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04-17-2014 - Marketplace - Burger geography
Goldman Sachs announced an 11 percent drop in profit today… and it’s stock went up one percent. This happens all the time in the financial world: a company’s shares move in opposition to its earnings results. Why? It’s all about the investors’ expectations, and how the company matches up to them. Mark Garrison explains how those expectation s come about. Also, companies in sectors from telecommunications to banking to healthcare are employing a new technique to shield themselves from lawsuits – adding a provision to their terms of service to say by using a service or buying a product or even liking something on Facebook, consumers agree they can’t sue the company. We look at how widespread this is, and whether the practice might withstand a legal challenge. Plus, Sonic is the 4th largest burger chain in the U.S. by sales, but you wouldn’t know it in a lot of states, because it’s concentrated in certain regions. Now the chain that serves its food drive-in style is expanding. Is it freeing to be #4, after the standard McDonald’s, Burger King and Wendy’s?
04-16-2014- Marketplace- Loans, summits, and $50 million
Whether banks have posted profits or losses this quarter, the data suggests that people are getting better at paying back their loans. Dan Bobkoff looks at what’s led to the overall improvement in creditworthiness for consumers. Then, the White House hosts a summit of deans from top biz schools today to talk about educating the leaders of the future. The event is in the lead-up to, you guessed it, another summit in June, that one about Working Families. We ask what comes of these confabs, and what real utility they provide. Plus, former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg is committing $50 million to creating an anti-gun voting operation. This is on top of $50 million to fight coal-burning plants, $53 million to fight overfishing of oceans, $50 million for women’s reproductive rights. What does $50 million buy?
04-15-2014- Marketplace- Testing day
As consumer prices increase more than expected, we look at what’s becoming more expensive (food, rents) and why – as well as asking who this will impact the most. Plus, tomorrow the College Board will release "extensive sample items" for the newly designed SAT. The revised test obviously affects students, who will begin taking it in the spring of 2016. But how about the multi-billion dollar test prep industry? We take a look at how they’re preparing for the changes. Also, Russia’s Finance Minister is warning that his country’s economy could see zero growth this year because of the backlash over Russia’s annexation of Crimea. Russia has seen capital flight of $63 billion in the first 3 months of this year, as people rushed to convert rubles into other currencies. The news comes as the European Union threatens further sanctions against Russia. Then, Yahoo’s earnings look good today. The company has been on an upswing this year, in the wake of a spate of talent hires by CEO Marissa Mayer. But closer examination of Yahoo’s numbers paint a different picture. The company’s stake in Chinese IPO hopeful Alibaba is worth about $33 billion, given the valuation placed on Alibabs right now. Yahoo’s market cap right now? $33.8 billion. Which begs the question, without Alibaba, what is Yahoo really worth?
04-14-2014- Marketplace- Saved by the spring
Saved by the spring - retail sales increased 1.1 per cent in March, the biggest jump since September 2012. This might be pent-up demand from a difficult winter, but what's the story behind the figures? When both the job market and wages are still weak, Mitchell Hartman looks at where the money's coming from. Also, a new report from the U.N.’s climate panel says we’ve got 15 years to turn things around or potentially really suffer the effects of global warming in the future. This is the starkest call for action yet, but the report also illustrates why calls for this kind of action are so hard for people to process. Plus, Maxwell House coffee is getting a makeover today, but it’s only the most recent Kraft vintage brand to get one. Kraft’s going through its older brands, some of the most famous in consumer goods, and refreshing them for modern times.
04-11-2014- Marketplace- Kathleen Sibelius resigns
The President has picked his budget adviser Sylvia Burwell to replace HHS Secretary Kathleen Sibelius. She’s the second director of the Office of Management and Budget to ascend to a higher position in the administration with Jacob Lew as her predecessor). What is it about the OMB – one of the wonkiest spots in a wonky town – that makes it such a good proving ground? Plus: Walmart is challenging Whole Foods with a new line of organic foods with sharply lower prices. But this isn’t meat or produce, its processed foods like spaghetti sauce and pasta. And therein lies the challenge: ain’t much organic wheat grown anywhere. Where you going to find commodity volumes of organic commodity grains, tomatoes and other ingredients? Also, Amazon just bought comiXology for Kindle – but you might be forgiven for thinking that comic geeks would revolt against anything that doesn’t come wrapped in an eminently swappable plastic sheath. Krissy takes a look at the business of making comics pay these days.
04-10-2014- Marketplace- Sebelius to resign
Kathleen Sebelius, the secretary of Health and Human Services, will resign after serving five years in the position and presiding over the rollout of the Affordable Care Act. President Obama accepted Sebelius's resignation earlier in the week, and on Friday will nominate Sylvia Mathews Burwell, the director of the Office of Management and Budget, to replace her, according to White House officials. Plus, the search for the Malaysian jet goes on, and at great expense. This is less about the 777 that disappeared, and more about all the other 777s that are still flying: investigators need to protect all the other people that are traveling in these jets every day. That means they need to know what went wrong. And they'll do and spend whatever it takes to find out. And after a four-year absence, Greece is back in the international sovereign debt market.
04-09-2014- Marketplace- Sachs, fonts, and tech
Goldman Sachs considers shutting down its private trading exchange as publicity about high-speed trading and talk of SEC investigations draw attention to the bank. The bank will consider how it profits/benefits from the private exchange versus the cost of scrutiny and negative attention. Are the calculations similar to those in its decision to sell its commodities trading business? Also, the break-up of a graphic design duo has resulted in a lawsuit of $20 million – over fonts. Tobias Frere-Jones and Jonathan Hoefler worked together for 15 years to create some of the most famous and ubiquitous fonts around– used by GQ, Martha Stewart, the New York Jets, and Saturday Night Live. They won awards for their typefaces - before the relationship turned sour. Who knew there was so much money in fonts? Plus: Not to worry, Comcast tells Congress. It needs to merge with Time Warner Cable, so it will have the strength to compete with the real heavyweights in broadband and content delivery – companies like Google and Apple. We examine the argument.
04-08-2014- Marketplace- Jolts and lawsuits
The "Job Opening and Labor Turnover" survey out today says employers advertised 4.2m jobs in Ferburaury, the highest figure since January 2008. It also showed that more people are quitting their jobs. We investigate what kind of jobs are being posted and the workers leaving their jobs. Plus: Employees of some of the biggest tech firms, incliding Apple and Google, have accused their employers of colluding to prevent workers from being hired by their rivals and are asking for $9 billion as part of a class-action law suit. The ecidence against the companies is pretty damning. So what impact is this lawsuit going to have on wages in the industry and what does this say about the complexities of hiring and keeping tech firms? Also, the Manischewitz Co. is changing hands again, this time acquired by a private-equity group that plans to push Manischewitz’s efforts to broaden its customer base to non-Jews by latching on to the healthy food movement. What could be healthier than kosher?
04-07-2014- Marketplace- Amazon Fresh
Tomorrow Obama signs an EO meant to help close the wage gap for federal contractors. Of these contractors, woman earn 77 cents on the dollar compared to men. In this episode, we investigate who these women are and what they stand to gain. Also, with the Nasdaq sliding we look at the Tech sectors value and what it means to the overall economy, considering it doesn't produce jobs. Plus: Amazon's created a device called Dash that can speed your oredering of groceries from Amazon Fresh, if you happem to be one of the few people who uses Amazon Fresh, which raises the question: Why do tech companies find it so challenging to be grocery stores? Afterall, some grocery stores already deliver and have been doing so for a while.
The goal is always the same – so-called ‘full employment. But what would that actually look like? And what sort of jobs would predominate? Also, Nest’s software failure shows that even the most high tech companies still rely on humans when everything fails, and for many wireless product firms, the human back end of their operations is considerable. We report on the manpower costs of providing a non-human product. Plus: When late night hosts change, everyone wants to know who the new guy (or gal – one day) will be. But what about the band? Mark Garrison reports on the way the late night bands are chosen, and what elevation to that esteemed slot can mean.
04-03-2014- Marketplace- The ups and downs
Overdraft fees used to be a huge source of revenue for banks, then came the crackdown that required consumers to opt in to overdraft protection, and banks took a hit. But fees are climbing back up, and banks pulled in $32 billion in overdraft charges in 2012. We examine what has changed. Plus: ADP said this week that employers added 191,000 jobs in March. The report is a precursor to the federal figure out tomorrow, but critics have been hitting the ADP figure as something of a lagging indicator, ever since the company tweaked its formula back in 2012. We explain what sort of number this is, why people pay attention to it, and why it has some economists so riled up. Also, the owner of a Va. carpet cleaning company has sued Yelp to reveal the true identities of 7 anonymous reviewers who slammed his biz. Will Yelp disclose these names? What would it mean for online reviews going forward, and what's at stake for a service like Yelp? Then, professional track and field athletes are preparing for collective action against the sport’s governing body that could lead some athletes to boycott the U.S. national track and field championships in June. The athletes’ demands are entangling sponsors such as Nike and Brooks Running, which use the affiliations to drive sales of shoes and other running gear.
04-02-2014- Marketplace- SCOTUS: Campaign Finance
In the case widely regarded as the sequel to the Citizens United campaign finance case, the Supreme Court has struck down the aggregate limit on what an individual can give in donations in a given an election cycle. Also, New York drops out of InBloom, the Gates Foundation’s $100 million effort at collecting student data, leaving it with no known customers. Since launching, seven states have dropped out. Apparently, parents aren’t as eager as gates assumed to have their kids data-mined at schools. Plus: We remember – briefly – Charles Keating, because he was one of the best-known faces of the S&L crisis of the late 80’s and early 90’s, in which 1,000 banks collapsed.
04-01-2014 - Marketplace - Blame the L's
Housing is lagging: construction spending is down, as are pending home sales. Blame the L's: labor, lumber, land and loans. Oh, and lousy weather.
03-31-2014 Marketplace - Adaptation
The U.N. climate group has moved forward, not just warning of climate change -- because it’s here. What are the economic barriers to investing in what they call "adaptation? Plus: Michael Jackson's estate has done a big turnaround. Before his death it was a mess; now it's making millions, and there's even a new Jackson record. And finally: GM boss Mary Barra testifies before Congress later this week about the problems with Chevy Cobalts, linked to deaths. We look at the costs and budgeting behind a recall.
03-2814 Marketplace - The lost generation
About 10 million students have earned bachelor’s degrees since 2008. In 2012, almost half of recent college graduates were considered underemployed, working in jobs that typically do not require a bachelor’s degree. A look at a generation of college graduates who had the bad luck of beginning careers during the Great Recession and its aftermath. Meanwhile, almost half of the customers in Detroit are behind on their water bills. Now the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department is starting to cut them off. But lots of businesses are in the red, too, as is the school system, and the city itself, which is in bankruptcy. Together, those players owe more than $50 million. And, CBS Outdoor is one of the largest advertising companies with billboards seen practically everywhere. We look at how the company continues to do so well.
03-27-14 Marketplace - Waffle tacos
Say you’re in the food or beverage business and you want to get a lot of attention – or, even, come up with a new product that people might like. Mashing up seemingly unrelated foods and/or flavors is one strategy, like the one now at the center of Taco Bell’s breakfast push. Yes, we mean the waffle taco. And, Brookstone prepares to file for bankruptcy and be bought by Spencer (Gifts). We take a look at what did in the purveyor of massage chairs and eye-shades, and what Spencer looks like going forward. Meanwhile, the deadline for the Affordable Care Act enrollment is approaching and government officials are worried about the Latino population and their low numbers signing up.
03-26-14 Marketplace - What is Facebook thinking?
Mark Zuckerberg has been out shopping again: Facebook paid $2 billion for Oculus, a small virtual reality headset company. Random purchase or strategic move? And with its acquisition of WhatsApp and other companies earlier this year, is Facebook being a venture capitalist, or is there a long-term, coherent plan to future-proof itself with a stake in these areas of technology? Meanwhile, movie ticket sales are down but movie ticket receipts are up, thanks to inflation over the years and the higher prices for 3-D. We look at the business model of movie theaters and how ticket revenue fits in with the revenue from popcorn and candy bars. And, this is how the end arrives: The cessation of the slow drip-drip-drip of saline solution, because there is no saline solution. No jolting-back-to-life injection of nitroglycerin, because there is none. Why common everyday medical supplies can suddenly be hard to find.
03-25-14 Marketplace - Bitcoin and the IRS
In a document released Tuesday, the Internal Revenue Service says bitcoin is not legal tender. You can't use it to pay your taxes. But the IRS says virtual currencies like bitcoin will be taxed like property as opposed to currency. Plus, the Obama administration is planning legislation to overhaul the National Security Agency's collection and storage of phone records – which could now be kept with the phone companies. But as the burden then shifts to the telecom companies, what extra costs might they incur? And we continue our special collaboration with the New York Times on "Work in America." Today we look at the gig economy.
03-24-2014 Marketplace - Millenials
Russians actions are unacceptable, says President Obama, and if the situation escalates, we need to be prepared to impose a greater cost. But what is that cost, exactly, and if sanctions escalate – what will that eventually cost the US? Plus: The importance of reported talks between Apple and Comcast lies in what a partnership would deliver: a streaming service with cable TV’s high picture quality and streaming’s large selection and ease of use via apps. And: The Exxon Valdez was the perfect dramatic disaster to call attention to environmental risks, yet 25 years later it stands out principally as … the perfect dramatic illustration of continuing environmental risks.
03-21-2014 Marketplace - Corporate contortions
Exxon will issue a report estimating the cost of climate change to its business, including a calculation of the carbon emissions its oil and gas operations give off. It’s the first big energy company to respond to shareholders’ concerns about environmental issues. Next: Caterpillar is the latest company to come under the scrutiny of the Levin committee looking at tax avoidance by multinationals. We look at some of the contortions companies make to avoid paying tax. Finally: UC Irvine announced yesterday that President Obama will deliver its commencement address in June, in front of 8,000 diverse graduates. We explore the economic value of a speech from the President.