With a trend of dismal earnings for the likes of IBM, Coke and McDonald's, blue chip companies appear to have lost their sheen. We trace the evolution of the blue chip company since its beginnings, and ask what does it mean today – and who are the new generation of blue chip companies. Plus, we're going there:'nbspEmail. 'nbspIt's a giant time waster, expensive productivity suck, and all over pain in the...
1-22-214 Marketplace - Johnson 'amp Johnson 'amp Ebola
Oct 22, 2014 |
There are some good economic reasons no one created an Ebola vaccine – yet.'nbspNow multiple companies, including Johnson 'amp Johnson, are racing to produce a cure.'nbspThe business rationale changed in part due to the size of the outbreak itself, but also an'nbspincreasingly'nbspinterested market and potential payday.'nbspPlus: New regulations aimed at preventing another housing crisis have been finalized, only they don't include a down payment requirement. Financial experts think homeowners should put down 2 percent to be safe, but where did that number come from in the first place? Also: Seemingly out of nowhere in 17, the Hunt brothers attempted to corner the silver market, pushing up p...
1-2-214 Marketplace the Sustained Drop
Oct 20, 2014 |
IBM is paying someone $1.5 billion to buy its chipmaker division. Sometimes it’s more cost effective to pay someone to take a division off your hands than to wind it down yourself. Plus,'nbspThe drop in oil prices looks like a sustained drop - which amounts to a 2 percent discount on one of the global economy’s chief drivers. This is a dramatic economic development with many potential consequences.'nbsp 'nbsp
1-17-214 Marketplace Ebola Czar Explained
Oct 17, 2014 |
5% of Americans are either “very concerned” or “somewhat concerned” they will contract Ebola, a study says.'nbspHow is corporate America reacting?'nbspPlus, as the midterm elections approach, tech giant Google has'nbspspent $1.4 million on political donations this'nbspyear, surpassing spending by Goldman Sachs, a bank well-known for its political links. We explore why Google is spending the money and where it’s going. Finally, Ron Klain is the new Ebola Czar. We explain the ultimate purpose of the job and why it’s better to be a Czar than a real government official. 'nbsp 'nbsp
1-16-214 Marketplace - Pick a volatility villain
Oct 16, 2014 |
The market continued its downward trajectory Thursday with an overabundance of choices as to why: blame Ebola, blame earnings or even blame Netflix.'nbspSome economists believe this is only the beginning as the current'nbspvolatility affects investors, business and consumers. Next:'nbspOur health care system is built around specialty care.'nbspAs Ebola patients are sent across the country for treatment, hospitals look at what it takes to specialize in treating the disease given the need for expert training.'nbspFinally: Amazon announced Thursday plans to hire 8, seasonal workers for the company's'nbspdistribution centers, a 14 percent increase from last year. Some holiday hires move up to fu...
1-14-214 Marketplace - Crisis management
Oct 14, 2014 |
Three big banks reported earnings Tuesday: JP Morgan, Citigroup and Wells Fargo. The results show how “the American bank” has changed since the financial crisis. Next: Projections for an increase in oil demand are at the lowest level since 2 - according to the'nbspInternational Energy Agency -'nbspa reflection of how the global economy is struggling to grow five years since the depths of the financial crisis. Plus: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced he and his wife'nbspPriscilla Chan will donate $25 million to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to help fight Ebola. A look at why private money is flowing into the fight, and how different it is from support for natural disaster...
1-1-214 Marketplace - No polar bear politics
Oct 13, 2014 |
Department store chain, JC Penney has announced that Marvin Ellison will take over as President and CEO. Execs hope that Ellison, who will be the third CEO in less than four years, can improve its flagging fortunes. Plus:'nbspThe Pentagon issues a report on its plans for dealing with energy and climate change. This isn't about polar bears or politics - the Pentagon is the big spender in alternative energy as a matter of national security. Finally:'nbspAnother Frenchman has won the Nobel Prize. Jean Tirole has studied regulation and large corporations, and determined that you cannot take a one size fits all approach to regulating industry.'nbsp
1-1-214 Marketplace - It's a casino
Oct 10, 2014 |
Saudi Arabia is keeping its pumps going despite a glut of oil and falling prices. In the meantime, some U.S. companies could start shutting down rigs if prices fall much more. Plus: the market’s up the market’s down. You can - and people have - blamed everything from Germany’s slowdown to problems in the Middle East to the weather.'nbsp
1--214 - Marketplace - Icahn, iGlass
Oct 9, 2014 |
Activist Investor Carl Icahn is going after Apple again, asking the company to buy more shares and more quickly. We ask the question: What does Icahn actually want? Next:'nbspA company called GT Advanced is in bankruptcy court Thursday, reeling from the casualties of its relationship with Apple. It had hoped to make glass for the iPhone 6, but Apple went with Corning instead. Finally:'nbspLego announces it won’t renew a long-standing partnership with Shell, after Greenpeace used the toys in an animated video attacking Arctic oil development. Greenpeace, they say, in effect mugged Lego to make its point about the Arctic.'nbsp 'nbsp
Oct 8, 2014 |
The IMF had stern words for the state of Europe’s banks and the policy tools it’s used — and still using — to ease the continent out of recession. 'nbspThe U.S., whose approach was initially scorned by Europe, is pulling out ahead. Is that good for the global economy? For the US? Plus, unemployment is low, and job openings are now at a 1-year high. But it takes 25 days to fill a vacancy — so what's the disconnect between what the labour market is offering and what workers are looking for? Finally,'nbspWestern Pennsylvania is ground zero for the battle between industry and citizens over fracking, the oil-and-gas procedure. And now it’s a battleground for the word “fracking,” as oil drillers t...
1-6-214 Marketplace - Twin Peaks, Twinned
Oct 7, 2014 |
Timothy Geithner, former head of the New York Fed is in court today, testifying about the AIG bailout. This is a big deal because the evidence he gives could change the popular narrative about how the crisis was handled and why. Plus, in an attempt to protect the rapidly growing ed-tech business and get out in front of new laws or regulations, several big-name ed-tech companies are signing a “voluntary” privacy promise, vowing not to sell student data or use it for marketing purposes. 'nbspThing is...lots of big names (Google, Apple, Pearson) aren’t there. And it’s a pretty thin promise. Finally,'nbspDavid Lynch is bringing back “Twin Peaks” after 25 years… 25 years during which the short-li...
1-5-214 Marketplace - Hewlett [and] Packard?
Oct 6, 2014 |
Silicon Valley stalwart Hewlett-Packard is going to divide itself two publicly traded companies. One will focus business technology, including software and services, while the other will sell PCs and printers. HP isn’t the first company (tech or otherwise) to change it’s business model of late. Plus:'nbspReading behind the news that the JP Morgan hack was the tip of a very large iceberg, it turns out that the regulations governing disclosure of hacks to the public are full of holes. They vary from state to state, and in some cases, depending on what information has been compromised, may not require disclosure at all. Finally, as part of its latest deal with the NBA, ESPN will offer online st...
1--14 Marketplace - Is Phillips Curving?
Oct 3, 2014 |
The unemployment rate is falling and some are now calling on the Federal Reserve 'nbspto start raising interest rates. 'nbspDoes the famous “Phillips Curve” still apply in an age where the nature of unemployment has changed so radically? Next, in the wake of JP Morgan’s admission that 76 million households were hit with a data breach, up from just a few million in August, we explain how companies determine they have been breached, the forensics that go into identifying and repairing the breach, and what this means for JPMorgan’s 76 million households. We also take a look at the world of film adaptations -'nbspGillian Flynn adapted her book "Gone Girl" into a screenplay herself, and she's not...
1-2-14 - Marketplace - The Stronger Dollar
Oct 2, 2014 |
The dollar is getting stronger. You can thank the decision to roll back quantitative easing in the U.S., and the European Central Bank's decision to do more QE in the EU. Some people love a strong dollar, but others don't. We look at why the dollar's doing better, and who the winners and losers are this time round. Meanwhile, oil prices are falling in part because the global production of oil is reducing Saudi Arabia's'nbsp— and therefore OPEC's'nbsp— influence. Saudi Arabia was the swing state that could turn production up or down to affect prices. Now it's keeping production up despite falling prices to avoid losing foreign buyers. Plus, Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway is getting into ...
1-1-14 - Marketplace - How to get a vaccine to market
Oct 1, 2014 |
The first case of Ebola diagnosed in the U.S. raises the question of whether there will be a more concerted effort to create a vaccine or drug treatment for the disease. We explain the incentives at play when companies and governments pursue drugs, how the industry/marketplace respond to outbreaks, and how drug resources get mobilized. Next, small cable companies are getting out of the TV side of the business or reducing their offerings. We look at what this means for shows. Finally:'nbspReddit has just raised $5 million in funding from investors and is preparing to give 1 percent of these shares back to its community of users as equity. This is a “long-held dream” says CEO Yishan Wong, and ...
--14 - Marketplace - Birthday cake for HealthCare.gov?
Sep 30, 2014 |
Today eBay announced that it’s going to split with PayPal and make both entities separate companies. Will PayPal users actually notice? In other tech-companies-talking news,'nbspNetflix has forged a deal with the Weinstein Company, to stream a sequel to the hit movie “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” next year on the same day the movie is released in selected theaters. 'nbspThis disrupts the current movie distribution system which mandates a delay between a movie’s release in theaters and its being made available in other forms – DVD, Pay TV and Video on Demand platforms. And finally, it's'nbspthe anniversary of the launch of HealthCare.gov. We check in. 'nbsp
-2-214-Marketplace- Protests in Hong Kong
Sep 29, 2014 |
Three days of pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong have nearly shut down the city. They’ve also made financial traders around the world nervous. Prices dropped on Asian and European exchanges today and U.S. stocks also opened lower. Why what happens in Hong Kong matters to U.S. and global markets. Meanwhile, Facebook has launched its rebuilt advertising platform. Atlas, as it’s called, will let marketers use the knowledge and information the company has of its users to target them on mobile apps and websites. Why has it taken so long for Facebook to launch this, and what impact will it have on the company’s competitors and users?
Sep 26, 2014 |
Hundreds of flights were grounded in Chicago this morning after a fire at an air traffic control facility. O’Hare is the second busiest airport nation and home to hubs for both American and United airlines. How often do these types of shutdowns happen and what are the economic ripple effects across the country? And, social media upstart Ello made a lot of noise online this week by positioning itself as the anti-Facebook, promising no ads, no data mining, and to stop treating people as "a product that's bought and sold." Apparently, those are words many wanted to hear, as the site was welcoming 4, new users per hour midweek. But the question remains, how do you make any money if you aren't se...
Sep 25, 2014 |
The mobile refineries the U.S. is bombing are so small they could almost fit in a pickup truck. We look at this micro-refinery world and ask what the pros and cons are to blowing up ISIS’s oil-refining stuff.'nbspRichard Branson has told'nbsp17 employees at Virgin's head offices to take'nbspas much vacation time as they'd like. We look at the behavioral angle -what are the forces at work when a boss tells his employees he trusts them implicitly with time off - and do people tend to take more or less leave?'nbspThe Federal Aviation Administration is expected to announce today its approval of drones for Hollywood filmmaking. 'nbsp A number of video-productions firms have applied for permits fo...
-24-214- Marketplace- Walmart Turns To Banking
Sep 24, 2014 |
Walmart is branching out into the banking industry. It's partnering with the prepaid credit card provider Green Dot to offer checking accounts to anyone over 18 who passes an ID check. Walmart says the low cost service will not require a minimum balance and will not charge fees for overdrafts or bounced checks. So what's in it for Walmart? Also, the U.S. launched at least 47 Tomahawk missiles targeting militant strongholds in Syria Monday night. These are the same missiles the Pentagon had wanted to phase out the purpose of over the next several years. What are the costs of these missiles? And how long will they be maintained during this campaign?
-22-214- Marketplace- Will Gotham Rescue Fox?
Sep 22, 2014 |
Just a week after the launch of Apple's iPhone 6, Blackberry is hoping to ride the smartphone wave with the introduction of its newest device, the Passport. Blackberry sales have been less than stellar in recent years, but it's banking that this new phone, designed in a partnership with Porsche, will pull the Canadian-based company out of the financial doldrums by appealing to a niche smartphone market. Plus, it’s the start of the fall season and the once unbeatable television network FOX has taken a few hits of late since the audience decline of American Idol. Could the much anticipated show Gotham, which premieres tonight, help improve Fox’s ratings woes? We report.'nbsp
-16-214-Marketplace- The Real Costs Of Climate Change
Sep 16, 2014 |
Whether it’s due to a weak slate of Fall shows or competition from the Web, big television networks are seeing a worrying decline in advertising revenue this quarter. Optimistic network execs see it as a blip, but could it be a signal of a bigger shift in the future of advertising to the masses? Also, a'nbspreport says the cost of addressing global warming shrinks considerably when you consider the trillions the world is generally spending on power generation, transportation and infrastructure. The report’s proposals, however, still butts up against political realities. We investigate.
-12-214- Marketplace- Just Add Salt
Sep 12, 2014 |
As the U.S. prepares to attack ISIS militarily, what implements of financial mass destruction does America have at its disposal to damage the fund-raising efforts of a non-state actor? Plus, logic suggests that a television show that receives high ratings, even on a cable channel, would have some longevity. But that’s not the case with the A'ampE show, Longmire. The show was abruptly cancelled after three seasons, despite millions of loyal viewers. Why did they pull the plug on Longmire? Also, the boardroom battle between Starboard 'nbspand Darden, parent of Olive Garden, is heating up as a shareholder vote nears. Starboard, the activist hedge fund trying to take control, released a -slide p...
-11-214- Marketplace- Twitter Needs Help
Sep 11, 2014 |
The NFL is arguably the country’s most powerful sports league. We look at the wide 'nbsprange of the NFL’s corporate tie-ins and business interests that make this behemoth a multi-billion dollar concern. Plus, the SEC is going after small fry. As part of its “Broken Windows” policy, it’s fining companies and individuals for small infractions and reaping small sums. But this is about more than just reminding Wall Street that the SEC is out there. It’s about showing how the agency, and its attitude to enforcement, has changed under new management. Also, Twitter goes to the bond market in an effort to raise as much as $1.5 billion. This is likely an attempt to build up its advertising business,...
-1-214- Marketplace- Phone Carriers Change Plans
Sep 10, 2014 |
Today, President Obama is expected to discuss his plan for sustained military operations against the Islamic State, or ISIS. We explain why that could be a game-changer for the U.S. defense industry. Plus,'nbspcarriers that have traditionally subsidized the cost of phones, like Sprint and Version, have released new phone plans for the iPhone 6. But'nbsphow do they keep'nbsptheir margins high whilst'nbspensuring affordability for'nbsptheir customers? We a take look at how mobile phone carriers have responded to the release of the iPhone 6.'nbspAlso, a'nbspreport by the Kaiser Family Foundation shows that the Affordable Care Act has made few waves in the employer-based insurance market where 5...
--214- Marketplace- Too Many Grads For Jobs Available
Sep 9, 2014 |
More employers are requiring college degrees for jobs that don’t really require skills learned in college—and are held mostly by people now who don’t have degrees, according to a new study. Why? Because they can. Does that mean were producing too many grads for the jobs available to them? Plus,'nbspHome Depot's stock price is taking a beating after hackers breached the company's payment systems last week.'nbspAre retailers, like Target and Home Depot, doing enough to protect themselves and their customers from credit card hackers? We explore.
-8-214- Marketplace- To Spend Or Not To Spend
Sep 8, 2014 |
President Obama has asked Congress for'nbsp$5 million to "train and equip appropriately vetted elements of the moderate Syrian armed opposition.”'nbspSo, what do you get for $5 million? And how do you ensure your spending is not equipping the wrong people? Plus, the Chinese company, Alibaba, is having trouble'nbsphelping potential investors understand just what it is the company does. The vast majority of its business is done overseas in a different language. So, what does it do? Also,'nbsptoday’s the last day to comment on a proposal that would make the revenue of stores, both super and corner, from food stamps public. We explain why it’s an issue and what the public has to say.
-5-214- Marketplace- The Power Of YouTube Videos
Sep 5, 2014 |
Tesla’s huge bet on a giant battery factory is a bet on the present while the future races on. Tesla is counting on fab efficiency to cut prices on an established type of battery, while research on new types makes it hard to even envision what other devices they’ll make possible in the near future. Plus,'nbspGoucher College in Baltimore switches its admissions policy to allow students to skip high school transcripts and submit a two-minute video instead. With liberal arts schools struggling to fill classes, will a play at “creativity” over grades boost the school's attendance? Also, ABC has just announced the lineup for its 1th season of "Dancing With the Stars," which includes 18-year-old Y...
-4-214- Marketplace- 'quotIt's Shonda Night'quot
Sep 4, 2014 |
The European Central Bank today made a surprise decision to cut interest rates and promote stimulus. Though some say this move comes too late in the day to be much help to European economies, others welcome the cut as a bold move. We look at the ramifications of the decision in Europe and for the U.S. Plus, the days of wild gains in productivity feel like so long ago. There was a huge dip in the first quarter, and revised figures out today show there’s only been slow growth in the last year. We put it into context. Also, facing off against Thursday Night Football…. Shonda Rhimes!!! ABC has stacked its primetime lineup with three dramas by the woman who has changed the look of primetime with ...
--214- Marketplace- Apple Crisis And Retail Hackers
Sep 3, 2014 |
Under Armour, the sports clothing for people who look good with or without it, is aggressively moving to broaden its market. Just today it picked up model Giselle Bundchen as an endorsee. What’s Under Armour’s corporate je ne sais quoi? 'nbspPlus, the security breach that exposed celebrities photos that had been stored in the cloud creates a major PR problem for Apple, whose image is on the hook regardless of the particulars of the breach. We look at how the company will handle it, and how a hack of the cloud – taking personal information like photos – is very different than a hack at a retailer – taking a person’s credit card number. Also,'nbspFashion week in New York starts tomorrow. Appar...
-2-214- Marketplace- Dollar General's Hostile Takeover
Sep 2, 2014 |
Dollar General has upped its bid for Family Dollar, but that doesn’t mean Family Dollar will say yes. Observers are now expecting Dollar General to turn this from a friendly bid into a hostile takeover. We explain what going hostile really means. Plus,'nbspthe former House Majority Leader is joining the banking industry, providing “strategic counsel” to an investment bank’s corporate and institutional clients. But what does he brings to the job?'nbspAnd after,'nbspwe look at the delightfully snarky website that brought you – indirectly, because'nbspyou'nbspalmost certainly don’t visit 4Chan – the nude photos of actresses and celebrity models.
-1-214- Marketplace- Made in the USA
Sep 1, 2014 |
Made in America is a very important consideration for many Americans. There's a perception that things made here are better quality and that buying them will help keep jobs in the country. It is a very powerful label, but if you want to put it on your product, you better mean it. Marketplace's Adriene Hill reports. And, Lizzie O'Leary talks to Earl Swift about his book, “Auto Biography,” about cars and the American dream. Plus, with it being Labor Day we thought it'd be a good time to check in on how much most American workers are getting paid for their labor these days. The answer? Not a whole lot more than they were three decades ago, relatively speaking. That's according to a new study of...
8-2-214- Marketplace- Abercrombie 'amp Fitch Toss Logo
Aug 29, 2014 |
Personal income and spending seemed to stall in July, according to figures out today. Yet consumers and businesses both say they’re as confident as they’ve been in the economy in years. We dig into the apparent contradiction in terms. Plus,'nbspMorgan Stanley has been buying up diesel contracts in Europe. Big time. What does this say about commodity markets and their players. Also,'nbsp'nbspAbercrombie and Fitch has decided to take the labels off its clothes. The move reflects a trend amongst younger shoppers who are increasingly buying from brands that don’t use a logo, such as Zara or H'ampM. But it also reflects the company’s recent poor performance.
ISIS is believed to get revenue from selling oil on the black market from fields it’s captured. We look at the black market for oil and how it works. Plus, advertising on Twitter is such an impenetrable mystery that Twitter is giving away free classes to teach vendors how to promote their stuff via its platform. The program is called flightschool. We explain how it works and what it’s gonna teach. Also, two new studies indicate that immigrants to the U.S. weathered the recent housing slump better than native-born Americans and are also rapidly closing the gap on home ownership rates.'nbspWe look at why immigrants are doing so well and what it means.
8-27-214- Marketplace- American Airlines Ditches Orbitz
Aug 27, 2014 |
Snapchat has been allocated an impressive valuation...which appears to bear little or no relation to the valuation it had when it was last valued several months ago. So what makes it worth what people think it's worth today? Plus,'nbspAmerican Airlines announced this week that it would pull its fares from any websites run by Orbitz Worldwide. The reason? The companies couldn’t agree on new contract terms. It’s the second contract dispute between the two travel giants and comes at a time when, according to reports, upgraded websites are becoming more popular with consumers. How will American Airlines withdrawal affect Orbitz? And how does a business relationship like this work? Also, the Comm...
8-26-214- Marketplace- Durable Goods Number Is Flying
Aug 27, 2014 |
The durable goods number today came with a mixed message. They were up big, but only because Airline companies bought lots of planes. Take that number out, and things don’t look so rosy. Plus, according to data from the credit agency TransUnion, the national credit card delinquency rate has declined to its lowest level in the last seven years, to 1.16 percent. Banks are known to make revenue from credit card debt and late payments, but how much do they depend on them? Is this latest trend affecting their business – and is the improvement in the payment delinquency rate a blip? Also,'nbspCNN is offering buyouts to older employees with several years on board. But what’s the personal calculatio...
8-25-214- Marketplace- Miley's Friend's Place
Aug 25, 2014 |
Burger King is looking to merge with Canadian coffee and doughnut chain Tim Hortons. It’s the latest chapter in Burger King’s patterned history. It’s gone in and out of private hands over the last few years and has a famously young leadership team. We look at what Burger King stands to gain from Tim Hortons' heft in the breakfast market. Plus, the American Academy of Pediatrics has become the latest group to declare that most middle and high school classes start too early for teenagers. The AAP says classes should begin no earlier than 8: am because adolescents are naturally wired to fall asleep after 11 pm and wake up later than most school start times allow for. But few school districts ar...
8-22-214- Marketplace- Emmys On Monday Not Sunday
Aug 22, 2014 |
California could join the group of states that let community colleges offer four-year degrees in certain subjects like dental hygiene. But do you really need a four-year degree, and what’s the cost? Plus, the Emmys are on Monday this year, as opposed to Sunday. Why? Because they don’t want to have to compete with Sunday Night Football. It’s just one example of the huge battle being waged over live TV broadcast space. Also, Foot Locker'nbsphas reported sky-high profits this year, thanks to its partnership with Nike. Shoes with the swoosh account for two-thirds of Foot Locker’s sales.'nbsp But what happens if wingtips become the new workplace fashion? Could Foot Locker be too dependent on Nike...
8-21-214- Marketplace- SoundCloud Adds Ads
Aug 21, 2014 |
Philadelphia plans to stop offering subsidies for school bus service for high school students who live within two miles of their school. We look at the impact of cutting out school buses on families and districts and whether those effects differ between urban and suburban areas. Plus,'nbspSoundCloud is going to start putting ads into its content stream. What happens to a company when, in order to find a business model, they have to undermine the very thing that created their customer base in the first place. Also,'nbspDollar Store X rejects Dollar Store Z’s bid for it, preferring Dollar Store’s Y bid, saying it fears the X+Z combo'nbspcouldn't'nbsppass antitrust muster. Could there really be...
8-2-214- Marketplace- Economics Of Halftime Shows
Aug 20, 2014 |
Central bankers meet in Jackson Hole this week to discuss, among other things, Central Banks. We look at'nbsphow the role of the Central Bank has changed and how the job of central banker has changed since the Recession. Plus, former Obama campaign operative David Plouffe has joined Uber as a vice president and strategist. Is Plouffe’s move just about the big money of a hightech startup?'nbsp Or is there an affinity between tech and the Democratic Party that he and other Dems are trying to harness? Also, did you know that the NFL doesn't pay musicians for performing at the Super Bowl? Well, turns out now the NFL wants major artists such as Coldplay, Rihanna, and Katy Perry, the three finalis...
8-1-214- Marketplace- Chinese Hack U.S. Hospital
Aug 19, 2014 |
Lots of police departments in the U.S. have tear gas, which they throw at disorderly civilians. But where does that tear gas come from? And how big a business is it for the companies that produce it? Plus, there’s word this week that Chinese hackers stole records of 4.5 million patients from computers at Community Health systems, one of the largest hospital networks in the Southeast. Healthcare records contain social security numbers,'nbspbirth dates, addresses - a goldmine of information for identity thieves.'nbspWhich is likely to make them a big fat'nbsptarget for future hacks. Will they be ready? Many experts say no.'nbsp
8-18-214- Marketplace- Dollar Store Bidding War
Aug 18, 2014 |
There's a dollar store bidding war going on out there. We report on the extent of the competition in the market, and how these stores differentiate themselves. Plus, the Fed is paying attention to the number of part time workers, as it looks like the number of this category of worker has increased after reaching a five-year low. We look at why this has happened, and ask if it’s something we should be worried about. Also, every year the federal government sets the amount its employees may spend per day when they travel. The per diems for fiscal 215? $8 for lodging and $46 for meals and other expenses. The standard is also followed by federal contractors and some private businesses. What impac...
8-15-214- Marketplace- Mini Golf Tournament
Aug 15, 2014 |
Starbucks changes some of its computer-driven scheduling policies, and we use it as a way to explain the growing phenomenon of using algorithms and big companies to schedule employes to manage labor costs — and the (negative) consequences for them — lost hours, flexibility, control. Plus,'nbspCoke is acquiring a 17 percent stake in Monster Beverage for just over $2 billion. The energy drink business is booming and the soda business — not so much. So Coke wants an energy jolt from Monster... but to get it, it's exchanging its own energy brands for Monster’s non-energy drinks.'nbsp'nbspWe use Coke to look at swaps. What they are, why they’re done and whether they work. Also, the 214 United Sta...
8-14-214- Marketplace- Police weapons in Ferguson
Aug 14, 2014 |
Among the many striking images from the protests in Ferguson, Missouri, are those of local and state police using military-style weapons and gear. But it’s not unique to this St. Louis suburb. It’s part of a trend among local law enforcement since the 1’s. We explain what’s behind it. Plus,'nbspWalmart has invited dozens of small and medium sized companies to a junket in Denver. It wants to convince them to do business with the retailer. But small firms are often reluctant to get into bed with Wal-Mart, as the retailer’s demands are often so overwhelming that they can end up smothering its smaller partners. Also,'nbspGerman car maker Daimler is offering its staff the option of turning off em...
8-1-214- Marketplace- Raising Awareness With Ice Buckets
Aug 13, 2014 |
Retail sales fell last month to their weakest reading since January, according to figures out today from the Commerce Department. So why isn’t the American consumer spending? Plus,'nbspAmazon is launching its own version of the mobile credit card reader. Amazon Local Register is taking on established mobile payments apps such as Square and Paypal Here by offering a lower cost per swipe. We look at the battle for space in the growing sphere of mobile transactions. Also, the Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) ‘Ice Bucket Challenge’'nbsphas been a viral and financial success, reportedly raising at least $4 million 'nbspnationwide since the campaign launched on July 2. The numbers are impressiv...
8-11-214- Marketplace- Another Amazonian Dispute
Aug 11, 2014 |
Kinder Morgan, the alleged largest pipeline company in North America, is folding three of its separately-traded subsidiaries into its parent company. The merger will help Kinder Morgan expand its network of pipelines and position it to acquire other pipeline companies. Plus, you might think BuzzFeed is just a vapid company that produces listicle clickbait. But a venture capital company has valued it just shy of a billion dollars and touted its value as a tech company. Which goes to show that there’s still a lot we don’t know about BuzzFeed. Also,'nbspAmazon is under fire for not accepting pre-orders of forthcoming Disney DVD and Blu-ray titles including "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" ...
8-8-214- Marketplace- Easing Medical Debt Burden
Aug 8, 2014 |
People with lots of unpaid medical bills could be getting a break on their credit scores. Fair Isaac'nbspCorp. says it is changing its FICO calculations to lessen the impact of medical debt that is already in collection. Median scores could rise by as much as 25 percent. We look into why they treat medical debt differently. Plus, the London-based'nbspsystem'nbspfor setting the price of'nbspsilver is getting scrapped next week for a new electronic-based method. How will this affect the price-setting mechanism for gold, the Gold Fix?'nbsp
8-7-214- Marketplace- USPS Debt Collectors
Aug 7, 2014 |
Following on Bank of America's $16 billion settlement with federal regulators, Mark looks at this broader question, “After five years and dozens of settlements, where are we?" We look at what reassurances homeowners, investors, and governments now have. Plus,'nbspRussia is banning food imports from the West as retaliation against sanctions. How will this effect U.S. agriculture, which 'nbspwas already hit last year by a ban on beef imports because of an additive used here. Also, the US Postal Service issued a rule today that allows the U.S. government to garnish your private sector paycheck if you owe the USPS money. Thirty federal agencies already have that power, though the Post Office isn...
8-6-214- Marketplace- Creating A True Gaza Economy
Aug 6, 2014 |
Rebuilding Gaza after Israel’s attacks will cost billions. But that’s simply to restore Gaza to a prison refugee camp. What would it take to create a true Gaza economy? Plus, we look at'nbspthe calculus a consumer facing company like Walgreens makes when it’s considering an inversion, particularly when it factors in the effects of adverse public pressure.
8-5-214- Marketplace- U.S. Business Invest In Africa
Aug 5, 2014 |
The media company Gannet, which owns the newspaper USA TODAY, announced that it’s going to separate its broadcast and digital division from is publishing division. The company says this move will give the new separate companies ‘increased opportunities to grow organically’. Why has Gannett made this move now and will it pay off? We investigate. Plus, President'nbspObama announced that U.S. corporations have pledged $14 billion worth of investments in African countries. We look at the kinds of projects U.S. companies are pursuing in Africa and where they are happening. Also, the DOJ is investigating GMs auto loan business. Seems there has been some fraudulent lending going on. The auto loan b...
8-4-214- Marketplace- Portugal Spins Off Bad Assets
Aug 4, 2014 |
Portugal is dealing with the thorny issue of the near collapse of the Banco Espirito Santo by using the not-so-new solution of spinning off the bad assets in the bank. It's called a good bank-bad bank strategy, and we last saw it used during the financial crisis. We investigate. Plus, the Mayor of Toledo, Ohio, says resident can drink tap water again...if they want to. But with algae blooms increasingly common in Lake Erie, what does the future hold for the water supply for Toledo and many other cities? Also, Tesla'nbspbroke ground on its battery plant in Reno recently, but it still might take the plant elsewhere if it gets a better offer. And Reno isn’t the only city where Tesla is using th...
8-1-214- Marketplace- Auto Sales Are Zooming
Aug 1, 2014 |
What we have here is a jobs recovery without a wage recovery. We look at why more Americans are working, but average wages aren't even keeping up with inflation. Plus,'nbspProcter 'amp Gamble says it’s going to get rid of half its nearly 2 brands. How did that happen, in a company famed for its highly focused brand management? Also, Auto sales are intriguing this quarter. They're not as good as analysts had expected, but those expectations were very high. We look at why cars are selling so well right now. 'nbsp
7-1-14- Marketplace- Insurers On Driverless Cars
Jul 31, 2014 |
The holdout investors in the Argentina bond negotiations bought the bonds at a low price and are squeezing Argentina for a profit. Some people might say that makes the investors good businesspeople, but Argentina says it makes them vultures. We explain what vulture funds are, what they do, and how they provide a valuable service to the bond market. Plus, among the penalties handed out to Bank of America for its actions contributing to the mortgage crisis was a $1 million personal fine charged to a former manager. We look at why so few people are being held individually responsible for their actions. Also, the day of driverless cars being on the road as cars, not experiments, is nigh. We look...
7-1-14- Morning Report- India stalls WTO deal
Jul 31, 2014 |
John Kerry is going to India, but India isn’t coming to Kerry. The country’s leaders have refused to sign a WTO deal, insisting on a compromise over grain stockpiles. The WTO deal reportedly could mean a trillion dollars in stimulus and 21 million new jobs. If it went through, what would that stimulus look like? Plus, more fallout from the housing crisis, this time for Bank of America. It's tacking on another billion dollars to its growing bill for passing off garbage mortgages as smart investments. Also, commentators have a habit of blaming whole generations for various economic troubles. Millennials are in the crosshairs a lot lately, accused of everything from shackling the housing market...
7--14- Marketplace- Movie Studios Rescue Kodak
Jul 30, 2014 |
Twitter announced it lost $144 million in the first quarter, but it also registered a 25 percent gain in users in the period.'nbspThat’s a good first step. The second step will be working out how to make money off those users, and the third step will be actually turning a profit. It’s a simple three-step road to success. So simple that a bunch of pantie-pinching gnomes could understand it. And maybe even make it work. Also, the National Labor Relations Board says McDonald’s could be held ‘jointly liable’ for labor and wage violations made by its franchise owners. How does this business model work, and what impact will yesterday’s ruling have on McDonald’s and other companies like it? Also, m...
7-2-214- Marketplace- More Russian Sanctions
Jul 29, 2014 |
A new round of European sanctions against Russia, announced today, may also hurt US businesses that operate in Russia or have interests there. We consider the possible impact on these firms. Plus, it's'nbsplooking increasingly likely that Argentina will default on some of its bonds. So what happens then? Will Argentina be consumed by hellfire? Will fear of contagion freeze the global financial markets and plunge us into another recession? Or will it be business as usual in the global bond market? Also, according to a report by the Urban Institute that came out this week, around 77 million have debt in collections. We look at what happens when a bill goes to collection, and what happens to th...
7-28-214- Marketplace- Dollar For Dollar
Jul 28, 2014 |
Trulia and Zillow announced they will join forces in a deal worth a reported $.5 billion. It looks a lot like something that happens in tech when a sector matures in which companies start buying each other open a so-called roll up.'nbspWe explain why this happens and what to expect in this business.'nbspPlus,'nbspDollar Tree will also be acquiring Family Dollar Stores in a deal valued at $8.5 billion.'nbspHow have things changed and how are these stores repositioning themselves as the economy recovers? In Detroit, the'nbspcity water agency is proceeding with its plan to go after'nbspindividual residents who are delinquent, to scare people into paying up, while negotiating with or otherwise l...
7-25-214- Marketplace- End For Red Light Cameras?
Jul 25, 2014 |
We’ve come to expect lousy earnings reports from Amazon, but yesterday’s was beyond lousy, and the stock is 'nbspdown 11 percent this morning. Has Amazon finally reached a point where it’s going to have to behave like other companies and make some money? Plus, under the Affordable Care Act, healthcare companies are required to spend at least 8 percent of premiums on actual medical care. We’ll explain how these rebates work and who actually gets the money. Also, has the automated red light camera system failed to live up to its promise? The system was created to improve safety on the roads and generate income in cities across the country, but the system has been plagued with controversy and i...
7-24-214- Marketplace- Facebook's Figured Out Mobile
Jul 24, 2014 |
Facebook’s blow-the-roof off earnings report shows that it has figured out mobile, and is set to dominate the mobile ad world. So how did that happen, and what comes next? Plus, in its latest earnings report, automaker GM has revealed that it expects to spend between $4 million and $6 million to compensate victims of its defective ignition switches. We consider the company’s strategy in handling its massive recall. Also,'nbspTwitter released its diversity statistics yesterday. Not surprisingly, they were as dismal as those at Google, Facebook and other tech companies. So now that they know the scope of the problem, what are'nbspthese companies'nbspdoing to address it?
7-2-214- Marketplace- Big Box Target Goes Small
Jul 23, 2014 |
Fighting between Israel and Hamas has led some U.S. and European airlines to cancel flights to Israel on safety grounds. We explore how airlines decide when they should or should not fly to a given destination. Plus,'nbspTarget Corp. opened its first ‘TargetExpress’ store in Dinkytown, Minneapolis today. At 2, square feet it’s even smaller than its ‘City'nbsp Target’ stores. This physical reduction reflects an expansion by the company into new markets, but why has this big box corporation decided to ‘go small’? Is this part of a larger trend by big box stores to make their mark on smaller communities? Plus, how will this move impact the company’s profit margin? We investigate. Also, corporat...
7-22-214- Marketplace- Is Boeing And Delta's Friendship Over?
Jul 22, 2014 |
Is inflation dead? Seems fair to say it’s at least comatose. The latest numbers show little movement in consumer prices and that’s unlikely to change soon. Plus, companies like'nbsp Comcast and Netflix are raking it in. So what are they doing with all that money? We investigate. Also,'nbspBoeing and Delta are in a massive fight right now over this esoteric thing called the Ex-Im bank and how much money ends up in Boeing’s hands. We explain what’s at the core of the fight and how it’s playing out in these two companies that once had a pretty symbiotic relationship.
7-21-214- Marketplace- TSA Security Fees Increase
Jul 21, 2014 |
European leaders are angry with Russia and say President Vladimir Putin should do more to rein in the Russian separatists in Ukraine suspected of being involved in bringing down flight MH17. We examine what sanctions it would take to persuade Russia to change course. Plus,'nbspTSA security fees on airline tickets are about to go up. We explain the math behind your ticket. Also,'nbspWhirlpool is threatening to leave the EnergyStar program, unless Congress grants immunity from class-action lawsuits. How healthy, and vulnerable, is this label now?
7-18-214- Marketplace- More Users More Money
Jul 18, 2014 |
Ukraine told airlines to avoid parts of its airspace. MH17 did that, but was shot down anyway. We look at what happens when countries recommend the closure of flight lanes and how airlines handle the decision and where to fly. Also,'nbspIt’s almost certain that the missile which downed MH-17 was a 7s-era Buk, or SA-11, a relic of the Cold War era that was Soviet-made, then sold off around the world via the international arms market, following the collapse of the USSR. We follow the long tail of the cold war weapons that point to the sky. And after, Twitter looks to expand the count on its user base beyond monthly users by changing its metrics to reflect tweets that are seen by people who are...
7-17-214- Marketplace- Gigantic Layoffs
Jul 17, 2014 |
Microsoft is laying off 14 percent of its staff, 18, employees. We look at how you manage a layoff process this big over that kind of time, and what effect it has on productivity and morale. Also,'nbspAmazon is preparing to launch an e-book subscription service, according to a page on its website. The service, called 'nbsp“Kindle Unlimited” would apparently give subscribers access to 6, books at a monthly cost of $1. The monthly-subscription model works well with movies but how well will it work in the book world? We investigate? Also, housing starts were down in June, and way down in the South. But as with all monthly data reports, the question is, what does this mean?'nbsp
7-16-214- Marketplace- Farmers Ignoring The Drought
Jul 16, 2014 |
Apple and IBM have reached an agreement to produce software applications exclusively for iPads and iPhones. But will the biggest impact be on the companies that are not part of the deal? Also,'nbspRupert Murdoch’s reported offer of $8 billion has been turned down by Time Warner. We explain what’s behind the offer. And after, we revisit the California drought, which is expected'nbspcost California agriculture a couple billion dollars this year. But it’s far from a disaster. Here and in drought areas like the Ogallala Aquifer, farmers’ unregulated access to underground reservoirs is tapping out a resource that can’t be replaced.
7-15-214- Marketplace- The Temporary Spending Bill
Jul 15, 2014 |
Congress appears headed toward a temporary spending bill to keep the Highway Trust Fund from going broke next month. Lawmakers have been unable to agree on a long-term funding mechanism for repairing and upgrading the national infrastructure. This isn’t too surprising, since Congress and the president can’t seem to agree on long-term funding for much of anything. So the federal government lurches from short-term fix to short-term fix. David Gura examines the impact on government and the businesses that depend on it when governing crisis by crisis. Plus,'nbspAbbvie has at last managed to snare Irish pharma company Shire. The merger isn’t about new markets or cool technology, it’s about cuttin...
Jul 14, 2014 |
The markets are near record levels and individual investors who have sat out until now are belatedly joining in, an indication that the real money has already been made. But where else is there to invest in our zero-interest world? That’s one big reason the markets are so high. Also, those debt-settlement scam artists who promise to help you get out of credit card debt have found a new target—students having trouble paying off their loans. Illinois becomes the first state to crack down on them today. We look at the business, and how widespread the problem is. And finally,'nbspSwiss chocolate company Lindt is buying Russell Stover. That brings up a lot for some people.
7-11-214- Marketplace- The Cig Biz Gets Bigger
Jul 11, 2014 |
Reynolds and Lorillard, two big cigarette companies, are merging. You might think that with all the bans on smoking in bars, restaurants and public spaces, the cig business would be pretty small these days. But the fact is cigarettes are still huge, including in the US. We look at what this kind of merger means for smokes. Also, the White House is announcing a program to get companies to pay their small-business suppliers faster. Apple, Honda and Coca-Cola are among the 26 companies that have agreed to pay small businesses they contract with for parts and services faster – ideally within 15 days. We ask a small business owner how much of a difference does it make if they get paid a few days ...
7-1-214- Marketplace- Growth In Airliner Sales
Jul 10, 2014 |
News that Chinese hackers broke into databases holding personal information on government employees is confirmation that your information is not safe, whether it be in a bank or a government vault. Now it’s all up to the private sector to protect our information, and that’s creating huge opportunities for data security businesses. Plus, Europe’s troubled economies are in deeper trouble still. Today’s bleak news? Portugal is possibly heading for another banking crisis while manufacturing numbers from France and Italy are simply disappointing. Deflation, contraction, recession. As Europe struggles on, we compare and contrast and ask about the impact, if any, on the U.S. Also,'nbspBoeing foreca...
7--214- Marketplace- More Jobs?
Jul 9, 2014 |
Citigroup is close to reaching a $7 billion settlement with the Department of Justice over allegations that it sold shoddy mortgages. The J.P. Morgan Chase settlement back in November was $1 billion, which raises the question: How does the Justice department come up with sich a number? Plus,'nbspAlcoa, a mega producer of aluminum, is trying to go the route that other founding U.S. corporations have gone by getting out of the commodity business it was built on and moving into more specialized products with less competition and higher profit margins. Also, the Bureau of Labor Statistics says employers are advertising more jobs. But that doesn’t mean they’re actually doing the hiring for those ...
7-8-214- Marketplace- The $6, Intern
Jul 8, 2014 |
After a blaze of success that propelled it into going public, the Crumbs cupcake company is going out of business. We look at the object lessons that other one-product businesses might take from the Crumbs saga. Plus, a'nbspnew report looks at grads who came out in the early days of the recession and concludes they’ve done just fine. They have, but only because they got in before things really hit the fan. We look behind the numbers. Also, seems Silicon Valley interns get paid a lot of money. Like, six grand a month, in some cases. What do they do to make that kind of cash, and why would any company want to pay an intern that much? We report. 'nbsp
7-7-214- Marketplace- Inexpensive Food in U.S.
Jul 7, 2014 |
Banks needing cash temporarily pawn off treasuries to get it – usually just for a day or two. The system is under strain because the Fed has bought so many bonds and also because regulations require many financial institutions to hold bonds as collateral for deals. This is causing deals to fail at unprecedented rates. Plus, Archer Daniels Midland, a major US food processor has agreed to buy a company called Wild Flavors, which specializes in natural flavorings for food products. We pull back the curtain on the business of flavor, and along the way find out'nbspabout what’s in, what’s out, and the tastes that are trending. Also, some foods are at recent highs, others are cheaper than they’ve ...
7--214- Marketplace - Fireworks and Beer
Jul 4, 2014 |
Ready to watch some fireworks this Independence Day? Even if they're banned in your neighborhood, you'll probably still see and hear a few. According to the American Pyrotechnics Association, most states have restrictions on large types of firework. So how come there are still so many things that go bang in the night? Youth Radio takes us into the black market of fireworks. And, July 4th is one of the top weekends for American beer brands. But as Marketplace's Mitchell Hartman reports shifting habits among beer drinkers may mean that won't be true for too much longer. Also, in the next installment of the series "I've always wondered", Golda Arthur looks into what it's like to be a day trader...
7--214- Marketplace- Figures It Out
Jul 3, 2014 |
The latest jobs figures from the Department of Labor show the unemployment rate fell to 6.1 percent last month. That's the lowest since 28, when the Great Recession kicked in. We explore how the jobs landscape has changed since then and what people are saying about having - or not having - a job. Plus,'nbspPresident Obama says immigration reform, if passed, could lead to $1.4 trillion in additional growth – we unpack, fact-check and explain this figure.
Jul 2, 2014 |
Target is following other national chains in asking gun owners not to bring their guns shopping, including states where open-carry is legal. Target has been a target of both open-carry demonstrators in Texas, and anti-gun groups protesting people carrying rifles into Target stores, where 8 percent of the shoppers are women and children. We look at the cost to retailers following in Wyatt Earp’s footsteps. Plus,'nbspLAUSD is backing away from its iPad for every kid policy and is opening up its classrooms to several other devices made by Google, Microsoft, etc. With hundreds of millions of education-tech dollars being spent by school districts, what does LA’s move 'nbspmean for the competition...
7-1-214- Marketplace- End of the Draw
Jul 1, 2014 |
Several government agencies are making worried noises about the number of HELOCs that will come due in the next two years. These balloon payments that result from “end of the draw”, when a line of credit matures, could put a great deal of stress on the economy. We explain what end of the draw is, and why it could be a problem for the US. Also, Yahoo is saving the cult sitcom "Community", by announcing it will pay for the show's sixth season. We look at how "Community" fits in to Yahoo's plans to be a content provider and its ability to compete in this area.
6--214- Marketplace- Facebook: Are You Okay?
Jun 30, 2014 |
The Supreme Court rules the ACA’s contraception provisions violate a federal law protecting religious freedom in the case of two challenging corporations. The court restricts the idea of religious liberty to corporations of a certain kind: closely held corporations, the vast majority of which are individuals or small family businesses. Some, though, are large: Hobby Lobby, one of today’s plaintiffs, is family owned and employs nearly 2, people. Also, the revelation that Facebook has been manipulating the feelings of its users revealed the existence of its data science division. We look at what the division does, why it’s so important to Facebook, and why knowing so much about your feelings i...
6-27-214- Marketplace- Ukraine's Monumental Deal
Jun 27, 2014 |
Ukraine signed a historic trade deal today with the European Union. An accord with the EU was rejected last year by former president Viktor Yanukovych in favor of a deal with Russia.'nbspThe backlash sparked his ouster, fighting between pro-European and pro-Russian Ukrainians and Russia’s annexation of Crimea. We look at what’s in the EU Association Agreement'nbspand what it will mean for Ukraine in terms of trade, jobs and exports. Also, did anyone else have trouble watching the World Cup US-Germany game online? Why does ESPN's online streaming choke for US viewers at the worst possible time during the World Cup? We investigate the "peak" problem. 'nbsp
6-26-214- Marketplace- World Cup Underpants
Jun 26, 2014 |
General Motors is recalling some Chevy Cruze sedans because of a potential problem with the airbags. The Cruze is GM’s best-selling vehicle in North America, and this is just the latest in a string of GM safety issues. Is this the tipping point where the recalls start hitting GM’s bottom line? Plus, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency yesterday released a study showing that banks are making riskier loans. They’re making them indirectly to individuals in the form of auto loans, and directly in the form of so-called covenant-lite loans. We look at what these loans are, why they’re risky and what it means for the economy. Also, sponsors pay big money to put their names on team gear. S...
6-25-214- Marketplace- Oily Cracks
Jun 25, 2014 |
The US economy shrank at an annual rate of 2. percent in the January-March quarter, according to the latest figures from the Commerce Department. Its estimates a month ago indicated the first-quarter contraction was just one percent. We explore the limited significance of the latest gloomy figures in the current climate of optimism. Also, turns out there may be a crack in the U.S. ban on oil exports, something producers in fracking regions are currently lobbying for. And the ultralight oil produced by fracking is what’s seeping through that crack. Fracked oil is so light that refineries aren’t set up to handle it, intensifying a surplus that already exists because of high production. We inve...
A new Brookings report out today suggests that the crisis surrounding student loans may not be what we think it is. The report is based on data from the last 2 years and says that certain areas are worse than others. Graduates, for example, are in tougher spots than undergraduates. We look at where the problems with student loans are most acute. Plus, the Export-Import bank, whose charter is expected to expire at the end of September, faces a dire future as both the White House and Republicans call for its end. What is it and what are its main functions? We explain. Also, we look at how'nbsppoliticians talk about wealth when they talk about wealth: Did you work your way up, did you earn ever...
6-2-214- Marketplace- A Carbon Tax?
Jun 23, 2014 |
The White House hosts a Summit on Working Families today, to draw attention to the fact that the US actually has a pretty poor record on paid family leave. It's an important issue in an election year. But to ensure public attention, the summit comes with its own celebrity guest- Mad Men's Christina Hendricks. She will probably get the attention, but there are some real issues here. Plus, Henry Paulson, the prominent Republican and former Treasury Secretary, says global warming will be a bigger crisis of its kind than the financial crisis, and it's time to adopt a carbon tax. Economist Paul Krugman says sure, but politically that's not going to happen. Do you support "second-best" solutions? ...
6-2-214- Marketplace- Monet's Lilies
Jun 20, 2014 |
The federal government's pressure on for-profit colleges that take in billions in federal student aid is close to claiming its first victim. Corinthian, which operates Everett College and Heald College among others, is nearly out of money after the government put a hold on federal grants for its students. The entire industry is sagging. If you're not almost out of money, for $5 million you can own Monet's "Nympheas," one of his most famous water lilies paintings. Or for'nbsp$14.5 you can own a Nympheas coffee mug.'nbspMonet’s lilies are one of the biggest art franchises ever. But just how big? We investigate. Also, Germany's Siemens and Japan's'nbspMitsubishi Heavy Industries sweetened their...
6-1-214- Marketplace- Rowling Out
Jun 19, 2014 |
The World Cup is taking steps to provide more commercial breaks for advertising. How does advertising work in a giant sporting event that features continuous play except for halftime and flops? Plus,'nbspAmerican Apparel's board of directors forced out CEO and founder Dov Charney. It's the latest parting with a problematic CEO, from Men's Wearhouse to Groupon. 'nbspWhat calculations and strategy are used when it's time to dump your company's founder? Also, JK'nbspRowling’s new book “The Silkworm” is out today.'nbsp Amazon is in a dispute with Hachette, her publisher, and has removed pre-order buttons for her book and those of other Hachette authors from its site. Walmart and some independent...
6-18-214- Marketplace- Whip Into Action
Jun 18, 2014 |
The House elects its new majority leader Thursday, and Kevin McCarthy is expected to win. He’d be the No. 2 person in the caucus, responsible for helping to set the agenda. But the leader has another role that might be even more important: raising money for the party and colleagues, something the recently deposed majority leader, Eric Cantor, was very good at. Plus, millions of recalls are issued every year, but only a fraction of car owners come in for the fix. Why? We look into possible problems on the dealer end, and possible problems on the consumer end. Also, the US Patent office has ruled the Washington Redskins’ name disparages Native Americans and says the team's federal trademarks f...
6-17-214- Marketplace- Lets Call The Whole Thing Off
Jun 17, 2014 |
Consumer Price Index, CPI, is up, but the Fed, which meets tomorrow measures inflation in a different way. Deflation. Inflation. Let’s call the whole thing off. Then,'nbspNetflix plans to stream some of its shows, including Breaking Bad and Orange is the New Black, in 4K Ultra HD. But not a lot of people have the ability to watch ultra HD right now. However, this is where the Next Big Thing begins. What's the strategy for taking us as'nbspconsumers of content, hardware and technology, to the next level? We look at the shape of things to come. Also, a'nbspfamous baseball player dies of cancer from chewing tobacco. We look at the smokeless tobacco industry, where sales are up'nbsp
6-16-214- Marketplace- Starbucks Ups The Ante
Jun 16, 2014 |
Amid the conflict in Iraq, the international benchmark for oil prices has hit a recent high. We look at what is known as the “comfort zone” as well as how traders factor in a risk premium into their decisions. Plus, Starbucks is upping the ante for low-wage workers by offering partial or full online tuition as ASU. In doing so, the competition to work at Starbucks is going to increase—which may be precisely the point. Also, the Supreme Court today'nbsp declined to hear Argentina's appeal over its bid to avoid paying $1. billion to hedge fund creditors. The claim stems from the country’s historic 21 default. Argentina is now on the hook to pay up in full and warns this could lead once more to...
The extremist group that recently seized control of Mosul in Iraq is reported to have bagged $42 million from banks in the oil-trading city. ISIS also levies “taxes” on people in the areas it controls. We look at how ISIS functions as a financial entity, where it get its money, and what the group spends it on? Plus, Priceline is becoming even more of an all-services booking agent as it acquires Open Table. First innovators like Priceline undermined their competition - travel agents - and now their platforms are expanding to simply take their place. What other company has followed this model? In the case of Open Table, Priceline is getting not just a new business - restaurant reservations - b...
6-12-214- Marketplace- Twitter Cans it's COO
Jun 12, 2014 |
Twitter canned its COO today and said it may not need one afterall. Only 6 percent of Fortune 5 companies have one. So what’s the job of a COO? Plus, Amazon’s getting into music streaming now. It's gone down the video streaming route before too. Which raises the question, just what kind of company does it want to be? Also, the average size of a new single-family home in the U.S. continues its upward march… now eclipsing 2, square feet. Compare that to the average 4 years ago… just 1,5 square feet. We explain the economics behind the trend – there’s a much better margin in supersized homes.
6-11-214- Marketplace- Macon Prospects
Jun 11, 2014 |
In an unexpected turn of events, House Majority leader Eric Cantor (R- VA) lost the Virginia Congressional Primary last night to Tea Party opponent David Brat. In an even weirder turn of events, Brat and his Democratic challenger, Jack Trammell, who will also be vying for the seat previously held by Cantor, are both professors at the Randolph Macon College in Ashland, Virginia.'nbspWill having two candidates in one of the most high-profile congressional races mean a boost for Randolph Macon? We offer a mini profile of the school and it’s jump into the spotlight.'nbsp
6-1-214- Marketplace- An Oil Company and its Drones
Jun 10, 2014 |
Iraq's war agains internal militants is hurting its oil production, but overall production is okay. OPEC, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, hopes Saudi Arabia will keep its pumps on 11 million barrels more a day to make up for Libya and Iran. Longer-term, OPEC is still looking at a worldwide glut that could force its members to cut back. Plus, nutritionists want WIC, the program for pregnant women and mothers with small children, to stop promoting white potatoes as a vegetable. There are, like, actual vegetables that deserve more notice. Potato growers aren't amused. Also, BP has just got permission to use drones for its oil operations in Alaska- this is the first govern...
6--214- Marketplace- The Uber Investment
Jun 9, 2014 |
President Obama is making big news about changes that will make but a small difference in the student loan debacle. But who will these changes help? And by how much will it help them? Plus, Time Inc. is going at it alone after having been spun off from Time Warner. The biggest-selling magazine in the company's stable of publications is People. But the celebrity magazine industry, like all print media is facing declining sales. So how do People and other celebrity magazines keep up their sales and future-proof their industry? Also, the latest venture-capital investment in Uber has put the car-service algorithm's'nbsppaper value at more than $17 billion. Who's investing in Uber? And why would ...
6-6-214- Marketplace- Sweet News
Jun 6, 2014 |
Tesla is trying to get its showrooms in New Jersey re-opened with legislation that argues that car dealerships are really repair shops. Teslas don't require a lot of repairs and maintenance, ergo sum, a Tesla showroom doesn't threaten traditional dealers. Except, maybe, by revealing their real business model. In sweeter news, today's National Doughnut Day! The celebration was begun by the Salvation Army in 18 to raise funds for people in need during the depression era. We report on the intersection of poverty and America's favorite breakfast treat. Plus, UPS is delivering 6-pound bricks of Restoration Hardware catalogs, The Complete Set, including a one-page statement of sustainability impac...
6-5-214- Marketplace- The Double Negatives
Jun 5, 2014 |
The European Central bank has put in place a “negative interest rate” policy, in hopes of stimulating its economy. We explain what a negative interest rate actually is, and how it will affect the Eurozone economy and that of trading partners like the US. Plus, new data shows the number of American homeowners who are underwater, owing more to banks than their homes are worth, continues to decline. We explore what that means for homeowners and the economy as assets increase and homeowners regain mobility.
6-4-214- Marketplace- Labor Movement, Shmabor Movement
Jun 4, 2014 |
Word is that the head of the Cleveland Clinic, Delos "Toby" Cosgrove, is on the short list to be the new boss of the Department of Veterans'nbspAffairs. The VA system has more in common with the renowned Cleveland Clinic than you might think, despite its recent problems. We look at some of the similarities between the two organizations. Plus, the protests and appeals of Walmart workers are a far cry from the labor movement that organized the country's major industries many decades ago. The reliance on protests and publicity just goes to show how limited labor organizers have become, and how difficult it is to organize low-wage industries whose workers can't afford to risk their jobs. We'll a...
6--214- Marketplace- How to Vogue
Jun 3, 2014 |
A national poll shows there is broad public support for the EPA clean up of coal-burning generating plants. But the EPA's proposal does not eliminate coal. In fact, coal would still power percent of electricity generation by 2. What the rules are likely to do is move utilities to do what they're already doing for business reasons- eliminate their most inefficient, therefore most polluting, plants. Then, Conde Nast is getting into the business of teaching. The renowned media company that already teaches a Vogue fashion course in London is working with universities to create accredited certificate programs. We 'll take a look at the range of knowledge they might impart: from Wired to Golf dige...
6-2-214- Marketplace- Facing the NSA
Jun 2, 2014 |
Carbon must be reduced by some baseline, and the EPA has settled on the year 25. We look at how 25 gives utilities a head start in meeting carbon reductions that in fact are pretty immediate. Plus, the NSA is collecting a huge number of photos and is relying heavily on software to complete their facial recognition project. We take a look at efforts to develop that software, how good is it right now and how much effort is going into perfecting it. We also ask, to what extent have commercial developers done the NSA's work for them? Also, the Bureau of Labor Statistics doesn't count those jobless for 27 weeks or more as unemployed if they haven't looked for work in four weeks. Wait, what? They'...
5--214- Marketplace- Ballmer Wins the Basketball
May 30, 2014 |
President Obama announced Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki's resignation earlier today. That solves some of the political fallout, but the problems at the VA remain- doctor staffing is still too low and waiting times are too long. So how do we fix those? Plus,'nbspTech titan Steve Ballmer has won the bidding process to buy the LA Clippers. What will the eventual new owner get ? Among other things, he’ll have the ability to sell lucrative television rights to the team’s games as well as having somewhere to park all his money.'nbsp
5-2-214- Marketplace- Relish the Hot Dog
May 29, 2014 |
The latest figures show a 1% contraction in the first quarter of this year- the economy's worst performance in three years. But should people despair over a poor GDP figure? Why do we place such importance on the GDP? When it comes to assessing the nation's well-being, can you pretty much choose your indicator? Also, Google release a diversity profile of its work force, showing how male-dominated the company is, with few women and even less blacks and Hispanics. How does this revelation matter for the U.S.'s innovation center? Plus, it suddenly seems that everyone wants a piece of Hillshire Brands, the maker of Jimmy Dean sausages and Ballpark hot dogs. Tyson Foods is out with a $6.1 billion...
5-28-214- Marketplace- Self-guided Cars and a Universal Translator
May 28, 2014 |
In a long- awaited report, the Federal Trade Commission today called for consumers to have more control over their personal information. The FTC wants Congress to consider legislation restricting the way data brokers can use the information they gather from "online" and "offline" sources. For example: What consumers buy, their social media activity, magazine subscriptions and political 'nbspaffiliations. In this episode we look at how the data brokers operate. Also, Google recently introduced a prototype for their self-driving vehicle. Generation of Americans have experienced driver's-ed as a rite of passage, sitting behind a wheel while a driving instructor with his own set of controls yell...
5-27-214- Marketplace- Zappos to a Job
May 27, 2014 |
The online retailer Zappos has done away with traditional job postings, in favor of an internal social network which potential candidates must join. Although Zappos isn't a very traditional company- they did away with job titles last year- we'll look at the challenges companies face when hiring and how that process might be changing. Plus, chicken-producer Pilgrim's Pride is making a hostile takeover bid for sausage supremo, Hillshire Brands. Pilgrim has boasted of wanting to create one big "protein-focused" company. In an age where Walmart style behemoths dominate the grocery sector, food producers like Pilgrim's Pride see the advantage of size as they deal with the chains and seek market s...
5-26-214- Marketplace - Delivery room economics
May 26, 2014 |
One in three babies are born by Cesarian section in the U.S., but the rates of C-sections vary widely by state, and even by hospital. Gigi Douban reports on how a call by the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology for fewer C-sections may play out. Meanwhile, Facebook has just announced new gender options. Users can now change their profiles to identify as transgender, transsexual, trans-feminine and many more there are a lot of options. And for companies, making the choice to recognize, and, even showcase different lifestyles is becoming popular. And, Marketplace guest host David Gura talks about beer and business with Steve Hindy, co-founder of The Brooklyn Brewery.'nbsp
5-2-214- Marketplace- The Power of HUD
May 23, 2014 |
The president is naming his new pick to be the head of Housing and Urban Development, Julian Castro, currently the San Antonio mayor. And while HUD is something of a giant bureaucracy, it has less influence than you might think over housing in the U.S. We look at the limits of HUD’s power, and the tools HUD has to help the housing recovery. Plus,'nbspHewlett-Packard is cutting thousands more jobs. Is this founder of Silicon Valley at the stage of life where it’s best strategy is cutting jobs to prop up profits as long as it can? Or can it, um, re-invent itself? Also, online retailer Amazon'nbsp dislikes a book critical of its founder. It now lists the paperback edition of author Brad Stone’s...
5-22-214 - Marketplace - Hasta Pasta, Ragu
May 22, 2014 |
As Sears Canada today posts its steepest fall in quarterly sales in almost five years, we look at why Canada has proved such a difficult terrain for US businesses. Plus, Unilever is selling its Ragu brand to a Japanese conglomerate, the latest passage for the spaghetti sauce that brought Italian cooking into the mainstream in the U.S. We look at the cultural and culinary history of Italian-American food and its banner sauce (which is in fact a marinara, not a ragout). Also, new census figures say 7 of the 15 fastest growing communities in the U.S. are in Texas – places like Cedar Park, Frisco and San Marcos. But that growth doesn’t necessarily translate to wealth. In San Marcos, the median h...
5-21-214- Marketplace- The Growing Ad
May 21, 2014 |
Russia and China have struck a big deal that assures Gazprom a very big market in China for many years to come. We explain what Gazprom is and its strategy as a state-owned enrgy giant. Plus, Google may be planning to put ads in unusual places like thermostats, glasses, watches and refrigerators because it hopes to put its operating systems into the places as well. But peopl are already tuning out ads on their devices and TVs. So how hard will it be to ignore an ad when it becomes a bigger- and unavoidable- part of your daily routine? And should the ad industry be worried? Also, GM's growing recall list no includes another 2,+ vehicles, bringing the total number recalled by GM in U.S. this y...
5-2-214- Marketplace- The Blizzard Moves to Manhattan
May 20, 2014 |
The White House is touting its record of bringing foreign investment to the US. We evaluate the claims and explain the many factors at play when it comes to insourcing and outsourcing. Plus,'nbspDairy Queen comes to Manhattan – what does the arrival of heartland America mean to the island of Duane Read, Carvel and Tad’s? Also,'nbspGoogle is buying Divide, a New York-based startup. Divide does just what it says on the tin: it allows users to separate work and play on their mobile devices. Useful for businesses because they’re able to better secure and control the work side of their employees mobiles. Better for individuals because they can secure their personal data. 'nbsp'nbsp
5-1-214- Marketplace- Coffee Rust
May 19, 2014 |
The deal has been struck. AT'ampT announced it will aquire DirecTV for approximately $4 billion. We unpack all the pieces in play in this AT'ampT-DirecTV deal, and look at the sales job the company will have to do for regulators. Plus, Attorney General Eric Holder charged members of the Chinese military with "economic espionage." We look at the reaction following Monday morning's public'nbspannouncement. Also, the U.S. is stepping up efforts to help Latin American coffee farmers fight a fungus called "coffee rust" that has been devastating coffee crops throughout the region. Finally, USAID today is announcing a $5 million partnership with Texas A'ampM's World Coffee Research center to tackle...
5-16-214- Marketplace- Breadsticks or Biscuits
May 16, 2014 |
The co-head of Deutsche Bank told his traders to stop being ‘boastful, indiscreet and vulgar’. An interesting admission – but is it a realistic demand? Or is he really just asking them to take it offline? Plus, if you had Red Lobster on one side of the street and Olive Garden on the other, which one would you choose? And if you owned both those casual-dining chains, which would you choose to keep? Darden has decided to sell Red Lobster and revamp their Olive Garden franchise. We investigate.'nbspAlso, a'nbsprecent review of sales per square foot of U.S. retailers found Apple at the top of the list. Makes sense given how pricey its items tend to be. Ditto with Tiffany, which came in at No. . ...
5-15-214- Marketplace- The Report Card
May 15, 2014 |
The starting point of the F.C.C.'s current rule-making is the apparent need for rules. And a starting point for that is Netflix alone comprising more than a third of all internet traffic because of streaming video. What's the effect on the system from giant users like Netflix and YouTube? Plus, the NCAA announced its plans to penalize more than colleges for poor academic performance by their scholarship athletes. All are relatively small institutions, none in the wealthy power conference, and many are historically black colleges. We look at how the how the NCAA's academic support for athletes works. Also, Jill Abramson was let go yesterday as the executive editor for the New Yor Times. But b...
5-14-214- Marketplace- 21st Century Infrastructure
May 14, 2014 |
An insurance company’s suit against Chicago’s wastewater management system may be a harbinger of insurers forcing institutions and businesses to consider the effects of climate change. Plus,'nbspPresident Obama speaks today about the “need a 21st century transportation infrastructure” today, near New York’s Tappan Zee Bridge. Earlier this year, the transportation secretary did a Midwestern tour to tout infrastructure needs. It’s clear infrastructure is a political crutch these days, but that masks just how bad the nation’s infrastructure problems are. Also, we seem to be having a privilege moment. An essay on “check your privilege” written by a Princeton student has grabbed the national atte...
5-1-214 - Marketplace - Google Yourself
May 13, 2014 |
An EU ruling on privacy has big implications for Google and other search providers. We as what does the ruling means for Google’s operations in Europe, and what it might mean for other providers on that side of the pond. Also:'nbspRetail sales were disappointing, and maybe even surprising. Why the monthly retail sales number isn’t all that the market cracks it up to be. Finally,'nbspFHFA head Mel Watt gave his first speech today, and it look as though he wants to open up the mortgage market a bit. We unpack what the change in direction will mean to the housing recovery.
5-12-214- Marketplace- The Center Aisle
May 12, 2014 |
The FCC is considering rules that would allow cable companies and other internet providers to strike deals with high-volume users like Netflix. We look at why shouldn’t the internet simply be regulated like a public utility? Plus, packaged food company Hillshire Brands announced it would acquire Pinnacle Foods for $6.6 billion today. This represents a battle for the center aisle of the supermarket. We report on how our buying patterns have changed when it comes to shopping in the center aisle, and what companies are doing to grab that market and make us buy more. Alos, this is television’s Upfronts Week where the networks unveil their new offerings in New York.'nbsp It’s evolved into a major...
5--214- Marketplace- Beats of Smart Underwear
May 9, 2014 |
Apple is in talks to buy Beats, known for its trendy- and expensive- Beats by Dr. Dre headphones. IF it goes through, this would be Apple's biggest acquisition at a reported $.2 billion. But Beats doesn't just make headphones. We look at Beats the company, its produts and services, and what it could offer Apple if te deal goes through. Plus, the breakdown of merger plans between Publicis and Omnicom is a reminder of how difficult it can be to execute a merger of equals that has the goal of a 5-5 arrangement. We investigate. Then, smart underwear! A hospital in Greece now gives some patients with COPD biometric underwear to monitor "six clinical indicators and transmit data back to the hospit...
5-8-214- Marketplace- Housing Market Mojo
May 8, 2014 |
FedEx says it will charge by the size of a package into account when figuring out shipping costs. Bulky but lightweight items'nbsp will get more expensive to send. We look at all the ripple effects a change like this can make, everything from how consumers might modify their buying habits to how big shippers like Amazon might consider more efficient packaging. Plus,'nbspJanet Yellen feels pretty good about most of the economy, except for housing. Activity in this sector has been disappointing, she said, and many economists agree. We report on what it would mean if the housing market can’t find its mojo. Then,'nbspwe follow up on listener questions about her story on people who spend time in ...
May 7, 2014 |
Alibaba filed its IPO yesterday. But it hasn’t chosen an exchange yet, and the competition between the hot favorites, NYSE and the NASDAQ, will likely be intense. But why do they really care?'nbsp Sabri Ben Achour reports on how much money an exchange makes from a big listing like Alibaba, and how it profits in other ways. Plus,'nbspStanford University is the first major university to divest itself of carbon-producing fossil-fuel investments – but only coal. Can coal producers be isolated when coal still generates nearly 4 percent of U.S. electricity and is integral to many other industries? Then,'nbspCoca-Cola has quickly abandoned an ad campaign whose tagline was “You’re on Diet Coke,” aft...
5-6-214- Marketplace- Weatherman vs. Climate Scientist
May 6, 2014 |
TV weathermen are the most common contact most Americans have with meteorology and climate, but the consensus on climate change is significantly lower than among them than climate scientists. What is it about the TV meterologist industry? Plus,'nbspBayer has acquired Merck’s over-the-counter consumer pharmaceutical business, and is focusing on developing new drugs. We look at the difference between these two businesses: OTC and Rx, and the advantages of being on one, rather than the other (or even both). Finally,'nbspformer PayPal Executive Rakesh Agrawal sent a Twitter message to a friend that criticized a colleague. It went out to 11, people. 'nbspHe then sent a series of Tweets threatenin...
5-5-214- Marketplace- Diversity Gaps Among Teachers
May 5, 2014 |
Target finally booted its CEO but any new CEO will face more problems than just the aftermath of a giant credit-card breach. The stylish discount store is losing sales to people who never go in a store. What’s a new CEO to do? Then, right when it seems that we need computer security more than ever, Symantech’s CEO announced in the Wall Street Journal that “antivirus is dead.” Stacey Vanek Smith reports on the demise of antivirus as a computer security measure and what is taking its place. Plus, new reports from the'nbsp Center for American Progress and the National Education Association say U.S. teachers are nowhere near as racially diverse as their students.'nbspAlmost half the students att...
5-2-214- Marketplace- The Spidey stakes
May 2, 2014 |
OK, so the top line on the jobs number looks pretty good, but it’s clear that for the most part, wages are stagnant. And wage growth is an important part of the economic growth equation. Sabri Ben-Achour reports on why wages are still flat, and what it will take to get them a-risin’. Plus,'nbspSpidey hits the big screen today, and, there is lots riding on the $25 million investment by Sony.'nbsp We’re gonna get beyond the Hollywood-is-all-about-tentpoles angle and look at the degree to which movies have become companies unto themselves, and what’s at stake if they botch it.'nbsp In Sony’s case, a hedge-fund predator at the door, for starters. 'nbspAlso, this week Georgia governor Nathan Deal...
5-1-214- Marketplace- The silver android
May 1, 2014 |
Google has decided it can no longer just give away its Android operating system. Mission 1 is accomplished: Android phones dominate the smartphone market. But the Android’s money-making ability has escaped from Google. Google now wants to get back the benefit of owning Android by creating a premium operating system, in some ways a proprietary operating system, Android Silver. Also, the International Monetary Fund is giving Ukraine a 17 billion collar loan. How does the government decide how to allocate funds when parts of the country are no longer effectively under its control? Then, on the heels of a strike by truckers working out of ports in Los Angeles and Long Beach, we look at the perso...
4--214- Marketplace- China's (not) 1
Apr 30, 2014 |
China is rejecting a World Bank report predicting it will pass America as the world’s biggest economy. The reason? The Chinese government believes having the 1 title could put it under pressure to make compromises it may not want to make on its currency, climate change and trade. Plus, the Fed, which has been operating with four governors instead of its usual seven, will be down to just three by the end of May if the increasingly cantankerous Senate doesn’t act on new nominations before then. We explain what it means for the Fed to be working without a full bench. Also, when buying a sports team requires a buyer with so much money it doesn’t matter to him, how do you actually figure out a pr...