Business Briefs – December 27, 2016

2017 Investment Forecasts: Possibly Good, No Longer Great

Get ready for investments to be merely good again.

They’ve already been great for years, as both stocks and bonds have delivered fat returns since the worst of the financial crisis passed in 2009.

But after such a strong and long gallop upward, markets have many reasons to slow down, analysts and fund managers say.

Growing Number of Americans Are Retiring Outside the U.S.

A growing number of Americans are retiring outside the United States. The number grew 17 percent between 2010 and 2015 and is expected to increase over the next 10 years as more baby boomers retire.

Just under 400,000 American retirees are now living abroad, according to the Social Security Administration. The countries they have chosen most often: Canada, Japan, Mexico, Germany and the United Kingdom.

Retirees most often cite the cost of living as the reason for moving elsewhere, said Olivia S. Mitchell, director of the Pension Research Council at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School.

Feds Say 3 Hacked Law Firms’ Networks, Made Insider Trades

NEW YORK (AP) – Federal prosecutors have charged three Chinese nationals accused of profiting from insider information about mergers and acquisitions by hacking into the networks of law firms working on the deals, authorities said on Tuesday.

The three men made more than $4 million in profits by buying stock in companies that were about to be acquired and then selling the shares after the acquisitions were announced, U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said.

Prosecutors say the trio got the insider information between April 2014 and late 2015 by hacking into the email systems of multiple international law firms with offices in New York.

One defendant, Iat Hong, was arrested on Monday in Hong Kong and is awaiting extradition. Two others, Bo Zheng and Chin Hung, have not been arrested.

Ford Fusion, Mercury Milan Cars Investigated for Brake Issue

NEW YORK (AP) – The U.S. government is investigating some Ford Fusion and Mercury Milan cars because the brake pedal may lose pressure, making it hard for drivers to stop the vehicle.

Three crashes were blamed on the braking issue, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said on Tuesday. The brake pedal can go “soft” when driving on slippery or uneven surfaces. NHTSA received 141 complaints, with some reporting that their car stopped past red lights, leaving them in the middle of flowing traffic.

The investigation covers Ford Fusion and Mercury Milan cars with model years 2007 to 2009. NHTSA estimated that there are about 475,000 of those vehicles.

Cuba Sees Economic Slump Despite U.S. Detente

HAVANA (AP) – Cuban officials announced on Tuesday that the island’s economy shrank this year despite an increased opening with the United States.

Economy Minister Ricardo Cabrisas told Parliament that the island’s gross domestic product fell nearly 1 percent after seeing a growth rate of nearly 3 percent from 2011-2015. He blamed the slump on shrinking exports and financial troubles in allied Venezuela.

The last time official figures showed a fall in Cuba’s gross domestic product was in 1993 after the Soviet Union collapsed, abruptly stripping away much of the country’s aid and trade.