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Posts Tagged ‘cnn’

Olive Garden is red hot again

In Uncategorized on December 17, 2014 at 11:27 am

Is Olive Garden food that bad? We tried it 

Darden Restaurants, the parent company of The Olive Garden, is hotter than a pot of boiling (and salted) pasta water.

Shares of Darden (DRI) are up more than 15% since activist hedge fund Starboard Value won control of the company’s board of directors at Darden’s shareholder meeting in mid-October.

Starboard is the group that bashed Olive Garden for what it thought was sub-par food and service.

Darden reported its latest quarterly results after the closing bell Tuesday. And it appears that Starboard is already having a positive impact on the financials.

The company reported a profit of 28 cents a share. That was up sharply from a year ago and better than analysts’ forecasts of 27 cents.

Sales were $1.56 billion. That also topped estimates. Excluding revenue from Red Lobster, which Darden sold earlier this year to a private equity firm, sales were up 5% from a year ago. The stock rose nearly 2% in after hours trading on the news.

darden stock

Now the focus is mostly on Olive Garden. (Darden also owns LongHorn Steakhouse, Bahama Breeze and several other smaller restaurant chains.)

Never ending corporate shakeup? Starboard had been pushing Darden to make some big changes.

Starboard put out a blistering, 294-slide presentation earlier this year detailing what it thought were major culinary problems at the Olive Garden, including failure to salt pasta water, pouring excessive amounts of gloopy sauce on its food and too many breadsticks.

This is the first quarter with the new regime in control. So it will be interesting to see if the company decides to shy away from some of the big promotions that made it famous, such as never ending pasta bowls. Starboard was very critical of practices that it thought were wasteful and hurt profits.

Related: Olive Garden flunks CNNMoney’s taste test

Former CEO Clarence Otis, who had already announced plans to step down at the end of the year back in July, decided to leave earlier than that after Starboard took over the board. His interim replacement is COO Gene Lee.

Other Darden executives have been kicked out of the corporate kitchen too. The CFO and senior vice president for government and community affairs said last month that they will be leaving the company.

Last month Darden also announced plans to improve efficiency at Olive Garden and LongHorn restaurants. Lee said the goal was for the company to be “limiting the number of distractions that divert our attention from what matters most — continually working to improve the food and service we offer our guests.”

And in another sign that Starboard was not happy with how the company was doing, Darden said last month that it was eliminating the use of corporate jets for company leaders. Darden said it will “cease flight operations immediately and expects to sell its aircraft in due course.”

Starboard on the war path. The Darden victory caps a busy year for Starboard.

The hedge fund also took a stake in Yahoo (YHOO, Tech30) earlier this year and wrote a letter to CEO Marissa Mayer urging her to merge the company with AOL (AOL, Tech30). (Starboard actually fought and lost a battle for control of AOL back in 2012).

Starboard acquired a stake in packaging giant MeadWestvaco (MWV) this year as well and is pushing for changes at that company.

Most recently, Starboard acquired a stake in office supplies retailer Staples (SPLS). It already has a position in Staples rival Office Depot (ODP). Both stocks surged on the news as investors speculated that Starboard might want to push Staples and Office Depot to merge.

But Darden is Starboard’s signature investment.

Wall Street will be watching closely to see if Starboard can boost the company’s sales and profits. And diners will be eager to see if the Olive Garden’s food tastes any different.

They may also want to count their breadsticks.

Article source: http://rss.cnn.com/~r/rss/money_latest/~3/hsfAdCN9D4o/index.html

Burt Reynolds’ Smokey and the Bandit Trans Am sells for $450,000

In Uncategorized on December 17, 2014 at 11:27 am

'Smokey and the Bandit' Trans Am sells for $450k 

The Pontiac Trans Am owned by Burt Reynolds and based on the one in his movie Smokey and the Bandit sold at auction for $450,000.

The car was only expected to fetch between $60,000 to $80,000, but fans of the 1977 movie started a bidding war that pushed the price up Monday.

The sale was part of Reynolds’ private collection and never actually appeared in the movie or its two sequels. Reynolds sold a large collection of his memorabilia through Julien’s Auctions at the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas.

Related: Most expensive cars sold at Pebble Beach

Other items sold include a red nylon Bandit jacket that Reynolds wore in the movie which went for $34,375, a pair of Bandit cowboy boots when went for $20,000 and go cart version of the Trans Am which went for $13,750.

'Cowardly Lion' costume sells for $3.1M 

The auction also included items from his other films, such as the canoe used in his movie Deliverance, which went for $17,500, and the football helmet he wore in The Longest Yard, which sold for $11,250.

Related: DiMaggio’s love letters to Marilyn Monroe sell for $78,000

The catalog of items he was selling ran more than 200 pages. Reynolds, who is 78, said that he was selling the items because “it is time to downsize” and find new homes for the items.

“It is bittersweet for me to let these things go as I no longer have room for them,” he wrote. “At this stage of my life I find it very difficult to manage them all.”

Related: Easy Rider bike sold for $1.35 million

Article source: http://rss.cnn.com/~r/rss/money_latest/~3/X8Q8m3IcLcI/index.html

Some companies won’t survive the oil meltdown

In Uncategorized on December 17, 2014 at 11:27 am
cash crunch oil


America’s shale oil boom has been the darling of investment circles in recent years. People were throwing cash at these companies, hoping to get a piece of the rapid growth.

Not anymore.

The dramatic plunge in oil prices has made some shale projects unprofitable. Investors are waking up to the realization that not all shale oil is created equally.

Drilling for oil is extremely capital intensive. Companies often borrow money to fund the exploration and drilling. Now that oil is sitting at just $55, it’s likely to get much more difficult for shale players to get the financing they need after years of low interest and bond rates.

Investors are betting that at least some of these more speculative shale companies won’t survive if oil prices stay low for a prolonged period.

Don’t take our word for it. Just look at the junk bond market, which has been rattled by the energy turmoil. High-yield energy bonds have tumbled almost 10% this month alone, according to SP Dow Jones Indices.

“It becomes a vicious spiral. If bonds stay where they are, it’s going to be very difficult for these companies to raise new capital to continue to live,” said Spencer Cutter, a credit analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence.

high yield debt
High-yield U.S. corporate energy bonds have tumbled in recent weeks amid the oil price meltdown.

Cash flow negative: Huge energy companies like ExxonMobil (XOM) and Chevron (CVX) have plenty of financial flexibility to weather low oil prices, but that’s not the case for many smaller, highly-leveraged players.

Some of them are cash flow negative, meaning they aren’t generating enough revenue to offset the heavy investments they are making. Up until now, they’ve plugged those holes by selling stock or raising equity.

But $55 oil has changed that equation. Few investors are willing to provide affordable financing.

For example, the bonds of SandRidge Energy (SD), Midstates Petroleum (MPO) and Resolute Energy (REN) are trading at distressed levels of just 50 cents or 60 cents on the dollar, according to FactSet.

“It’s hard to go from cash flow negative to cash flow positive on the turn of a dime when the commodity you’re selling falls by 45%,” said Cutter.

Related: Big Oil hits the brakes on shale spending

Defaults ahead: The cash crunch is likely to be exacerbated by pressure from the banks, which may start reeling in credit revolvers currently cushioning shale companies’ balance sheets.

“Banks are not notoriously friendly in these down cycles. The lack of financing alternatives could speed up the demise” of some companies, said Tim Gramatovich, chief investment officer and co-founder of Peritus Asset Management.

Gramatovich predicted a “considerable” amount of defaults among high-yield energy bonds due to the looming cash crunch.

Related: As oil falls, Middle East stocks tank

Fasten your seat belts: While most Americans aren’t active investors in high-yield energy stocks, many do have exposure through mutual funds.

Cash has poured into energy bonds in recent years as investors searched for yield in today’s low-rate environment. Energy bonds have swelled to 15% of the U.S. high-yield market, according to SP.

Retail investors “are involved as energy investors whether they want to or not because that’s where the yield has been the past few years,” said Gramatovich.

Another financial crisis? They could also be hurt by increased turbulence caused by the energy turmoil. There tends to be a domino effect in these situations where portfolio managers sell off unrelated assets to meet investor redemptions and margin calls.

Related: Tumbling oil could take thousands of jobs

“Another unsettled and unsettling issue is whether the plunge in oil prices might trigger a new financial crisis as investors bail out of the junk bond market, which is very illiquid,” Ed Yardeni, president of investment advisory Yardeni Associated, wrote in a note to clients on Tuesday.

Despite the liquidity concerns about the bond market, Cutter believes the systemic risk directly tied to U.S. energy bonds “would be minimal and short lived.”

The real risk to the broader markets, he said, is the threat of a default by a major oil exporter like Russia.

Article source: http://rss.cnn.com/~r/rss/money_latest/~3/iV7vvz5ystA/index.html

T-Mobile will roll over your data

In Uncategorized on December 17, 2014 at 11:27 am

T-Mobile CEO on music, Amazon and Sprint 

T-Mobile unveiled its latest disruptive move: It’s letting you roll over your unused data from one month to the next.

“If you buy data, it’s yours. Roll it over,” said T-Mobile CEO John Legere during a live-streamed interview with Yahoo News. “Everybody, come and get it. Especially if you’re with the bad guys. We’re waiting for you.”

T-Mobile (TMUS) will roll over whatever data its customers don’t use from month to month. Data plans range from 1 GB to 11 GB a month.

On top of whatever data plan T-Mobile customers already pay for, the carrier said it will also give customers 10 free additional gigabytes of data to roll over.

The catch? Rollover data only lasts a year. For example, the data you didn’t use in January 2015 expires in January 2016. That can make T-Mobile’s plan a bit tricky for customers to keep track of — it’s not clear exactly how January’s unused data will be different from February’s unused data. Expect some weird math.

The change will affect most of T-Mobile’s 50 million customers. Only 20% of them use T-Mobile’s unlimited data plan, Legere said.

Legere criticized ATT and Verizon for “playing the doubling game,” in which they offer you more data, “but at the end of the month, it’s not yours.”

Related: Switch to Sprint, cut your bill in half

For those worried about the opposite — using too much data — T-Mobile has already eliminated overage fees, those expensive and nasty penalties that kick in when you use more than your allotted monthly data plan.

Instead of being charged higher fees after you hit your cap, your phone’s high-speed 4G LTE connection gets throttled back to 2G speeds.

T-Mobile’s new data rollover policy is the eighth installment of T-Mobile’s “uncarrier” strategy. T-Mobile has set its sights on ATT (T, Tech30) and Verizon (VZ, Tech30) by becoming the populist, customer-friendly carrier.

First, T-Mobile eliminated contracts, letting customers pay lower monthly rates and buy their own phones. Then came the “Jump” program, allowing customers to upgrade phones twice a year. Then T-Mobile killed roaming fees and slashed per-minute and text charges.

Wireless wars killing telco stocks 

Related: Wireless war – consumers win, investors lose

Related: Wal-Mart cuts iPhone price by $50

Article source: http://rss.cnn.com/~r/rss/money_latest/~3/I261DJK_CIs/index.html

New York Mag says ‘we were duped’ by $72 million teen trader

In Uncategorized on December 17, 2014 at 11:27 am
mohammed islam


New York Magazine issued an apology to its readers Tuesday morning, acknowledging the editors were “duped” by the teen stock trader rumored to have made $72 million.

“Our fact-checking process was obviously inadequate; we take full responsibility and we should have known better. New York apologizes to our readers,” the note read.

The note was added to the profile of 17-year-old Mohammed Islam, featured as part of the magazine’s “Reasons to love New York” issue.

It was the second editor’s note in 24 hours. The first came late Monday night after the New York Observer ran an interview with Islam in which he admitted to making the story up.

Related: Story of the $72 million teen trader unravels

The initial story of Islam made immediate waves. The New York Post featured it on its front page on Sunday and it was shared widely on Facebook.

Commentators quickly questioned whether Islam could have truly made $72 million.

The writer of the story, Jessica Pressler, told CNNMoney that Islam’s net worth had been fact-checked, and the story said that Islam had confirmed his net worth to be in the “high eight figures.” Pressler told CNNMoney that the teen appeared to have “an obscene amount of money in his account.”

The Washington Post reported the flaws in that fact-checking process. It cited an anonymous “source close to the Islam family” who said that the 17-year-old “created some bullsh*t thing on the computer with blacked out numbers. He said she could look at it for 10 seconds, and pulled it away.”

Pressler, who is heading to Bloomberg News in the new year to cover the “culture of wealth and money,” told CNNMoney that her piece was “skeptical enough.”

Bloomberg declined to comment on the matter.

Pressler faulted the original headline: “A Stuyvesant senior made $72 million trading stocks on his lunch break.” She told CNNMoney she didn’t write it and said it was “glib.”

Islam took issue with New York Magazine in an interview with CNBC. “The way we were portrayed is not who we are,” he said.

New York Magazine originally defended the piece. It noted that the “story itself does not specify an amount.”

The revised headline, which says that Islam “made millions picking stocks,” is still inaccurate.

The story was still featured prominently on New York Magazine’s website late Monday, hours after the Observer interview was published. A spokeswoman for New York Magazine did not say whether the story will be retracted completely.

Article source: http://rss.cnn.com/~r/rss/money_latest/~3/ek3uS6kwvmo/index.html

Who loses if Russia implodes?

In Uncategorized on December 17, 2014 at 11:27 am

Russia's economy in chaos 

No one wins if Russia’s economy falls apart.

Its trading partners — countries and businesses — are watching with concern as Russia scrambles to tackle a deepening economic crisis, sparked by plunging oil prices and punishing international sanctions.

The ruble has been in free fall and is already hurting earnings at global companies with operations in Russia.

Here are some of the biggest victims of Russia’s deteriorating economy:

Germany: Europe’s largest economy is most exposed to Russia. Last year, Germany’s trade relationship with Russia was worth more than €76 billion ($95.4 billion). Tough Western economic sanctions over the Ukraine crisis have already taken a toll on exports and companies have put the brakes on investment.

Last month Germany said “geopolitical crises” had contributed to a sharp cut in its growth forecasts for this year and the next.

Related: Putin puts a chill on German economy

Trouble in Germany is the last thing the eurozone needs — the currency bloc relies heavily on the economic heavyweight.

Rest of Europe: Russia buys plenty of goods from other European countries.

Moscow retaliated against Western sanctions in August by banning imports of fruit, vegetables, meat, fish, milk and dairy products from Europe, as well as the United States, Australia and Canada.

It was unwelcome news for European producers who export a great deal of fruit, cheese and pork to Russia. Some 10% of EU food exports — worth about $15 billion — were delivered to Russia last year, making it Europe’s second biggest customer.

Europe had to set aside around $156 million to compensate producers.

Related: Russia’s slide toward economic crisis: Why it matters

Energy companies: The deteriorating ruble has taken a chunk out of earnings at companies that do business with Russia.

BP (BP) has warned that the tough sanctions would hurt. BP owns a large stake in Rosneft, Russia’s biggest oil company, which is subject to U.S. trade restrictions. Shares of the company are down 25% this year as crumbling oil prices slug profits.

France’s Total shelved plans for a shale exploration joint venture with Russia’s Lukoil due to Western sanctions, crimping possible future earnings for the company. Other energy companies like Exxon Mobil (XOM) also have significant ties with Russia.

Automakers: U.S. auto giant Ford (FOVSY)is one of the biggest carmakers in Russia and it has warned that the weaker ruble is hurting sales.

Volkswagen (VLKAF) blamed political tensions for an 8% drop in car sales in Russia in the first six months of the year. The German automaker’s shares are down more than 12% this year.

France’s Renault (RNSDF) too said that sales in Russia were suffering, while Peugeot Citroen warned in October that the sagging ruble was hurting the company.

Related: No panic yet on Moscow’s streets

Banks: Societé Generale’s second quarter profits from its Russian unit fell 36%. Other banks that have sizeable exposures are Dutch lender Rabobank and Italy’s Unicredit.

McDonald’s, Adidas and other brands: Frosty relations between the U.S. and Russia is believed to be behind a crackdown on McDonald’s (MCD) in the country. Regulatory authorities forced the temporary closure of 12 restaurants over accusations of sanitary violations. But the move was widely believed to have been politically motivated.

German sportswear company Adidas is shutting stores and scaling back expansion in Russia as tensions in the region hit consumer spending and the decline in the ruble dented profitability. Adidas slashed its 2014 earnings forecast by 20% to 30%, partly because of Russia.

Carlsberg, the Danish beer maker has issued two profit warnings this year on slowing Russian demand.

Coca-Cola (KO) too has suffered. Shares of Coca-Cola HBC, which bottles and distributes beverages in Russia, have tanked 32% this year.

Related: Sanctions hit Russia oil and banks

Article source: http://rss.cnn.com/~r/rss/money_latest/~3/-BZ09J-ObcE/index.html

GM to make more cars in Mexico

In Uncategorized on December 17, 2014 at 11:27 am

Meet GM's $4M rolling propaganda machine 

GM plans to spend $3.6 billion over the next four years to modernize and expand its production facilities in Mexico.

The investment, which is in addition to $1.4 billion it spent over the past two years, will make GM the biggest auto exporter in Mexico, according to Ernesto M. Hernández, president of GM Mexico.

“General Motors is a company that is always committed to the countries in which it operates,” Hernández said. “In the decisive and changing times we’re living today, GM maintains its confidence in Mexico.”

GM (GM) plans to build more cars, engines and transmissions in Mexico, where it has been operating for nearly 80 years.

Related: U.S. companies return to Mexico’s one-time ‘murder capital’

Mexico’s economy minister, Ildefonso Guajardo Villarreal, said the move will double GM’s production in the country. The expansion will create up to 5,600 GM jobs plus 40,000 jobs in related industries in Mexico.

Mexico’s auto industry has been growing rapidly. Villarreal said the country has set new records this year in terms of production, exports and sales.

The country produced 3.3 million cars from January to November, up 240,000 from the same period in 2013.

While the U.S. is Mexico’s biggest market, Villarreal said exports to Canada and China have seen the strongest growth recently.

GM has 14 factories and 15,000 employees in Mexico, where it builds cars such as the Chevy Aveo and the Cadillac SRX, as well as engines and transmissions. In 2013, GM made 647,000 vehicles in the country.

Related: BMW’s billion-dollar bet on Mexico

The automaker said it plans to upgrade facilities in Toluca, Ramos Arizpe, Silao and San Luis Potsi.

Overall, auto exports from Mexico have increased 8%.

Mexico is also experiencing strong domestic demand for cars. Auto sales in 2014 are on track to hit the highest level in ten years.

Article source: http://rss.cnn.com/~r/rss/money_latest/~3/1IlYBkE_r2M/index.html

Oil is freaking out the stock market

In Uncategorized on December 17, 2014 at 11:27 am

How CNNMoney's Fear  Greed Index works 

For many Americans, cheap gas is a godsend during the holidays. But it also has a dark side.

Markets have taken a nasty turn in recent days as investors grow anxious that the tumbling oil prices will spillover to the broader global economy. CNNMoney’s Fear and Greed Index is in “extreme fear” mode. Just a week ago, it was in “neutral.”

Oil’s slide has been relentless, having tanked another 3% Tuesday to below $55, a level not seen in five years when the economy was in dire straits.

True, slumping oil means a break at the pump, which most economists say is equivalent to a mega tax cut or stimulus program. But there is a tipping point when oil gets too low. Eventually, the benefits start to get outweighed by the costs.

Some investors and economists are asking: Are we at that crisis point yet? Here’s what you need to consider:

Related: Oil plunge takes price below $55 a barrel

1. Why oil is crashing: Simply put, there’s too much global oil supply and not enough demand. OPEC, led by Saudi Arabia, is digging in for the long haul, keeping up production as prices fall in an attempt to kill off the American shale boom. Add a ho-hum global economy into the mix, and the result can be dangerous.

“There’s oversupply, there was over speculation, and now it becomes a vicious cycle down and no one is able stop it,” said Michael Block, Chief Strategist, Rhino Trading Partners.

Related: The story of the great American oil blob

2. Why the stock market is reacting: As oil continues to plunge, anxiety is mounting that the U.S. energy renaissance, and the jobs it’s created, could be under threat. Smaller firms with heavy debt loads are particularly vulnerable, but even big oil has announced it’s scaling back on its capital expenditures.

Additionally, low gas prices could have an adverse effect on Europe’s fragile economy, asserted Paul Christoper, chief International investment strategist at Wells Fargo Advisors. He noted that that continent’s feeble inflation levels could be edged into deflation if consumer prices decline. That would be bad news for everyone.

“We’re still in a disinflationary world,” he said.

Related: Some companies won’t survive the oil meltdown

There’s also worries about the unstable economic situations of oil-rich countries like Russia and Brazil, which are major players in the emerging markets.

Russia's economy in chaos 

3. Waiting for the Santa: Normally, December is the most wonderful time of the year for stocks. And according to Block at Rhino Trading Partners, investors had been bidding up stock prices in expectation of the Santa Claus rally that so far is nowhere in sight.

Instead, the SP 500 is down 3.5% this month.

He reckons that a lot of fund managers have tried to hit it big in recent weeks by buying energy stocks during market dips, a strategy that has backfired severely as oil continues to fall. That in turn has made them more likely to sell other non-energy based assets in an attempt to lock in gains on those stocks for their investors.

“This is pain at work,” he said. “When you try to throw a Hail Mary, it gets intercepted.”

Related: As oil falls, Middle East stocks tank

The bottom line: Ultimately, Christopher thinks low oil will be a good thing for the economy. He explained that if someone saves $5 to $10 on gas a week, it doesn’t do a whole lot. But over a year, those increments really add up.

Still, the issues arising from oil do have a tendency to throw the market into a bit of a frenzy in the short-term.

“Those are more present for us as worries, but they aren’t going to replace the longer-term benefit,” he said.

Article source: http://rss.cnn.com/~r/rss/money_latest/~3/5EAPPxHUDSI/index.html

Apple wins antitrust trial

In Uncategorized on December 17, 2014 at 11:26 am
apple ipod
Apple was accused of anti-competitive practices.


Apple won’t have to pay damages in an antitrust trial involving iTunes and the iPod, a jury ruled.

The class action suit, brought in the Northern District of California, has been in court for 10 years.

“We created iPod and iTunes to give our customers the world’s best way to listen to music,” said an Apple (AAPL, Tech30) spokeswoman. “Every time we’ve updated those products, and every Apple product over the years, we’ve done it to make the user experience better.”

Related: 14 biggest tech fails of 2014

Apple was accused of anti-competitive practices.

A class of 8 million iPod owners argue that Apple abused its monopoly power in the music industry to force out competition.

In the trial, the plaintiff’s attorney said that between 2007 and 2009, Apple routinely deleted music off of some customers’ iPods without telling them.

When iPod customers downloaded music from iTunes rivals, Apple would force customers to reset their iPods, the attorney said. When the iPod was restored, the music they downloaded from competitors’ music stores would no longer be on their iPods.

Related: CNNMoney Tech gift guide

Apple claims that the measures were taken to protect its contracts with the record labels. In videotaped testimony taken six months before he died, Apple founder Steve Jobs said the company was “very scared” of being in noncompliance with the labels’ terms, which stipulated that iTunes music needed Digital Rights Management protections — copyright encryption that was not always available on other sites.

The plaintiffs had asked for at least $350 million dollars, because they contend Apple’s tactics caused consumers to pay higher prices for iPods and music.

“We thank the jury for their service and we applaud their verdict,” the Apple spokeswoman said.

Article source: http://rss.cnn.com/~r/rss/money_latest/~3/NkyZxHKS2Qg/index.html

New York cinema cancels "The Interview" premiere after hackers’ threat

In Uncategorized on December 17, 2014 at 11:26 am

Sony hackers warn: Remember 9/11 

A theater has canceled the New York premiere of “The Interview” after a group that claimed it hacked Sony Pictures posted a threat against people who go to watch the movie.

On Pastebin, a website that allows for anonymous posts, hackers claiming to be the “Guardians of Peace” said people who see the Sony movie would suffer a “bitter fate.”

“The Interview” is a comedy about a plot to kill North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-Un.

“We will clearly show it to you at the very time and places ‘The Interview’ be shown, including the premiere, how bitter fate those who seek fun in terror should be doomed to,” the hacking group said. “The world will be full of fear. Remember the 11th of September 2001.”

The Guardians of Peace have told people who live close to movie theaters to keep their distance.

The premiere was scheduled for Thursday at Landmark’s Sunshine Cinema in New York. “The Interview” remains set to be released to theaters on Christmas.

While Sony doesn’t plan to pull the movie, the company has indicated it won’t object if theaters decide not to show the film, according to a person close to the situation.

The New York Police Department said earlier that it planned to have police on site, as well as additional forces for rapid response in case of any emergency, according to the agency’s deputy commissioner of intelligence and counter-terrorism, John Miller.

“We’ll continue to evaluate the threat,” Miller said. “It’s actually not crystal clear whether it’s a cyber… or physical attack they’re threatening.”

Meanwhile, the federal government’s Department of Homeland Security said that currently, “there is no credible intelligence to indicate an active plot against movie theaters within the United States.”

A source directly involved in Sony’s hacking response said the company would not comment immediately on the news, because the FBI is investigating the hack.

Related: Sony hackers say ask nicely and we’ll offer mercy

On Tuesday, the Sony (SNE) hackers also released emails from Sony Entertainment Chairman Michael Lynton.

The group has been systematically exposing documents that they hacked from Sony’s servers, including personal information about celebrities, embarrassing emails from executives, internal memos and leaked movie scripts.

It apparently can all be traced to North Korea being unhappy about Sony Pictures’ upcoming release of “The Interview.” The movie is set to open on Christmas Day.

Shortly after news of the threat — which significantly raised the stakes in this Sony hacking saga — actors Seth Rogen and James Franco canceled all of their upcoming press events, according to BuzzFeed, which was hosting an event with the two.

- CNN’s Pamela Brown and Brian Stelter contributed reporting to this story.

Related: Sony hack sends stock down 10%

Related: Sony lawyer tells media to stop reporting on material stolen by hackers

Article source: http://rss.cnn.com/~r/rss/money_latest/~3/lX3iqEhGers/index.html