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Congress approves economic growth plan

BY CSA STAFF

The United States Congress and President George W. Bush Thursday reached a bipartisan agreement designed to boost consumer spending and stimulate the economy.

The economic growth plan will provide approximately $100 billion in temporary relief, according to a White House press release.

The stimulus package will cut taxes from 10% to 0% on the first $6,000 of taxable income for individuals and the first $12,000 of taxable income for couples in 2008. The plan will also provide rebates of up to $600 for individuals and $1,200 for couples. Furthermore, a minimum of $300 per person and $600 per couple would be available to those with earned income of at least $3,000. This relief would be available to everyone with adjusted gross income less than $75,000 for singles and $150,000 for married couples filing jointly.  It will be phased out for taxpayers above those income thresholds. An additional $300 will be provided per child for those who qualify.

The plan was also designed to help spur business investment. According to the White House, the agreement would save businesses approximately $50 billion in near-term taxes through a temporary change to the tax code that will allow American businesses that buy new equipment this year to deduct an additional 50% of the cost of their investment in 2008.

“I am pleased that this agreement meets the criterion that I set forth last week to provide an effective, robust, and temporary set of incentives that will boost our economy and encourage job creation,” President Bush said in a statement. “This package has the right set of policies and is the right size. The incentives in this package will lead to higher consumer spending and increased business investment this year.”

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eBay reports 27% 4Q revenue increase

BY CSA STAFF

SAN JOSE, Calif. eBay Wednesday reported revenue of $2.18 billion for its fourth quarter ended Dec. 31, 2007. This compares to revenue of $1.72 billion for the same period last year, an increase of 27%.

The company reported net income on a GAAP basis of $531 million or 39 cents per diluted share, and non-GAAP net income of $611 million or 45 cents per diluted share, for the quarter. For the same period last year, eBay reported income on a GAAP basis of $346 million, or 25 cents per share, and non-GAAP net income of $431 million, or 31 cents per share.

For the full year, eBay posted $7.67 billion in revenue, net income on a GAAP basis of $348 million or 25 cents per diluted share, and non-GAAP net income of $2.11 billion or $1.53 per diluted share.

“We’re very pleased with the results for the quarter which were strengthened by a solid holiday shopping season,” said eBay president and ceo, Meg Whitman. “We had a remarkably strong year from a financial perspective. We enter 2008 with our most diverse portfolio of ecommerce offerings ever — positioning us to drive long-term growth in the global ecommerce market.”

For the full year 2008, eBay said it expects net revenues in the range of $8.5 billion to $8.75 billion with GAAP earnings per diluted share in the range of $1.27 to $1.31 and non-GAAP earnings per diluted share in the range of $1.63 to $1.67.

For the first quarter 2008, eBay said it expects net revenues in the range of $2 billion to $2.05 billion with GAAP earnings per diluted share in the range of 28 cents to 30 cents and non-GAAP earnings per diluted share in the range of 37 cents to 39 cents.

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Video game sales see record growth in ’07

BY CSA STAFF

WASHINGTON Computer and video game software sales reached $9.5 billion in 2007, 28% over the previous year, and set a new record according to final data compiled by the NPD Group and announced today by the Entertainment Software Association.

The ESA reported that Halo 3, took in more revenue in its first day of sales than the biggest opening weekend ever for a movie (Spider-Man 3) and the final Harry Potter books first day sales, demonstrating the strong growth of the industry.

“The video game industry set the pace over all others in 2007, with record-breaking sales, off-the-charts consumer demand, and innovation reaching from galactic exploration to guitar simulation,” said Michael Gallagher, president and ceo of the ESA. “On average, an astonishing 9 games were sold every second of every day of the year.”

According to the data compiled by the NPD Group, overall U.S. video game console software sales reached $6.6 billion (153.9 million units), computer games sales were $910.7 million (36.4 million units), and a record $2 billion (77.5 million units) in portable software sales. In terms of total units sold, approximately 267.8 million computer and video games were sold in 2007.

Although their has been a lot of controversy surrounding Mature-rated games, according to the NPD Group, the majority of the games sold(56.5%) were rated Everyone 10+. Also, one of the largest genres growing was Family Entertainment, which grew 110% (17.2% of all games sold in 2007, up from 9.1% in 2006). This is clearly an industry strongly rooted in family-friendly entertainment, and not on Mature-rated titles, noted Gallagher.

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