Money Minute: Consumers Flock to the Web; Chase Warns Cash Card Users

A warning for cash card users, and e-filing of tax returns hits an all-time high. Those and other top money stories you need to know Thursday.

JPMorgan Chase (JPM) says nearly half a million people with cash cards issued by the company could have their personal information accessed by hackers. These are cards issued to businesses that use them to pay their workers, and by government agencies that use them for unemployment compensation and other benefits. The company says hackers breached its Web servers back in September to gain access to the information.

H&R Block tax preparation website
Alamy

Americans are buying record amounts of stuff online, spending record amounts of time on social media sites, and now filing a record number of tax returns electronically. The IRS says more than 122 million people filed their 2012 taxes online. That's about 83 percent of all individual tax returns.

Here on Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average (^DJI) fell 25 points Wednesday, the Standard & Poor's 500 index (^GPSC) lost 2 -- the fourth straight loss for both -- but the Nasdaq composite index (^IXIC) edged up by less than a point.

Aeropostale (ARO) has fallen out of favor with trendy teen buyers. The retailer posted a wider than expected $25 million quarterly loss and forecast more of the same in the current quarter. The company's stock has lost 34 percent over the past year, and it's likely to lose more ground Thursday.

The activist investor Carl Icahn is pressing his case for Apple (AAPL) to spend a big chunk of its cash horde to buy back stock. He now wants shareholders to vote on the proposal, since the company's board hasn't publicly responded to him. Icahn did reduce his demand for how much the company should spend on the repurchases to $50 billion from $150 billion.

Finally, it's Google (GOOG) versus Microsoft (MSFT) again. This time, it's not so much of a technology war as a public-relations campaign for the hearts and minds of children. They're both touting their sites to track Santa's movements. Microsoft has teamed up with Norad, which has been tracking Santa since 1955. And Google has set up a Santa's Village site to track the jolly one's sleigh.

-Produced by Drew Trachtenberg.