Business

The Two-Way
6:38 am
Fri August 2, 2013

U.S. Unemployment Sinks To 7.4 Percent; 162,000 Jobs Added In July

America's unemployment rate sank to 7.4 percent in July, the Bureau of Labor Statistics says. A hiring sign is seen in a store window in Alexandria, Va.
Alex Wong Getty Images

Originally published on Fri August 2, 2013 9:11 am

America's unemployment rate sank to 7.4 percent in July, a drop of two-tenths of a percent, the Bureau of Labor Statistics says in its monthly summary of the U.S. economic situation. But employers added 162,000 jobs last month, coming in below economists' expectations.

Read more
The Two-Way
5:13 am
Fri August 2, 2013

Book News: Battle Rages On In Amazon Vs. Overstock Price War

Originally published on Fri August 2, 2013 6:51 am

The daily lowdown on books, publishing, and the occasional author behaving badly.

Read more
Business
4:50 am
Fri August 2, 2013

Bank Of America May Face Charges Related To Financial Crisis

Originally published on Fri August 2, 2013 9:08 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

NPR's business news starts with new trouble for B of A.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

GREENE: In a regulatory filing yesterday, Bank of America revealed it may be facing civil charges over its activities during the financial crisis. The bank disclosed an investigation by the Department of Justice related to residential mortgage-backed securities. Bank of America says it's cooperating. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

The Salt
1:18 am
Fri August 2, 2013

Massachusetts Revives The Lost Art Of Making Sea Salt

The Martha's Vineyard beach where Heidi Feldman collects saltwater to make sea salt.
Courtesy of Heidi Feldman

Originally published on Fri August 2, 2013 9:08 am

"Look for a house, barn, paddock, barking dogs and screeching peacocks."

Those were Heidi Feldman's instructions to me to find Down Island Farm in Vineyard Haven on Martha's Vineyard, Mass.

She forgot to mention the ram, free roaming chickens and miniature horse. But I managed to find it anyway.

Read more
Planet Money
1:17 am
Fri August 2, 2013

4 Reasons Why Millions Of Americans Are Leaving The Workforce

NPR

Originally published on Fri August 2, 2013 9:08 am

The unemployment rate only includes people who don't have jobs and are looking for work. A much larger swath of people — about 36 percent of U.S. adults — don't have jobs and aren't looking for work at all. That figure is higher than it's been in decades (and, conversely, the share of adults in the labor force — shown in the graph above — is lower than it's been in decades).

Here are four reasons why so many people are leaving the labor force.

1. They're retiring.

Read more
Business
3:18 pm
Thu August 1, 2013

Private Equity Fund Eyes The Business Of Pot

A cannabis leaf
Bolotov Paul iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu August 1, 2013 7:40 pm

A couple of guys with serious investment banking experience are moving into the marijuana business. They've launched the first multimillion-dollar private equity fund devoted entirely to what they like to call the "cannabis space."

It started when Brendan Kennedy was working at the Silicon Valley Bank and learned of an entrepreneur who wanted to sell software for marijuana dispensaries. The idea piqued Kennedy's interest. A few days later, a radio show about legalizing pot piqued it even more.

Read more
Parallels
3:13 pm
Thu August 1, 2013

'Abenomics' Serving Up The Same Old Medicine In Japan?

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's plans for reviving Japan's ailing economy are yielding mixed results so far.
Koji Sasahara AP

Originally published on Thu August 1, 2013 3:48 pm

Ever since Japan's stock market bubble burst in the early 1990s, the country's economy has been stuck in a deflationary spiral. Wages and prices kept going down — and so did consumer spending.

After all, would you buy something today if you knew it was going to be cheaper tomorrow?

But when he came to power last December, Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said he could fix the problem, after two "lost decades."

Read more
Law
2:54 pm
Thu August 1, 2013

Former Goldman Sachs Trader Found Liable For Fraud

Originally published on Thu August 1, 2013 3:48 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

You're listening to ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News.

In New York City today, a victory for the Securities and Exchange Commission: A federal jury held former Goldman Sachs trader Fabrice Tourre liable on six of the seven counts against him. The SEC had accused Tourre of intentionally misleading investors about a mortgage-backed security just as the housing sector was beginning to collapse. The investment created huge losses.

Read more
Business
2:54 pm
Thu August 1, 2013

Google Ups Its Game Against Apple With New Smartphone

The new Moto X launched Thursday in New York City.
Bryan Bedder Getty Images

Originally published on Fri August 2, 2013 9:40 am

When it was launched Thursday, the Moto X, Google's first smartphone product to come out of its buyout of Motorola, was not the highest powered or highest pixeled device. Rather, the designers boasted of its usability — that the Moto X has a larger purpose: making the technology of a phone adapt to the way people use them, rather than force user behavior to adapt to the technology.

Read more
The Two-Way
2:21 pm
Thu August 1, 2013

Former Goldman Trader Found Liable For Billion-Dollar Fraud

Former Goldman Sachs trader Fabrice Tourre walks to a federal court in Manhattan with his attorneys Thursday. A jury found Tourre liable in a massive securities fraud case.
Richard Drew AP

Originally published on Thu August 1, 2013 2:59 pm

A federal jury in New York City has found that Fabrice Tourre, the former Goldman Sachs trader who regulators say caused investors to lose $1 billion, is liable in the mortgage securities fraud case filed against him by the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Regulators say Tourre, 34, a native of France who was nicknamed "Fab" in his office, packaged toxic subprime mortgages into a collateralized debt obligation that was sold to investors under the name Abacus in 2007.

Read more
The Salt
10:19 am
Thu August 1, 2013

Where In The World Are There No McDonald's?

Chinese consumers have 1,075 McDonald's locations to choose from, but the variety inside the restaurant isn't exactly top of their tastes-- KFC does much better business here because Chinese diners prefer white meat over beef patties.
felibrilu via Flickr

Originally published on Thu August 1, 2013 1:03 pm

Recent news out of Vietnam intrigued us here at The Salt. Ho Chi Minh City is set to get its first McDonald's sometime in the next year, according to the company.

It seems Vietnam is ready for the iconic American food, and McDonald's is confident that Vietnamese consumers now have enough disposable income to get hooked on shakes, burgers and fries.

That got us thinking about the global reach of one of the world's most iconic food companies.

Read more
The Two-Way
10:09 am
Thu August 1, 2013

Weekly Jobless Claims Drop; Mortgage Rates Edge Up

New claims for unemployment benefits fell to 326,000 in the week that ended July 27 — the lowest level for initial jobless claims in more than five years, according to the Labor Department.

Employment data for the month of July is due to be released Friday. But for now, the weekly jobless claims numbers are being hailed as another sign that the U.S. economy is gaining strength.

Read more
Economy
8:23 am
Thu August 1, 2013

Jobless Aid Falls To New Low

Originally published on Fri August 2, 2013 4:01 pm

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

NPR's business news starts with unemployment numbers.

No, this is not the big monthly jobs report. We'll get that tomorrow. But this morning one number from the Labor Department - the department announced that applications for jobless benefits fell to 326,000 last week. That is the lowest level since January of 2008. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

The Two-Way
8:09 am
Thu August 1, 2013

S&P 500 Index Passes 1,700 Mark For First Time

A chart shows the growth in the Standard & Poor's 500 index of large-capitalization U.S. stocks. The index passed the 1,700 mark for the first time Thursday.
S&P 500

Originally published on Thu August 1, 2013 11:06 am

The Standard & Poor's 500 index, the benchmark of America's largest corporations, surpassed 1,700 points for the first time in early trading Thursday. The rise is being tied to a drop in weekly jobless claims, as well as assurances from central banks in the U.S. and Europe that they would continue to bolster their economies.

Read more
Business
4:16 am
Thu August 1, 2013

Sony Plugs Back In To Profits

Originally published on Thu August 1, 2013 8:23 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

NPR's business news starts with Sony plugged into profits.

Sony reports that it's making money again. The Japanese company announced its second quarter earnings today. Most of its success though comes thanks to a favorable currency rate - a weak yen was key for Sony. Still, the company did see a little improvement in its smartphone sales and entertainment business. Net income for Sony's latest quarter was $35 million. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Business
1:03 am
Thu August 1, 2013

Firm Hopes 'Owning Nashville' Will Pay Off For Investors

A new fund trading on the New York Stock Exchange will allow investors to put money in companies that all call Nashville home. The manager's of the fund hope to expand the project to other cities.
Walter G. Arce CSM /Landov

Originally published on Thu August 1, 2013 8:23 am

There's a hot stock tip floating around Nashville, and it's a first-of-its-kind investment fund that begins trading on the New York Stock Exchange Thursday.

The fund is a collection of stocks in publicly traded companies that have one thing in common: the city they call home.

When people buy into the Nashville Area Exchange Traded Fund — which starts trading at $25 a share — they will essentially be placing a bet based on an area code.

Read more
Business
1:02 am
Thu August 1, 2013

As Back-To-School Shopping Begins, Consumers May Turn Frugal

Chris Viehland helps her daughter Jenna try on shoes for the new school year at a Famous Footwear store in Fenton, Mo., Aug. 9, 2012.
Christian Gooden MCT/Landov

Originally published on Fri August 2, 2013 4:01 pm

As August begins, retailers are stepping up sales promotions to attract back-to-school shoppers. And several states are offering tax-free shopping to encourage purchases.

But most economists say this year's sales will be slower than last summer's because consumers have been coping with more expensive gasoline and higher payroll taxes.

Read more
All Tech Considered
1:00 am
Thu August 1, 2013

Beyond .Com: Some See Confusion In Internet Domain Expansion

Suffixes like .org, .net and .com are the most common on the Internet today. But the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, which governs Web names, plans to add some 1,400 more, some ending in Arabic or Chinese characters.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu August 1, 2013 8:23 am

Starting this fall, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, or ICANN, will begin rolling out 20 new suffixes, or top-level domains, every week. This will create new entrepreneurial opportunities, says ICANN CEO Fadi Chehade.

"Diversity to the domain name system is coming," he says.

Read more
The Two-Way
6:52 pm
Wed July 31, 2013

Sold! First Parcels Auctioned For Future Offshore Wind Farms

The offshore wind farm in the North Sea near Borkum, Germany, is nearly complete. The Riffgat facility, seen here on June 23, includes 30 turbines, each with a generating capacity of 3.6 megawatts.
David Hecker Getty Images

Originally published on Fri August 2, 2013 4:01 pm

A Rhode Island company was the highest bidder in the federal government's first-ever auction for the right to build an offshore wind farm.

After 11 rounds, Deepwater Wind outbid two other companies for two patches of ocean off the coasts of Massachusetts and Rhode Island. The winning bid was $3.8 million.

Read more
The Two-Way
5:30 pm
Wed July 31, 2013

House Votes To Cut Student Loan Rate, Sends Bill To Obama

Originally published on Wed July 31, 2013 6:08 pm

The Republican-controlled House on Wednesday overwhelmingly approved a bipartisan bill to cut the cost of borrowing for federal student loans, sending the measure to President Obama for his signature.

The bill, which had easily passed the Democratic-controlled Senate last week, would retroactively cut higher rates — which on July 1 had jumped to at least 6.8 percent.

Read more
All Tech Considered
3:11 pm
Wed July 31, 2013

Tampon Marketing Gets Real For The Social Media Age

"We just thought we were telling this endearing story women could relate to," says HelloFlo founder Naama Bloom.
Courtesy of HelloFlo

Originally published on Fri August 2, 2013 9:08 am

Advertising for feminine hygiene products was traditionally so cheesy that it invited mockery far and wide. There was something so laughable and incongruent about maxi pad commercials that featured blue liquid and girls dancing on beaches.

Read more
Economy
2:52 pm
Wed July 31, 2013

Better GDP Report Doesn't Mean Economy Is In Good Shape

Originally published on Wed July 31, 2013 4:05 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block.

You could almost hear a collective sigh of relief today from economists. The government reported that the economy is not growing quite as slowly as had been expected and there are some positive signs on the jobs front. A private sector jobs report released today could mean the main government employment report on Friday will also show some strength.

Read more
The Two-Way
1:03 pm
Wed July 31, 2013

Federal Reserve Will Continue Bond Buying Program

Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke in May of 2013.
Alex Wong Getty Images

Originally published on Wed July 31, 2013 1:23 pm

After a meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee, the Federal Reserve said it will continue to buy $85 billion in bonds every month and will leave the federal funds rate at the historic rate of near zero.

Read more
Planet Money
12:01 pm
Wed July 31, 2013

Which Can Of Shaving Cream Should I Buy? A Surprisingly Complex Analysis

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed July 31, 2013 12:25 pm

Because my morning routine involves the waking, feeding, dressing, brushing and sunblocking of a 6-year-old and a 4-year-old, certain personal morning grooming habits fall by the wayside. Like, all of them. This is why I think of the gym mainly as a place to wash up.

Which is a long way of saying I ran out of shaving cream the other day.

Read more
All Tech Considered
11:01 am
Wed July 31, 2013

Weekly Innovation: A Better Travel Neck Pillow

The Nap Anywhere is a new, portable head-support pillow created by a Virginia-based physician.
Courtesy of Nap Anywhere

In our "Weekly Innovation" blog series, we explore an interesting idea, design or product that you may not have heard of yet. Previously we've featured the sink-urinal and Smart Bedding.

Read more
Code Switch
10:26 am
Wed July 31, 2013

Consumer Groups On The Lookout For Immigration Scams

A line waits outside the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services office in Los Angeles.
Nick Ut AP

Originally published on Wed July 31, 2013 12:54 pm

Talk about immigration reform on Capitol Hill this summer has raised the hopes of many unauthorized immigrants around the country.

It's also raised the fears of consumer advocates worried about scam artists who promise immigrants they can help them secure legal status.

Eduardo Flores, an unauthorized immigrant from Honduras, wasn't promised immigration documents, but he did place his trust and $4,000 with a man who said he was an immigration attorney.

Read more
Health Care
9:32 am
Wed July 31, 2013

New Health Exchanges: What You Need To Know

On October 1st, online health insurance exchanges open up as part of the Affordable Care Act. Kaiser Health News' Mary Agnes Carey speaks to host Michel Martin about what will change, and how you can prepare for the roll-out.

The Two-Way
8:58 am
Wed July 31, 2013

Facebook Sees Its Shares Hit $38 IPO Price

Originally published on Wed July 31, 2013 2:36 pm

It's been more than a year since Facebook's stock debuted at $38 in its initial public offering. But after a problematic start and an eventual slide below $20, the company saw its shares reach that initial price in early trading Wednesday, one week after it reported strong advertising revenue.

"Before Wednesday's opening bell, the shares rose as high as $38.05, before settling back down to $37.95," the AP reports. "On Tuesday, the shares closed up 6 percent after coming within pennies of the IPO price."

Read more
The Two-Way
7:17 am
Wed July 31, 2013

U.S. Economy: GDP Surprises, And Hiring Rises In July

A chart shows the quarterly growth of real GDP in the United States. The U.S. economy expanded more than analysts had expected, at an annualized rate of 1.7 percent.
Bureau of Economic Analysis

Originally published on Wed July 31, 2013 12:51 pm

The U.S. economy grew by an annualized rate of 1.7 percent in the second quarter of 2013, according to gross domestic product data released Wednesday morning. The Commerce Department says the rise stems from business investments, particularly in buildings, and an upturn in exports and the civilian aircraft industry.

Read more
Sweetness And Light
1:33 am
Wed July 31, 2013

Why Would You Volunteer For Next Year's Super Bowl?

Super Bowl volunteer Ben Schreiber distributes fan guides to any of the thousands of people who may need them while visiting Indianapolis for Super Bowl XLVI festivities, in 2012.
Chad Ryan CSM /Landov

Originally published on Wed July 31, 2013 11:40 am

I read the other day that 16,000 people have been recruited as volunteers for next year's Super Bowl in New Jersey, and suddenly it occurred to me: the Super Bowl is one of the great financial bonanzas of modern times. From the players to the networks to the hotels, everybody involved with it makes a killing. Why would anybody volunteer to work for free for the Super Bowl? Would you volunteer to work free for Netflix or Disneyworld?

Read more

Pages