Business

Crisis In The Housing Market
2:03 am
Thu June 21, 2012

Bidders Get Feisty Over Foreclosed Homes

Daily auctions are held on foreclosed properties in front of the county courthouse in Corona, Calif. About 80 bidders, representing investors, show up to bid on properties.
Yuki Noguchi NPR

Originally published on Thu June 21, 2012 4:21 am

For-sale homes in California are sparse, even in areas with high foreclosure rates. It has led to buyers like Jennifer Bryant, who is willing to throw money at just about anyone willing to sell her a house.

Since February, Bryant has made 35 offers on homes in Riverside, only to be elbowed out by other bids. With few houses available and many bidders chasing these properties, she feels she has, at most, an hour to consider each house.

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Shots - Health Blog
2:47 pm
Wed June 20, 2012

When 'Madagascar' Meets Children's Claritin

One of the Madagascar 3-themed activities for kids touted on Merck's Claritin Facebook page.
Facebook

Originally published on Wed June 20, 2012 3:23 pm

Merck is catching flak for marketing Children's Claritin with cute cartoon characters from the latest installment in the Madagascar movie series.

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The Two-Way
12:36 pm
Wed June 20, 2012

Bernanke: Federal Reserve Expects 'Slow Progress' On Unemployment

Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke speaks during a news conference on Wednesday in Washington, DC.
Alex Wong Getty Images

Originally published on Wed June 20, 2012 1:51 pm

The Federal Reserve is ready to take further action — including the purchase of Treasury bonds — "to provide support for the economy," the Chairman of the Fed Ben Bernanke said during a press conference.

Bernanke also said that the members of the Federal Open Market Committee had "marked down" their outlooks on the economy.

Most expect there to be little change in the unemployment rate through the end of the year. The consensus, said Bernanke, is that the Fed expects "slow progress" on unemployment and most opinions are "weighted toward slower growth" on the GDP.

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Planet Money
11:45 am
Wed June 20, 2012

Why The Fed's Latest Move Isn't Likely To Do Much

Originally published on Thu June 21, 2012 11:38 am

The Federal Reserve just said it would extend "Operation Twist."

We talked about Operation Twist earlier this month, when we spoke with Joseph Gagnon, a former Fed economist now at the Peterson institute.

We wrote:

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The Two-Way
10:15 am
Wed June 20, 2012

Will The Fed Take Extra Steps To Stimulate Economy?

Originally published on Wed June 20, 2012 11:33 am

Update at 12:33 p.m. ET. Fed Extends 'Operation Twist':

The Federal Reserve said it was extending its "Operation Twist" through the end of year. It will add $267 billion more to the program in which the Fed sells some of its medium-term bonds in order to buy longer-term ones. In theory, that pushes down the interest rate on longer-term loans, especially mortgages.

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Planet Money
8:19 am
Wed June 20, 2012

What America Spends On Booze

The price of alcohol we buy at the store has gone down. The price of booze at bars has gone way up.
David Joyner iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed June 20, 2012 12:21 pm

Related: What America Spends On Groceries

Out of every $100 American consumers spend, about $1 goes to alcohol. That hasn't changed much over the past 30 years.

But where we spend our money on alcohol has changed quite a bit. We spend a bigger chunk of our booze money in bars and restaurants. We spend less money buying alcohol at the store to drink at home.

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Business
4:57 am
Wed June 20, 2012

The Fed In 3 Phrases: Decoding Bernanke And Co.

Many economists are predicting Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and his fellow policymakers will continue to depress long-term rates.
Alex Brandon AP

Originally published on Wed June 20, 2012 10:42 am

The Federal Reserve — the nation's central bank — will end its two-day meeting on Wednesday by offering its assessment of the economy, and then declaring its latest plan for making things better.

Investors all over the world will be waiting to hear just how weak — or not — the Fed thinks the U.S. economy is. And they will be watching to see whether the bankers plan to continue trying to stimulate growth by extending two controversial programs, one known as Operation Twist, and the other as quantitative easing.

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Business
2:46 am
Wed June 20, 2012

Study: Fat People Burden Earth's Resources

Originally published on Wed June 20, 2012 6:08 am

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

Now, for a global perspective on our national weight problem. The number of humans on the planet is now more than seven billion. And our total weight is 287 million tons. That number comes from a new study that suggests weight, not just headcount, should be considered when looking at the impact of people on the planet.

To find out more, we called Ian Roberts. He's a professor at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, and is the lead author of this study.

Good morning, Professor Roberts.

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Business
2:46 am
Wed June 20, 2012

Sharp Shows Off 'World's Biggest' LED TV

Originally published on Wed June 20, 2012 6:08 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And our last word in business is: supersized couch potato.

This week, Japanese electronics maker Sharp unveiled what it's calling the biggest LED TV on the planet. The 90-inch set has WiFi built in and you can buy it with a webcam option. You could, say, Skype with 50 people at once and see all their faces.

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

Of course, you would need a lot of wall space and a fat wallet. It cost $11,000.

That's the business news on MORNING EDITION. I'm Linda Wertheimer.

Economy
2:46 am
Wed June 20, 2012

G-20 Leaders Promise To Promote Economic Growth

Originally published on Wed June 20, 2012 6:08 am

Leaders of the world's biggest economies wrapped up the G-20 summit in Mexico Tuesday with a promise to work together to promote jobs. The meeting comes amid worrisome signs of slowing growth in the United States and elsewhere.

Economy
2:46 am
Wed June 20, 2012

Investors Look To The Fed For An Economic Boost

Originally published on Wed June 20, 2012 7:59 am

Transcript

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

NPR's business news starts with the Fed in the spotlight.

U.S. stocks rallied yesterday largely on a belief among investors that the Federal Reserve will take further action to stimulate the economy. The Fed concludes a two-day meeting around noon today. Afterwards, Chairman Ben Bernanke will hold a news conference to explain the Fed's strategy.

As NPR's John Ydstie reports, there are several things the Fed could do to try to boost growth, but whether they'd be effective is debatable.

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Business
2:46 am
Wed June 20, 2012

Business News

Originally published on Wed June 20, 2012 6:08 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Now, to policy making with some fizz. The mayor of Cambridge, Massachusetts, has proposed limiting the size of sodas and sweetened drinks that can be sold in the city.

Henrietta Davis said she was inspired by the mayor of New York. Michael Bloomberg has proposed a ban on sales of oversized sugary drinks in his city's restaurants. Mayor Davis says soda is a factor behind increasing obesity and heart disease among young people.

Energy
4:11 pm
Tue June 19, 2012

Shell Faces Pushback As Alaska Drilling Nears

Shell says it hopes to never need to use its new 300-foot-long, $100 million oil recovery ship named Nanuq for anything other than drills and training.
Richard Harris NPR

Originally published on Tue June 19, 2012 4:59 pm

The federal government could soon give the final go-ahead for Royal Dutch Shell to begin drilling for oil in the Arctic Ocean. Shell has spent $4 billion since 2007 to prepare for this work, and is hoping to tap into vast new deposits of oil.

But the plan to drill exploratory wells is controversial — opposed by environmental groups and some indigenous people as well.

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Technology
2:35 pm
Tue June 19, 2012

Failure: The F-Word Silicon Valley Loves And Hates

Tech entrepreneurs gather at the offices of Y Combinator, a company based in Mountain View, Calif., that provides seed money to young startups. Founder Paul Graham predicts half of the startups funded by Y Combinator will ultimately fail.
Melissa Block NPR

Originally published on Tue June 19, 2012 6:18 pm

In Silicon Valley, there's an "F word" that entrepreneurs say in polite company all the time: failure.

For every high-tech business success, there are countless failures in this California cradle of Internet startups. Here failure is accepted, or even welcomed, as a guide for future success.

In fact, failure is dissected in San Francisco at FailCon, an annual one-day conference where tech entrepreneurs and investors spill their guts and share lessons learned.

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The Two-Way
12:57 pm
Tue June 19, 2012

Moon Shot From JPMorgan's Dimon Is Day's Money Quote

JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon during testimony today before the House Financial Services Committee.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images
  • Rep. Sean Duffy and JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon

The top news from Capitol Hill testimony today by JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon is that he says "the bank did its best to fully inform investors about its risk strategy several weeks before it suffered a $2 billion-plus trading loss," The Associated Press reports.

But the quote from him that seems to be getting the most attention came in response to a question from Rep. Sean Duffy, R-Wis., who wanted to know if the bank could ever lose "a half a trillion dollars or a trillion dollars?"

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The Two-Way
11:35 am
Tue June 19, 2012

Microsoft's 'Surface': The Early Reviews Are In

Microsoft's Surface.
Microsoft

Originally published on Tue June 19, 2012 11:51 am

Microsoft announced yesterday that it was jumping into the tablet market with "Surface." That foray has been hotly anticipated and analysts believe with sales of PCs falling, it's an important move for the company known more for its software than its hardware.

Now that the tech writers have had a chance to get their hands on the device, we've rounded up a few of their first impressions:

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Shots - Health Blog
8:51 am
Tue June 19, 2012

Pills On The Job: Companies Add Prescription Services

On-the-job filling of prescriptions is becoming more common.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue June 19, 2012 10:37 am

Nearly everybody has to fill a prescription now and then. For a lot us, there are several to fill each month.

To make it easier, some companies are adding drug dispensaries to their on-site health clinics. Others offer concierge services that deliver drugs right to workers' desks.

Now, it's true that people could also fill their usual prescriptions by mail, something many employers and managers of pharmacy benefits encourage with lower copays.

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Planet Money
8:19 am
Tue June 19, 2012

Why A Strong Yen Means More U.S. Jobs

Ben Margot AP

Originally published on Fri June 22, 2012 4:11 pm

The cost to build a Toyota Prius hasn't changed much in the past five years — if you measure the cost in Japanese yen. But if you measure the cost in dollars, it's a different story. In 2007, it cost Toyota about $16,000 to build a Prius. Now, it's more like $24,000.

That's because the value of the yen has risen relative to the dollar. In 2007, $1 bought 124 yen; today, $1 buys just 79 yen.

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The Two-Way
7:51 am
Tue June 19, 2012

Adidas Cancels Its 'Shackle Shoes'

The JS Roundhouse Mids.
Facebook.com/adidasoriginals

Originally published on Tue June 19, 2012 9:46 am

Sneakers that come with prison orange shackles to wrap around your ankles?

That was Adidas' idea for the "JS Roundhouse Mids" it planned to start selling in August. It was to be "a sneaker ... so hot you lock your kicks to your ankles."

Was to be, that is.

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The Two-Way
7:12 am
Tue June 19, 2012

Signs Of Strength In Latest Housing Data

San Mateo, Calif.: Construction was underway earlier this year at a new housing development.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Tue June 19, 2012 8:01 am

There was a 7.9 percent jump in the number of construction permits issued to home builders in May, the Census Bureau says.

That increase boosted permits to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 780,000 — the most since September 2008, The Associated Press adds. It's a signal that construction will be strong in coming months.

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The Two-Way
5:10 am
Tue June 19, 2012

Spain's Borrowing Costs Soar; Latest 'Ominous Sign' In Europe

The Spanish flag blowing in the wind in Madrid earlier this month.
Pablo Blazquez Dominguez Getty Images

Originally published on Tue June 19, 2012 6:32 am

Today's developments in Europe's financial crisis focus mainly on Spain:

-- The Wall Street Journal writes that "Spain, on the edge of losing debt market access, paid around 2 percentage points more in interest rates Tuesday than a month ago to lure investors to its Treasury bill sale, an ominous sign ahead of a critical government bond auction Thursday."

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Business
2:58 am
Tue June 19, 2012

Business News

Originally published on Tue June 19, 2012 7:48 am

The Federal Reserve starts its latest two-day meeting Tuesday, and analysts around the globe are wondering whether the central bank will end ease monetary policy. The meeting follows some tough U.S. labor data and the recent Greek elections.

Business
2:58 am
Tue June 19, 2012

The Last Word In Business

Originally published on Tue June 19, 2012 7:48 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And today's last word business is about a bank takeover that was more of a fake over. Businessman Li Chunping made headlines in China earlier this year. He spoke in the Chinese media of how he took over an American bank - the Atlantic Bank of Delaware, which he said went bankrupt in 2008.

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

The story got him plenty of public praise. The communist party touted him as a model citizen, rising from poverty to be a successful businessman in the rice trade. He even got a position as a government adviser.

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Business
2:58 am
Tue June 19, 2012

Microsoft's Surface Tablet To Compete With iPad

Originally published on Tue June 19, 2012 7:48 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Now in Hollywood last night, Microsoft unveiled its newest product: a tablet computer to compete with the iPad. Putting out a computer is an unusual move for Microsoft, which is mostly known for software.

NPR's Mandalit del Barco was at the announcement.

MANDALIT DEL BARCO, BYLINE: At Milk Studios in Hollywood, a photo studio for the stars, Microsoft engineers revealed their snazzy new tablet, which they call Surface.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

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Business
1:07 am
Tue June 19, 2012

It's Taxis Vs. Limos In Laid-Back Portland

Portland, Ore., imposes two different fare structures on taxis and other kinds of short-trip vehicles. Two town car companies say those different rules are unconstitutional.
Thomas Hawk Flickr

Originally published on Tue June 19, 2012 7:48 am

With just over a half-million residents, Portland, Ore., is not exactly a major metropolis. In this bike- and mass-transit-friendly city, there are typically more bikes and buses plying the downtown streets than taxis and town cars.

So when Mike Porter wanted to drum up business for his town car company, he did what a lot of businesses do: He took out a Groupon ad, offering a discounted fare to or from the airport.

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All Tech Considered
2:18 pm
Mon June 18, 2012

You Know You Want One: Personal Robots Not Ready For You Yet

Research scientist Leila Takayama poses with a PR2 robot at Willow Garage, a robotics company in Menlo Park, Calif., that produces programmable robots.
Melissa Block NPR

Originally published on Mon June 18, 2012 9:06 pm

Meet Jake. At 500 pounds, he stands 4 feet 4 four inches tall, with a spine that stretches another foot. He has white urethane skin, a flat head sporting an array of camera lenses, and a laser scanner in his throat.

And he may be coming to a home near you.

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The Two-Way
10:31 am
Mon June 18, 2012

Microsoft Promises A 'Major' Announcement; What Will It Be?

Microsoft's Surface.
Microsoft

Originally published on Mon June 18, 2012 7:01 pm

Update at 7:23 p.m. ET. The Surface:

Saying that Microsoft wanted to give its new operating system "its own hardware," CEO Steve Ballmer announced "Surface," Microsoft's foray into the tablet world.

The Verge reports:

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Business
5:37 am
Mon June 18, 2012

Microsoft Expected To Debut Tablet Rival To iPad

Microsoft isn't confirming but the company is expected to unveil a tablet device at an event in Los Angeles on Monday. Bloomberg News reports sources say the device would compete with Apple's iPad and Amazon's Kindle. Meanwhile, IBM has created a computer that ranks the fastest in the world. The Sequoia machine beat out the previous No. 1, the Japanese Fujitsu.

Business
5:32 am
Mon June 18, 2012

Chevy Volt Sales Begin To Show Improvement

General Motors is pinning some of its hopes for the future on its gas-electric hybrid the Chevy Volt. After a slow start last year, Volt sales are beginning to pick up. According to Edmunds.com, Volt sales so far this year are almost level with all of last year's sales. GM has sold about 7,000 of the hybrids.

The Two-Way
5:09 am
Mon June 18, 2012

Market Rally Fades As Investors Turn Attention From Greece To Spain

Frankfurt: A German flag hung today in front of a board displaying the DAX stock index.
Daniel Roland AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon June 18, 2012 11:19 am

At midday in New York, Bloomberg News' headline pretty much sums up the story for the markets so far today and their reaction to the news about Sunday's vote in Greece:

"U.S. Stocks Swing Between Gains, Losses Amid Europe Woes."

And this paragraph from Bloomberg's account seems to capture what traders are thinking:

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