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Financial 411: Weekly Business Roundup

Friday, May 27, 2011

New York lawmakers have agreed to a cap on local property taxes after Governor Andrew Cuomo reached a deal with the legislature to cap local property taxes at 2 percent, or the rate of inflation — whichever is less. Local tax relief was one of the governor's big campaign pledges. But is this bill the game-changer he promised?

In another possible deal this week, hedge fund manager David Einhorn said he's in talks to acquire a minority stake in the New York Mets worth $200 million. The Wilpons are having some financial troubles — in part because they invested with Bernie Madoff and his Ponzi scheme and are now being sued by the court appointed bankruptcy trustee. So why would a minority stake be attractive to someone like David Einhorn?

On the topic of possible sales and acquisitions, Martha Stewart is set to rejoin the board of her company, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia — after an enforced five-year ban in a settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Her company has hired Blackstone Group to help her explore a sale. But why sell now, and who's interested?

Greg David, director of the Business & Economics Reporting Program at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism, weighs in on these questions and talks about other business news that made the headlines this week.

Markets

Stocks rose ahead of a three-day weekend, led by energy and materials stocks. The Dow rose 39 points,to close at 12,442. The  S&P 500 gained five points, closing at 1331. The Nasdaq was up 14 points, to close at 2,797.

Disclosure note: David Einhorn's wife, Cheryl Einhorn, is a paid consultant for WNYC.

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