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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- U.S. stocks closed lower Thursday as oil prices dropped sharply.

The Dow lost 40.27 (-0.22 percent) to finish at 18,162.35.

The Nasdaq fell 4.58 (-0.09 percent) to close at 5,241.83, while the S&P 500 finished at 2,141.34, down 2.95 (-0.14 percent) from its open.

Crude oil slid over 2 percent with prices hitting just about $51 a barrel.

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Nieman Marcus(NEW YORK) --  Holiday gift-giving is always a nightmare.

What do you get your sister-in-law? The neighbors? After all, they did let their dog run around your yard all year.

Well, Neiman Marcus has a solution for you: Thursday it published the 90th edition of its annual holiday gift-giving guide, replete with ideas and products for that person in your life you're willing to drop a cool five or six figures on.

For that new nephew you might have, how about a “curated collection” of first edition or early-printed children’s books that span 80 years? It’ll set you back $100,000, but it’s good to introduce them to the finer things early on in life.

 While Christmas Day is full of cheer for most, your curmudgeonly uncle can be such a drag. “For the pessimist,” Neiman Marcus' 2016 Christmas Book recommends a $25,000 mattress that features a built-in lockbox.

“To the pessimist, the end is always near,” the store advises. “Stock your valuables away in a fire proof and impenetrable lockbox built inside a king-size mattress with matching foundation.”

 Finally, what does Dad want? He's always been an enigma, but he loves football.

For a mere $65,000, you can let him and three friends train with famed quarterback Joe Montana for a single day.

While it’s easy to poke fun at the prices and the products, each purchase of one of the outlandish gifts sees Neiman Marcus make donations to its charity, The Heart of Neiman Marcus Foundation.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Wende Zomnir embodies her brand, Urban Decay. The company’s committed litmus test -- to be feminine, dangerous and fun -- is likely inspired by her personal style and character. She’s a self-described beauty junkie who set the bar high with the company’s first tagline, “Does pink make you puke?”, and pushed the cosmetics industry to boundaries that 20 years ago seemed outrageous -- but today are the new, fabulous norm.

“When we started Urban Decay, if you walked into a department store, it was basically a sea of pink, beige and red and that was all you had the options for,” said Zomnir. “Then you could go to the drugstore and find cool blue, purple, green, but the quality wasn’t there.”

So like many wise entrepreneurs, Zomnir took advantage of what she saw as a consumer need and filled that demand with quality cosmetics outside the typically offered neutral color palette. This meant breaking into the $18 billion makeup industry -- but instead of simply creating a brand, she built an empire.

“We wanted to make a fundamental change in how people viewed beauty,” Zomnir said in a recent interview of "Real Biz with Rebecca Jarvis."

Her co-founders, Sandy Lerner and David Soward, teamed up with Zomnir to start Urban Decay in 1996, taking somewhat unconventional titles.

“We came up with ‘co-conspirators’ because our original vision was, ‘We aren’t going to knock on the door of the cosmetics department, we’re going to knock it down.’”

Today, Urban Decay has somewhat of a cult following that has grown over decades of being bold. Sometimes, that can mean receiving backlash on some of their racier product names that seem to never stick to convention.

“Our last mascara, Perversion, there was a lot of controversy -- should we call it something else or should we keep it?” Zomnir said. “You know the whole idea with Perversion: it’s bigger, blacker, badder, it’s this dark, thick volumizing mascara, and some people thought that was pushing the envelope too much.”

Urban Decay, which was bought by L’Oréal in 2012 for an estimated $350 million, didn’t become a household name by being timid, and there’s no reason to believe that will ever be the case. It may all be pretty on the outside, but Zomnir has learned it takes more than aesthetics to build an internationally renowned brand.

“There’s this perfect marriage of art and commerce that has to happen in beauty, and I think it’s a really rare thing,” she said.

To find out more about Urban Decay and hear Wende Zomnir’s unique story, watch her on "Real Biz with Rebecca Jarvis" and look out for her podcast episode coming soon. For a look behind the scenes, follow Rebecca Jarvis at

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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Desiree Navarro/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — MetLife just put Snoopy in the dog house.

For over 30 years, Snoopy has been the face of MetLife Insurance, appearing on sales and marketing materials and even the company's blimps. On Thursday the "Peanuts" character was given the pink slip.

The insurance company announced that it was ending its 31-year relationship with the beloved cartoon character in 2017, as it shifts its brand strategy toward “a clean, modern aesthetic.”

"We brought in Snoopy over 30 years ago to make our company more friendly and approachable during a time when insurance companies were seen as cold and distant. Snoopy helped drive our business and served an important role at the time," said Esther Lee, global chief marketing officer of MetLife, in a statement.

“As we focus on our future, it's important that we associate our brand directly with the work we do and the partnership we have with our customers," Lee added.

The company said it wanted to bring “contemporary blue and green colors together in a symbol of partnership to form an M for MetLife” in its new branding.

Snoopy’s exact age isn’t known, though he came onto the scene when his first cartoon was reportedly published in October of 1950. He's the creation of cartoonist Charles Schulz.

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iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — Jobless claims slumped last week, increasing by 13,000, according to the latest figures released Thursday by the Labor Department.

For the week ending Oct. 15, the number of people filing for benefits climbed from the previous week’s revised level of 247,000 the previous week to 260,000, marking the 85th consecutive week initial jobless claims came in below 300,000. It’s the longest streak since 1970fj, the Labor Department says.

The Labor Department said there were no "special factors" impacting that week's figures.

The four-week moving average decreased by 2,250 to 251,750.
Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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Erik McGregor/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- California Attorney General Kamala Harris has launched a criminal investigation into whether Wells Fargo employees committed false impersonation and identity theft as part of an accounts scandal that has engulfed the bank in recent weeks.

The opening of the investigation comes more than a month after the bank was fined $185 million amid allegations that employees had opened as many as 2 million credit and deposit accounts without customers’ knowledge or permission.

Documents shared with ABC News include a search warrant requesting, among other things, documents and data related to bank products and services “that have been identified as being created or issued for the Customer without the Customer’s consent,” between May 2011 and July 2015.

According to the warrant, investigators are also requesting the the names and other identifying information for employees and managers who may have opened or authorized the opening of accounts allegedly without customers’ permission.

Asked about the California investigation, a Wells Fargo spokesman said that the bank was cooperating by providing the requested information.

A spokesperson for the California Attorney General’s office did not offer further details.

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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- U.S. stocks closed higher Wednesday for a second day, as oil prices rallied.

The Dow added 40.68 ( 0.22 percent) to finish at 18,202.62.

The Nasdaq gained 2.57 ( 0.05 percent) to close at 5,246.41, while the S&P 500 finished at 2,144.29, up 4.69 ( 0.22 percent) from its open.

Crude oil rose about 1 percent with prices hitting under $52 a barrel.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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Courtesy Chris Kiley(NEW YORK) -- A man in Connecticut figured out how to turn Samsung’s nightmare – exploding Galaxy Note 7s that had to be recalled and ultimately taken off the market, reportedly costing the company billions – into his Halloween costume.

Chris Kiley, 32, said he is a lifelong Apple fan who got the idea to give Samsung "a little bit of ribbing" this Halloween when he realized he could use his vaporizer to create smoke.

The Note 7s were first under an exchange program and then recalled after multiple reports of the smartphones overheating and exploding while charging. When reports surfaced of similar incidents with the replacements, Samsung permanently halted production on the model and the FAA banned them from flights to, from or within the U.S.

“There was so much misinformation and unclear information about what to do,” Kiley said of Samsung's response. “So it's topical and when the idea came to me with the vaporizer I thought, ‘Oh that would be amazing.’”

To make his costume, Kiley collected a handful of discarded Note 7 boxes. He drilled holes into the boxes and then used hot glue to attach them onto an old t-shirt.

He used connectors to split plastic tubing into the different Note 7 boxes on his shirt. The tubing then goes up to his mouth and he can create smoke by exhaling into the tube.

A Facebook video Kiley posted of his costume has received more than 2.5 million views since Friday.

"Overall, people get it for the lighthearted joke that it is," he said about the huge response. "Samsung does normally make a good phone so it’s not really punching down."

He said he thinks the company can handle the joke. "They’re on top, so they can take a little bit of ribbing."

Samsung is telling customers they can exchange their Galaxy Note 7 phones for another Samsung smartphone, or receive a refund.

Kiley said the idea of creating a smoking Note 7 costume also appealed to him because he was looking for a couple’s costume. His fiancé now plans to dress up as a firefighter.

"The costume hasn’t left my room since I made it but now I’m looking at some costume contests," he said.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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T-Mobile(WASHINGTON) -- The nation's number three wireless carrier was fined Wednesday after touting "unlimited" plans that weren't so unlimited.

The Federal Communications Commission said Wednesday T-Mobile will pay $48 million "as part of a settlement resolving an investigation into whether the company adequately disclosed speed and data restrictions for its 'unlimited' data plan subscribers."

According to the agency, T-Mobile would slow down the Internet speeds of heavy data users without telling customers how much use would trigger the lower speed.

"Consumers should not have to guess whether so-called ‘unlimited’ data plans contain key restrictions, like speed constraints, data caps, and other material limitations," FCC Enforcement Bureau Chief Travis LeBlanc said in a statement. “When broadband providers are accurate, honest and upfront in their ads and disclosures, consumers aren’t surprised and they get what they’ve paid for."

The settlement includes $35.5 million in "consumer benefits" offered to T-Mobile and Metro PCS customers and a $7.5 million fine.

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iStock/Thinkstock(AUBURN HILLS, Mich.) -- Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) is recalling nearly 200,000 2016 and 2017 Jeep Wranglers in the U.S. over faulty wiring.

The company says the wires may disconnect from the vehicles' impact sensors in certain crash events.

"Impact sensors help determine when airbags and pretensioners should be activated," FCA explained in a statement Wednesday. "A wiring disconnect may prevent their deployment."

FCA says it spotted the issue during one of its routine crash tests. So far, no injuries or accidents have been reported.

Affected customers will be notified when they can visit their local dealer to get their wires rerouted at no charge.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — New home construction fell again in September to its lowest rate in 15 months, but that’s not all bad news.
According to the Department of Commerce, while there was a sharp drop in the number of multi-family homes being built, there was an eight percent gain in single family home construction. National Association of Homebuilders Chief Economist Robert Dietz says that rise in single family home starts is a good sign for the economy.
“As we see gains in single family construction the homebuilding component of the overall economy should grow and that should be good news in terms of economic output and job creation,” Dietz tells ABC News.
Since the September slump comes on the heels of a summer surge in multi-family home building, Dietz says the overall decline points to a market adjustment. But it may also just come down to demographics and shifting demand.
“Aging millennials, as they obtain careers are able to save for a down payment get married and have kids, there's going to be an increasing demand for the single family side of the market,” Dietz says.
So while those numbers are down, Dietz advises not to let the bad news about the economy overshadow the good.
“Take it with a bit of a grain of salt,” he told ABC News. “On the single family side, it's continued growth long trend.”
Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Authorities are warning consumers about a new scam to steal their money -- this time at the gas pump.

Criminals known as "skimmers" are installing devices that give them access to a driver's bank and credit information.

"They can breach the gas pump and install them and they can be there for weeks or months without being discovered," Chris Gagne, of the U.S. Secret Service Criminal Investigation Division, told ABC News.

While authorities recently alerted drivers about another kind of predator at the pump known as "sliders," thieves who slip inside open cars and steal a victim's valuables while filing up their tank, law enforcement officials say skimmers are even tougher to spot.

Gagne said his agency has noticed a "considerable increase" in credit card skimming.

One suspect was caught on surveillance footage breaking into a gas pump where he had installed a device to steal, or skim, credit card information off the magnetic strip.

It is impossible to tell just by looking at a gas pump if a device could be secretly recording your data. Some skimmers are so high-tech they immediately send out stolen information over Bluetooth.

Security officials recommend that drivers pay for their gas inside the station. They also suggest choosing a gas pump close to the attendant, because thieves normally set up the skimming devices out of sight. Monitoring your bank account frequently for fraudulent activity is another important habit to ward off suspicious charges.

Authorities are now training gas stations on how to detect skimming devices.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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LuckyNastia/iStock/Thinkstock(HANOVER, Pa.) -- One Mickey D's patron got the surprise of a lifetime last week, after the restaurant threw her a 100th birthday party.

Nadine Baum turned 100 years old on Oct. 13 and celebrated by eating lunch at her local McDonald's in Hanover, Pennsylvania with her son, Mike Baum.

But the centenarian did not know that the staff had organized a party for her.

"We had cake, flowers, balloons and we just sang 'Happy Birthday' to her and let her eat lunch," McDonald's employee Sandy Arentz, 52, told ABC News. "She's very pleasant. She's talkative and friendly to everybody. We celebrated this milestone to show her how special she is."

Arentz, a 35-year employee of McDonald's, said Baum had been coming in for sit-down meals for years and developed relationships with the staff.

Arentz's colleague Ginny Slaubaugh, 62, who’s been with that Pennsylvania McDonald's franchise for almost 40 years, told ABC News that she met Baum while working the front counter.

"Last year, she was 99 and me and another girl took money out of her own pockets for a cupcake, [and] we had a card passed around," Slaubaugh said. "Nadine, she's special, of course. She's beautiful. You would not believe that she was 100."

Slaubaugh said her manager Sean Patterson offered to take care of all expenses for Baum's 100th birthday celebration this year, and gifted her with free meals for life.

"If you could talk about a surprise," Baum told ABC News, laughing. "I just felt wonderful. It's just such good feeling to know that you have such good friends.

"I said that I'm going to go in 3 times a day, every day," she said.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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Qilai Shen/Bloomberg via Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Unable to spend adequate time at the company’s San Francisco headquarters, Visa CEO Charlie Scharf will step down from his post as the head of the payments company effective Dec. 1, according to the company.

The announcement on Monday surprised analysts, as the relatively young CEO has overseen a generally successful period at the company, including the company's share value growing more than 130 percent while he was in charge.

Visa said that its board had selected Alfred Kelly, a current member of its board and a former president of American Express, to take on the role being vacated by Scharf.

While Scharf did not elaborate in great detail on his motivation to leave, he was quoted in the company’s announcement as saying that “running a San Francisco based company just doesn’t work for me personally right now and wouldn’t be fair to Visa.”

In a note to investors on Monday, analysts with Deutsche Bank said: “Although, the announcement came as a surprise to us, it appears Charlie needs to spend more time with his family on the East Coast.”

The analysts, Bryan Keane, Ashish Sabadra and Korey Marcello, noted that the board’s search process -- which began when Scharf notified it “of his preliminary decision in mid-Sep 2016” -- was “a relatively short time for a traditional CEO search” for a company of Visa’s stature.

However, they said “early feedback is that [Kelly] was well regarded” at American Express, and they expect the company to continue growing at a steady clip.

The company said that Kelly would join Visa on Oct. 31 as CEO-designate, and that Scharf would work in an advisory role “for several months” after Kelly takes the reins on the Dec. 1.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A group of California-based marketers who pitched online “free trials” of skin care products has been permanently barred from using the deceptive marketing and billing practices -- some you might've seen pop up online.

A series of court orders targeted 29 marketers who sold Auravie, Dellure, LéOr Skincare and Miracle Face Kit products online, ordering them to shape up and to "surrender virtually all of their assets to the FTC, totaling over $2.7 million," the Federal Trade Commission said.

The FTC, which brought the lawsuit, said that the marketers’ “risk-free trials” weren’t really free because consumers got stuck in ongoing subscriptions that charged hefty monthly fees.

The scheme worked like this: Consumers clicked on the online ads and provided a credit or debit card for shipping and handling -- typically $4.95 or less -- but they usually didn’t understand that by doing so, they were also agreeing to continue getting more skin care products, every month, for $97.88, the FTC said.

In addition, the 10-day free trial period began the moment the order was placed -- not when the product was received -- meaning some consumers didn’t get their trial product until after the 10 days had passed or nearly passed.

Consumers who tried to cancel and get their money back often were told it was too late to return the product, an FTC staff attorney told ABC News. Even if the container was not opened and the company agreed to take it back, the consumer would still owe a restocking fee.

Sales involving continuing monthly charges aren’t illegal, as long as the consumer understands what is happening, the FTC attorney said. The trouble occurs when there’s no prominent disclosure.

The FTC has pledged to continue attacking “scams that rely on supposed ‘free trial’ offers and unauthorized credit card charges,” according to Jessica Rich, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection.

Meanwhile, here’s some advice:

  • Check the record of any online “free trial” offer by searching the name and the word “scam” to see what other consumers are saying. The FTC attorney says this can yield quick red flags about suspicious offers.
  • Read the terms and conditions of any offer before signing up.
  • Watch for pre-checked boxes on any online offer. You might be agreeing to something you didn’t want.
  • If you have a problem, dispute it immediately with your credit card issuer (you may need to be persistent), and if you don’t get satisfaction, file a complaint at

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.








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