Business

The Two-Way
11:24 am
Fri January 25, 2013

Exxon More Golden Than Apple Again

In this Oct. 20, 2012 photo, people line up to enter a newly opened Apple Store in Beijing. Exxon has once again surpassed Apple as the world's most valuable company after the iPhone and iPad maker saw its stock price falter.
Andy Wong AP

Apple stock has dropped sharply since it announced earnings that disappointed analysts. Now the tech tastemaker is paying another price, losing its crown as the world's most valuable company to Exxon Mobil.

Exxon's market capitalization, the total value of its outstanding stock, was about $417 billion Friday. Apple's was about $413 billion.

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The Two-Way
8:19 am
Fri January 25, 2013

Sales Of New Homes Fell In December, But Were Up Sharply In 2012

A "sold" sign outside a home under construction last fall in Peoria, Ill.
Daniel Acker Landov

Though there was a 7.3 percent drop in sales of new homes in December from November, sales were up a healthy 8.8 percent from December 2011, the Census Bureau and Department of Housing and Urban Development report.

Homes sold at a annual rate of 369,000 last month.

Over the whole year, the agencies estimate, there were 367,000 new homes sold — up 19.9 percent from the 306,000 sold in 2011.

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Business
3:15 am
Fri January 25, 2013

Business News

Originally published on Fri January 25, 2013 7:14 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

NPR's business news starts with Microsoft's earnings.

Yesterday we told you about Apple earnings. Despite heavy sales of iPhones and iPads, its profits were flat last quarter. That's still better than Microsoft, which reported a four percent earnings decline. Those disappointing figures are blamed on sagging sales of personal computers, which have created a shrinking market for Microsoft's newest PC operating system, Windows 8. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Business
3:15 am
Fri January 25, 2013

Cause Of Boeing's 787 Problems Remains A Mystery

This Boeing 787 battery case was damaged in a fire in Boston earlier this month. The state-of-the-art aircraft is still grounded, as the investigation of the fire's cause continues.
Saul Loeb AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri January 25, 2013 12:37 pm

Federal safety investigators remain perplexed by what caused a battery on a Boeing 787 to burst into flames earlier this month in Boston. All of the 787s are grounded worldwide after problems with the new airliner also surfaced in Japan.

At a briefing Thursday, the head of the National Transportation Safety Board said it could be a long time before the plane dubbed the Dreamliner is cleared to fly.

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Business
2:50 am
Fri January 25, 2013

Dodgers Channel Close To Being A Reality

Originally published on Fri January 25, 2013 7:14 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

In recent years, regional cable TV sports networks have been a financial windfall for pro sports and college teams. And now it seems to be the turn of the Los Angeles Dodgers to make a record haul here.

There are reports the Dodgers and Time Warner Cable are close to announcing a deal for a Dodgers channel that would pay the team around $7 billion over at least 20 years.

But NPR's Tom Goldman reports it may be one windfall too many in a crowded Los Angeles market.

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NPR Story
2:38 am
Fri January 25, 2013

The Last Word In Business

Originally published on Fri January 25, 2013 7:14 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

In today's last word in business is: censored, not stirred.

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "SKYFALL")

DANIEL CRAIG: (as James Bond) Bond, James Bond.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

The new Bond film "Skyfall" is now playing in the world's second-largest movie market - that would be China - and some 007 fans are furious about the nips and tucks Chinese censors have made to the movie.

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Planet Money
12:48 am
Fri January 25, 2013

At $17.5 Million A Year, LeBron James Is Underpaid

A bargain at $17.5 million a year.
Ronald Martinez Getty Images

Originally published on Fri January 25, 2013 10:29 am

LeBron James is arguably the best player in the NBA. His salary is $17.5 million a year. He's worth much, much more.

"He's getting hosed," says Kevin Grier, an economist from the University of Oklahoma.

James used to play for the Cleveland Cavaliers. When he left, the value of the team fell by tens of millions of dollars — and the value of his new team, the Miami Heat, rose by tens of millions. The economists I talked to said James should be making closer to $40 million a year.

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Movies
12:46 am
Fri January 25, 2013

For Would-Be Sundancers, Kickstarter Can Fuel Films

A scene from 99% — The Occupy Wall Street Collaborative Film, a Sundance documentary that raised more than $23,000 on Kickstarter.
Ari Ress Sundance Film Festival

Originally published on Fri January 25, 2013 7:14 am

If you want to make a movie, you generally need a lot of money. And filmmakers have to be creative about raising it.

Just ask the filmmakers at the Sundance Film Festival, taking place this week in Park City, Utah. Some 10 percent of the films selected for this year's iteration of the prestigious festival raised money through the crowd-funding website Kickstarter.

In the three years since the website launched, Kickstarter-funded films have been nominated for Oscars, picked up by Showtime and HBO, and honored with awards at Sundance, South By Southwest and Cannes.

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U.S.
12:44 am
Fri January 25, 2013

Foreign Investors Trade Dollars For U.S. Residency

This Marriott hotel in Seattle's Pioneer Square neighborhood was rebuilt by American Life Inc. using EB-5 visa investment money. The project helped dozens of well-to-do people obtain permanent green cards.
Jennifer Wing for NPR

Originally published on Fri January 25, 2013 7:14 am

Svetlana Anikeeva was 15 in the early '90s when she visited America as an exchange student.

"And it was completely different place in every imaginable aspect," she recalls.

Anikeeva grew up in Vladivostok on the eastern edge of Russia, and studied abroad in Savannah, Ga., where the experience, she says, changed her life.

"The people were different. The culture was different. The weather, the food, the school. Everything was fascinating," she says. "I knew that I wanted to come here."

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Business
3:14 pm
Thu January 24, 2013

Still No Answers In 787 Battery Malfunctions

Originally published on Fri January 25, 2013 8:22 am

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Boeing's flagship jetliner, the 787, has been stuck on the ground lately. The FAA and safety authorities around the world grounded the fleet after battery problems. And today we have an update on the investigation of the battery fire onboard a Japan Airlines 787 this month in Boston.

NPR's Wendy Kaufman has been following this story and joins us now for an update. And, Wendy, what did the National Transportation Safety Board have to say today?

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All Tech Considered
2:30 pm
Thu January 24, 2013

Swinging From 140 Characters To Six-Second Videos, Twitter Launches Vine

Twitter announced its partnership with Vine, a video-sharing app that posts six-second videos onto a tweet, on Thursday, Jan. 24.
Marie McGrory NPR

Originally published on Fri January 25, 2013 9:02 am

If you thought 140 characters of text was too short, try grabbing your Twitter followers' attention with six-second videos. Six seconds.

Twitter on Thursday launched the video app Vine, which allows users to shoot brief videos and directly tweet them. The social media company acquired the video-sharing startup last fall, according to All Things D.

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The Two-Way
12:40 pm
Thu January 24, 2013

Can An Ex-Prosecutor Make The SEC Tougher On Wall Street?

Mary Jo White, then U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, speaks during a May 2001 press conference following guilty verdicts in the trial of four followers of Osama bin Laden that bombed two U.S. embassies in East Africa in 1998. President Obama intends to nominate White to head the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Doug Kanter AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri January 25, 2013 6:38 am

President Obama's choice to head the Securities and Exchange Commission has prosecuted terrorists and mobsters. If she's confirmed, Mary Jo White's next challenge will be tackling reckless behavior on Wall Street.

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The Two-Way
7:23 am
Thu January 24, 2013

Obama Chooses Former U.S. Attorney Mary Jo White To Head SEC

Mary Jo White, who President Obama wants to lead the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Brendan McDermid Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Thu January 24, 2013 8:43 am

Mary Jo White, a former U.S. attorney in New York who prosecuted terrorists responsible for the bombings of the World Trade Center and U.S. embassies in Africa, will be nominated by President Obama to head the Securities and Exchange Commission.

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The Two-Way
6:45 am
Thu January 24, 2013

Jobless Claims Hold At Five-Year Low

The number of first-time claims for unemployment insurance dipped by 5,000 last week from the week before, to 330,000, the Employment and Training Administration reports.

That means claims remain at a low level not seen since January 2008.

Another measure, the "4-week moving average" that is supposed to give a broader look at the trend, declined by 8,250 — to 351,750.

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Business
3:05 am
Thu January 24, 2013

Despite Brisk Sales, Apple Has Flat Sales

Originally published on Thu January 24, 2013 11:19 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

NPR's business news begins with a bite out of Apple.

It's still the largest tech company in the world - let's make no mistake about that. But Apple reported yesterday that its profits were flat - despite brisk sales of iPhones and iPads. In after-hours trading, Apple's stock plunged, reflecting fears that interest in Apple products may start waning as consumers seek more affordable options.

Here's NPR's Laura Sydell.

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Business
3:05 am
Thu January 24, 2013

Private Equity Firm To Take Over Dell

Originally published on Thu January 24, 2013 11:19 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Staying in the tech world now, later today Microsoft releases its earnings for the final quarter of 2012. And no matter what the computer software giant announces, it won't mask the fact that last year was a brutal one for the personal computer industry.

Dell - one of the largest computer makers on the planet - is in talks to be taken over by a private equity firm. PC sales are declining globally.

And as NPR's Steve Henn reports, some see a technological shift in the works that could undermine the empire built by Microsoft.

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NPR Story
2:52 am
Thu January 24, 2013

NFL Pressures Indiana Man To Give Up On Trademark

Originally published on Thu January 24, 2013 11:19 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

OK. Let's turn to a rivalry between siblings. Today's Last Word In Business is Harbowl - or Harbaugh Bowl. An Indiana man tried to trademark those two phrases last year, according to ESPN.com.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Roy Fox figured the Harbaugh brothers - both NFL coaches - might someday meet in the Super Bowl. This year, it is happening. Jim Harbaugh's San Francisco 49ers face John Harbaugh's Baltimore Ravens, a week from Sunday.

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Africa
1:39 am
Thu January 24, 2013

Algeria Attack A 'Wake-Up Call' For Energy Companies

Originally published on Thu January 24, 2013 11:19 am

A week has passed since the terrorist attack on a natural gas facility in Algeria, but risk analysts and security experts are still undecided about the incident's likely impact in the energy world.

The price of oil, a good indicator of anxiety in the energy market, went up modestly right after the attack, but then it stabilized. No energy company has suspended operations in Algeria, nor has any company announced it will hold off on future investments in North Africa, a key source of oil and gas supplies.

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Planet Money
1:35 am
Thu January 24, 2013

Why Is The Government In The Flood Insurance Business?

Hurricane Betsy hit the Gulf Coast in 1965.
Horace Cort AP

Originally published on Thu January 24, 2013 11:19 am

There's a quick, one-word explanation for why the federal government started selling flood insurance: Betsy.

Hurricane Betsy, which struck the Gulf Coast in 1965, became known as billion-dollar Betsy. Homes were ruined. Water up to the roofs. People paddling around streets in boats. Massive damage.

This would be the time when you'd expect people to be pulling out their flood insurance policies. But flood insurance was hard to come by. You could get fire insurance, theft insurance, car insurance, life insurance. Not flood.

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Business
4:06 pm
Wed January 23, 2013

Dreamliner Woes Expose FAA's Potential Weak Spots

National Transportation Safety Board investigators inspect a Boeing 787 Dreamliner at Japan's Takamatsu Airport. A Federal Aviation Administration investigation into the plane's troubles has widened into a review of the agency's certification process for new airliners.
Jiji Press AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed January 23, 2013 6:53 pm

One week after Federal Aviation Administration officials grounded Boeing's newest jet, the world's entire 787 Dreamliner fleet remains parked. FAA Administrator Michael Huerta said Tuesday he couldn't speculate on when a review of the plane would be complete.

Investigators in the U.S. and Japan remain perplexed as to why batteries on two planes suffered serious failures. Now Boeing, its flagship jet and the certification process for the 787 are under intense scrutiny.

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Superstorm Sandy: Before, During And Beyond
3:12 pm
Wed January 23, 2013

In Lower Manhattan, Sandy Still Keeping Businesses Dark

People walk past a closed business affected by Hurricane Sandy in the heavily damaged South Street Seaport in New York City in December.
Spencer Platt Getty Images

Originally published on Wed January 23, 2013 6:53 pm

When compared with its neighbors Coney Island and the Rockaways, Manhattan seemed hardly touched by the waters and winds of Superstorm Sandy in late October. But almost three months later, areas of lower Manhattan are still laboring to recover.

Earlier this month, a museum devastated by Sandy finally reopened. About 800 people packed the lobby and upstairs galleries of the South Street Seaport Museum in lower Manhattan as Mayor Michael Bloomberg addressed the crowd.

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The Two-Way
10:24 am
Wed January 23, 2013

Union Membership Continues Decline; Now At Lowest Level Since 1930s

Originally published on Wed January 23, 2013 10:34 am

The Bureau of Labor Statistics says union membership continues to decline in the United States.

In 2012, American Union membership rate dropped to 11.3 percent from 11.8 percent in 2011. As The Washington Post reports, that's the lowest level since the 1930s.

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The Two-Way
7:36 am
Wed January 23, 2013

U.K.'s Cameron Floats Idea Of Vote ON E.U. Membership, Other Leaders Protest

British Prime Minister David Cameron earlier today in London as he spoke about a vote on E.U. membership.
Oli Scarff Getty Images

"Britain's prime minister said Wednesday he will offer citizens a vote on whether to leave the European Union if his party wins the next election, prompting warnings from fellow member states about the soundness of such a move," The Associated Press writes.

The wire service adds that:

"Cameron proposed Wednesday that his Conservative Party renegotiate the U.K.'s relationship with the European Union if it wins the next general election, expected in 2015.

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Economy
3:42 am
Wed January 23, 2013

Is Eurozone's Debt Crisis Over?

Originally published on Wed January 23, 2013 6:13 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And I'm Renee Montagne.

Some European leaders have been sounding downright upbeat in recent days about the state of their economy, which makes this morning's speech by Britain's prime minister all the more dramatic.

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Politics
3:26 am
Wed January 23, 2013

House To Vote On Short-Term Debt Ceiling Extension

Originally published on Wed January 23, 2013 6:13 am

The House is expected to vote Wednesday on a Republican leadership plan to put off the debt ceiling fight for three months. This marks a new strategy for House Republicans who until recently had pledged not to raise the debt ceiling unless it was matched with an equal amount of spending cuts.

Business
3:14 am
Wed January 23, 2013

Fla. Tomato Growers Say Mexico Trade Deal Is Rotten

J. Pat Carter AP

Originally published on Wed January 23, 2013 9:01 am

Half of all tomatoes eaten in the U.S. come from Mexico, and tomato growers in Florida aren't happy about that. In fact, they're willing to risk a trade war to reverse the trend.

At JC Distributing In Nogales, Ariz., one misstep and you're likely to get knocked over by a pallet full of produce. Forklifts crisscross each other carrying peppers, squash and especially tomatoes from trucks backed into the warehouse loading dock.

"This is a Mexican truck being unloaded," says JC President Jaime Chamberlain. "He's just waiting for his paperwork to get back."

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Business
3:14 am
Wed January 23, 2013

The Last Word In Business

Originally published on Wed January 23, 2013 12:45 pm

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And today's last word in business is: extraterrestrial gold rush.

A company called Deep Space Industries - which sounds like it's a company fm a Mel Brooks movie - anyway, it's planning to start mining asteroids - mining asteroids by the year 2015. The idea is to first send small spacecraft to explore asteroids for minerals like platinum and gold.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

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NPR Story
3:10 am
Wed January 23, 2013

Nebraska Approves Keystone XL Pipeline's Tweaked Route

Originally published on Wed January 23, 2013 6:13 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

NPR's business news starts with pipeline plans.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

MONTAGNE: Nebraska's governor has approved a new plan for where the controversial Keystone XL pipeline will pass through his state. In 2011, the governor opposed the pipeline for its potential environmental impact. Yesterday, he wrote a letter to President Obama saying the new route avoids the more environmentally fragile parts of Nebraska.

It now falls to the Obama administration to approve the project. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Around the Nation
1:36 am
Wed January 23, 2013

Schussing Down Slopes Can Snowball Into A Search-And-Rescue Bill

Some states can bill skiers for search-and-rescue efforts. Often, those who need rescuing wandered into out-of-bounds areas and couldn't find their way back.
Nina Keck Vermont Public Radio

Originally published on Wed January 23, 2013 7:02 am

Fresh snow lures a lot of people to do some outdoor exploring, but sometimes that exploring can go too far. When snowmobilers or skiers wander off or get in over their heads, many call 911, putting a strain on already underfunded search-and-rescue budgets.

In Vermont, state police have had to help find 50 lost skiers in the past four weeks.

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The Salt
1:33 am
Wed January 23, 2013

Farmers And Their Cooperative Settle Lawsuit On Fixing The Price Of Milk

This 5-foot plexiglass piece of art resembling a freshly poured glass of milk sits near the door at Dairy Farmers of America headquarters in Kansas City, Mo.
Peggy Lowe/Harvest Public Media

Originally published on Wed January 23, 2013 7:01 am

Farmers who had hoped to get some answers on why prices for their raw milk went into free fall a decade ago were disappointed Tuesday by the settlement of a case accusing Dairy Farmers of America Inc. of creating a milk monopoly in the Southeast.

Dairy farmers and industry observers had hoped for their day in court after years of delays in the large class-action suit. But the day before the trial was to start in federal court in Tennessee, DFA announced a $158.6 million deal, saying it didn't want to risk going to trial.

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