Look who’s already profiting from the midterm elections

Welcome to CapBiz A.M., your morning primer on business news with a focus on Washington.

Lobbying bouncing back: The District’s 10 largest lobby shops reported a collective 3 percent increase in revenue during the first quarter of 2014 compared to a year ago, reversing three years of steady decline. So, what’s driving the growth? Look no further than those midterm elections on the horizon. (CAP)

Another investment wave: HackSurfer, a cybersecurity company based in Glenelg, has raised $3.5 million, led in part by District-based CNF Investments. Only two years old, the company helps others determine which cybersecurity threats are most likely to target their business. (CAP)

QinetiQ quits on U.S.: British defense technology firm QinetiQ has agreed to sell much of its North America division for up to $215 million to American engineering group The SI Organization. U.S. defense budget cuts had taken a hefty bite out of QinetiQ’s sales. The company will retain a cyber unit here. (REU)

Souper women coming to the District: Mother-daughter entrepreneur duo Sara and Marilyn Polon will open their first Soupergirl location in downtown D.C. next month. There won’t be any seating, but there will be plenty of soups, salads and four uniquely flavored gazpachos. (WP)

Home sales sink: Sales of existing homes in March slowed to their slowest pace since the summer of 2012, according to industry data released Tuesday. Meanwhile, a separate report shows that home prices in the D.C. area are still 20 percent lower than their peak back in 2006. (WP/WBJ)

Good luck, grads: The national unemployment rate for 2013 college graduates has dropped from 13.3 percent in 2012 to 10.9 percent in 2013, according to new data from the Labor Department. Still, that’s well above the levels reported before the economy collapsed.

Maryland firm helping search for flight: A small crew from Phoenix International, a marine services contractor in Prince George’s County, are playing a role in the ongoing search for Malaysian Airlines Flight 370. And if they find the wreckage, they may be asked to help with the next steps, too. (BS)

Not scared of the waffle taco: During a conference call Tuesday, McDonald’s CEO Don Thompson said his company hasn’t seen any impact from the “most recent competitor” in the breakfast space – and while he didn’t name names, it was awfully clear which company he meant. (AP)

On Wall Street

Stocks kept climbing on Tuesday, with the S&P extending its win streak to six days. Bank of America, Boeing, General Dynamics and Northrop Grumman are due for earnings on Wednesday (Get the latest updates here)

What’s on tap today

MBA Purchase Applications (7:00 a.m.)

PMI Manufacturing Index Flash (9:45 a.m.)

Real Estate Luminaries Series, Georgetown University McDonough School of Business (5:00 p.m.)

Help: How to carve out space on your customers’ cellphones (OSB)

Follow: Soupergirl, the restaurant’s official handle

Extra: This writer wants to reel you in and then rip your heart out (WP)

J.D. Harrison covers startups, small business and entrepreneurship, with a focus on public policy, and he runs the On Small Business blog.
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Catherine Ho · April 22, 2014