Nightly Business Report — December 19, 2014

Tonight on Nightly Business Report, President Obama calls Sony’s decision to pull its controversial movie ‘a mistake’ as the full impact on the business world is just starting to be felt. And, how a 100-year old company is keeping its edge and turning out one of the year’s hottest products.

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Today’s stock stories: KMX, FINL, FB, JUNO & SPLS.

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President Barack Obama

President Barack Obama said he thought Sony made a mistake in pulling “The Interview” after a North Korean hacking, and pledged that the United States would respond to the attack. “Sony’s a corporation that suffered significant damage, there were threats against its employees,” Obama said at his annual year-end news conference from the White House …

Daniel Kramer | Reuters
A gas price sign is seen at a Phillips 66 station in Houston, Dec. 16, 2014.

The huge drop in gasoline prices is just the boost the housing market needs heading into 2015. Not only are they padding people’s pocketbooks, they’re fueling consumer confidence. That may already be translating into more home sales. “Anything that impacts anyone’s monthly budget so significantly as the cost of gasoline will tend to make them …

Source: Sabrina Korber
Lincoln Logs on the Pride Manufacturing assembly line in Burnham, Maine.

Lincoln Logs, the popular building toy created nearly a century ago by a son of architect Frank Lloyd Wright, is coming home to the U.S. Toymaker K’Nex has brought manufacturing of the wooden pieces to Burnham, Maine, after decades of being made in China. “With such an iconic brand like Lincoln Logs, which has been …

Kevork Djansezian | Reuters
Security guards at the entrance of United Artists theater during the premiere of the film "The Interview" in Los Angeles, December 11, 2014.

The FBI has concluded that the North Korean government is responsible for the Sony cyber attack, based on an investigation conducted in collaboration with other government agencies and departments. “Though the FBI has seen a wide variety and increasing number of cyber intrusions, the destructive nature of this attack, coupled with its coercive nature, sets …

Brendan McDermid | Reuters

Up until very recently, we’ve all been watching the almost daily pronouncements of new all-time highs in both the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average. But many investors may be in for a rude awakening: an account statement that shows an annual return less than the major indexes—and less than what the investor …

David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Citigroup thinks photo sharing service Instagram is now worth $35 billion—nearly double its previous valuation and a price tag the bank characterized as “conservative.” Facebook bought Instagram in late 2012 for a final price tag of $715 million, meaning the service is now worth about 49 times what the social network paid for it. In …

Lucy Nicholson | Reuters
Apple CEO Tim Cook speaks at a conference in Laguna Beach, Calif., October 27, 2014.

Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple, has hit out at the U.K. broadcaster the BBC over allegations of poor working conditions at its suppliers working on the iPhone 6. Apple’s Senior Vice-President of Operations, Jeff Williams, sent out an email to around 5,000 staff members in the U.K. on Friday, saying that himself and Cook …

Daniel Acker | Bloomberg | Getty Images
A shopper loads a 48-inch television into a cart at a Target store in Mentor, Ohio.

Christmas is just a few days away, and if you’re reading this article to procrastinate buying your gifts, you aren’t alone. On the contrary, millions of others late shoppers just like you have been waiting until the final days of the season to get their gifts. According to data from Cardlytics, a credit card-linked marketing …

Scott Mlyn | CNBC
A sign advertising an open house in Laguna Beach, Calif.

Home prices slowed down dramatically in 2014, but still made enough gains to give U.S. homeowners a collective $1.7 trillion in additional home equity, according to real estate company Zillow. Some tapped that immediately, taking out home equity lines of credit. In fact, that was the fastest growing segment of the mortgage market. Read More Home …

100492675-Terry-Lundgren-getty.240x160

Consumers are still cautious about spending… so says Terry Lundgren who as CEO of Macy’s has a keen sense of how consumers think. Lundgren says “there are signs of life” of why  consumers should be feeling better, noting a strong job market and falling gas prices. But he adds that until consumers have job security and higher paychecks, …

USPS prepares for peak season

The USPS plans to deliver up to 475 million packages this holiday season. Morgan Brennan takes a look at how they will handle that volume.

Hollywood slams Sony decision

Some big Hollywood names are blasting Sony Pictures after it canceled the premier of its controversial movie “The Interview,” following unspecified threats against theatergoers by hackers.

The illegal online market

Law enforcement is cracking down on websites that sell illegal drugs, guns and stolen credit cards, but business is still strong.