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BUSINESS BRIEFLY

Affluent in survey won't pay all college costs for children

NEW YORK -- About half of Americans with assets of more than $250,000 say they won't pay the entire tab for their children's college education, according to Bank of America.

About 47 percent of those surveyed in the Merrill Lynch Affluent Insights Survey released Monday said they didn't or won't pay the full cost of higher education. Limiting access to the bank of mom and dad will help teach their kids financial responsibility, 29 percent of respondents said.

Tuition and fees for in-state students at public four-year institutions averaged $7,605 for the recently completed school year, according to the College Board, a New York-based nonprofit. At private nonprofit four-year colleges and universities, costs averaged $27,293.

About half of parents said they hoped to impart "financial know-how" to their children.

Parents also were inclined to lend a helping hand to adult children, with about 82 percent saying they would financially support children in their "early adult years."

-- Bloomberg News

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HSBC card unit deal near?

NEW YORK (AP) -- The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Capital One Financial Corp. is nearing a possible deal to acquire HSBC Holdings PLC's U.S. credit card portfolio.

The newspaper based the Monday report on several unidentified people it said were familiar with the matter.

The Journal reports that the two lenders are in final negotiations for a deal that would include about $30 billion of credit card loans.

Still, the newspaper says that the talks could still fall apart and notes that Wells Fargo & Co. also had been interested in the HSBC assets.

An HSBC spokesman declined to comment Monday. Capital One, based in McLean, Va., did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

In June, Capital One agreed to buy ING's online banking unit for $9 billion.

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Rival networks taunt CNBC

NEW YORK (AP) -- Twice last week, CNBC, the nation's most popular business network, stayed on taped programming when important economic news broke in the evening while its two smaller rivals were covering the events live.

Bloomberg Television and Fox Business Network both extended live coverage on Friday night, when the Standard & Poor's Ratings Services downgraded the United States' debt rating for the first time.

It also stayed with regular programming on July 31, when President Obama announced an agreement with legislative leaders to raise the nation's debt ceiling.

CNBC noted that it ran a Sunday special featuring Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner's first public comments on the debt downgrade and was pre-empting programming for a two-hour special Monday on the volatile economic markets.

Fox, however, was quick to leap, running a full-page ad in Monday's Wall Street Journal with onscreen pictures from July 31, contrasting its live debt ceiling coverage with the show CNBC was airing, "How I Made My Millions."

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Tops on fast-growth list

Tops Friendly Markets landed near the top of a national list ranking the fastest-growing retail chains.

Trade magazine STORES, put out by the National Retail Federation, ranked Tops No. 5 on its Hot 100 Retailers list.

Stores that made the list were singled out for having "unique business models" and for having "both the means and the fortitude to expand while others contracted or stood pat."

First place went to Ascena Retail Group (formerly Dress Barn), followed by Amazon.com, California's Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market and hhgregg, an Indiana-based electronics and appliance retailer.

The publication put Tops' retail sales at $2.26 million.

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