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Recent Episodes and Articles

07-31-14- Marketplace- Insurers On Driverless Cars

Thursday, July 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 at how insurers might adapt to this new category of vehicle.
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07-31-14- Morning Report- India stalls WTO deal

Thursday, July 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 to setting the stage for the next global crisis with their student loan debt. Baby Boomers are getting abuse, too. Some market watchers worry that as they sell their stocks to pay for retirement, the whole market will sag. 
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07-30-14- Marketplace- Movie Studios Rescue Kodak

Wednesday, July 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. That’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, movie studios are working on a deal to help out Kodak by contracting to buy large stocks of old-fashioned motion picture film. Does trying to prop up a dying industry ever work?  We’ll look at a few examples. 
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07-29-2014- Marketplace- More Russian Sanctions

Tuesday, July 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 looking 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 the people who owe money.
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07-28-2014- Marketplace- Dollar For Dollar

Monday, July 28, 2014

Trulia and Zillow announced they will join forces in a deal worth a reported $3.5 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. We explain why this happens and what to expect in this business. Plus, Dollar Tree will also be acquiring Family Dollar Stores in a deal valued at $8.5 billion. How have things changed and how are these stores repositioning themselves as the economy recovers? In Detroit, the city water agency is proceeding with its plan to go after individual residents who are delinquent, to scare people into paying up, while negotiating with or otherwise letting slip by the big delinquent users who can fight back. Like Chrysler. And the state of Michigan.
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07-25-2014- Marketplace- End For Red Light Cameras?

Friday, July 25, 2014

We’ve come to expect lousy earnings reports from Amazon, but yesterday’s was beyond lousy, and the stock is  down 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 80 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 is increasingly unpopular with drivers. 
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07-24-2014- Marketplace- Facebook's Figured Out Mobile

Thursday, July 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 $400 million and $600 million to compensate victims of its defective ignition switches. We consider the company’s strategy in handling its massive recall. Also, Twitter 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 these companies doing to address it?
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07-23-2014- Marketplace- Big Box Target Goes Small

Wednesday, July 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, Target Corp. opened its first ‘TargetExpress’ store in Dinkytown, Minneapolis today. At 20,000 square feet it’s even smaller than its ‘City  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, corporate earnings continue to go up, up, up. But that doesn’t mean these cash-rich companies are going to give you a job. We explain why.
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07-22-2014- Marketplace- Is Boeing And Delta's Friendship Over?

Tuesday, July 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  Comcast and Netflix are raking it in. So what are they doing with all that money? We investigate. Also, Boeing 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.
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07-21-2014- Marketplace- TSA Security Fees Increase

Monday, July 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, TSA security fees on airline tickets are about to go up. We explain the math behind your ticket. Also, Whirlpool is threatening to leave the EnergyStar program, unless Congress grants immunity from class-action lawsuits. How healthy, and vulnerable, is this label now?
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07-18-2014- Marketplace- More Users More Money

Friday, July 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, It’s almost certain that the missile which downed MH-17 was a 70s-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 not logged in. Why?  More users more money 
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07-17-2014- Marketplace- Gigantic Layoffs

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Microsoft is laying off 14 percent of its staff, 18,000 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, Amazon is preparing to launch an e-book subscription service, according to a page on its website. The service, called  “Kindle Unlimited” would apparently give subscribers access to 600,000 books at a monthly cost of $10. 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? 
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07-16-2014- Marketplace- Farmers Ignoring The Drought

Wednesday, July 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, Rupert Murdoch’s reported offer of $80 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 cost 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.
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07-15-2014- Marketplace- The Temporary Spending Bill

Tuesday, July 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. Plus: AbbVie has at last managed to snare Irish pharma company Shire. The merger isn’t about new markets or cool technology - it’s about cutting taxes, using a so-called corporate inversion. We explain what an inversion is, and explore the pros and cons of this strategy. Finally, what to do with a comic-book character who sprang to life as a perpetual teen-ager 73 years ago? Project him into the future. Make him a zombie. Tomorrow, kill Archie.     
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How tough is it to sell steel?

Monday, July 14, 2014

Delaware Steel President Lisa Goldenberg says she's hopeful for a better year.
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07-14-2014- Marketplace - Chocolate, Bull

Monday, July 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, Swiss chocolate company Lindt is buying Russell Stover. That brings up a lot for some people.
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07-11-2014- Marketplace- The Cig Biz Gets Bigger

Friday, July 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 or a few weeks sooner. Plus, Eileen Ford, who created the Ford Agency, and along with it the modeling business as we know it—including the Supermodel--died yesterday. We look at how she made modeling an industry. And finally, an an itsy-bitsy, teeny-weeny new installment to our "Summer Brought To You By" series.
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07-10-2014- Marketplace- Growth In Airliner Sales

Thursday, July 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, Boeing forecasts an even rosier future for airliner sales, spurred by economic growth in developing countries that it predicts will double the number of annual fliers in 20 years. Most growth will be in Asia. As developing countries become wealthier, the growth in air travel also shows how expanding transportation will add to global carbon emissions. We investigate.
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07-09-2014- Marketplace- More Jobs?

Wednesday, July 09, 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 $13 billion, which raises the question: How does the Justice department come up with sich a number? Plus, Alcoa, 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 positions. 
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07-08-2014- Marketplace- The $6,000 Intern

Tuesday, July 08, 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 new 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.  
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