compared with a net loss of $28 million, or 53 cents per diluted share, in the year-earlier period, beating the consensus estimate of 27.5 cents by eight analysts polled by Bloomberg.

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Zebra expects stronger performance in 2017

By Yingcong (June) Fu

Zebra Technology Corp. is seen as having returned to profitability in the 2016 fourth quarter after four consecutive quarterly losses, and further increasing income in 2017.

The provider of printers and barcode scanners is estimated by analysts to make annual revenue of $3.58 billion in 2017, slightly higher than the estimate in 2016. Adjusted annual income is estimated to be $333.7 million, or $6.34 per diluted share, compared with the estimated $284.3 million, or $5.45 per diluted share in 2016.

Shares are targeted at $93.25, 8.7 percent higher than the closing price of $85.81 on Wednesday. Eight out of 12 analysts polled by Bloomberg rate the stock a buy while the other four say hold.

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Sprint narrows net loss on big increase in subscribers

By Yingcong (June) Fu

Sprint Corp. narrowed its net loss by 43 percent in the most recent quarter as the company logged the largest number of new postpaid phone subscribers in four years.

The telecommunications company said Tuesday that its net loss in the fiscal quarter ended Dec. 31 narrowed to $479 million, or 12 cents per diluted share. from $836 million, or 21 cents per diluted share, in the year-ago period. The results beat the analysts’ consensus estimate of 8 cents, according to Bloomberg.

Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure declared the company is “turning the corner” and gaining ground against competitors Verizon and AT&T.

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U.S. economic growth rate slowed by wider trade deficit

By Yingcong (June) FU

The U.S. Gross Domestic Product grew at an estimated seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 1.9 percent in the fourth quarter, up 1 percentage point from the year-ago period, but slower than the upwardly-revised 3.5 percent annual growth rate in the third quarter, according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis on Friday.

Economists’ consensus estimate was 2.2 percent.

Annual GDP growth totaled 1.6 percent, the lowest since 2011.

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