Business

Economy
3:15 pm
Sun May 13, 2012

EU's Financial Crisis Doesn't End At Nations' Borders

Demonstrators shout slogans during a protest to mark the anniversary of the "Indignados" movement in Madrid, Spain on Sunday. Tens of thousands of Spaniards took to the streets to protest the handling of the country's worst crisis in decades.
Alberto Di Lolli AP

Originally published on Sun May 13, 2012 9:11 pm

In the streets and public squares across Spain on Saturday night, the cries of a mass movement calling itself the Indignados rang out, railing against austerity measures imposed by the European Union.

In Greece the next morning, Alexis Tsipras, the head of a far-left opposition party, held a news conference to say he wouldn't join a coalition government that continued the path of austerity.

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Economy
4:20 am
Sun May 13, 2012

The Price We Paid: Gas Is Down, Maybe For A While

Mayeli Vasallo (left) and Jorge Monte pump gas in Miami in April. The average price of a gallon of gas has dropped 20 cents in the last month, to $3.73.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Originally published on Sun May 13, 2012 10:09 am

After spending much of the year on the rise, gas prices are now falling. The average price for a gallon of regular gas nationwide is $3.73, according to AAA. That's a drop of nearly 20 cents in one month, and industry analysts expect the price to keep falling.

You can get in a lot trouble trying to predict commodity prices, though. Phil Flynn, a market analyst at futures brokerage PFGBEST in Chicago, says there is one thing you can predict.

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Around the Nation
10:22 pm
Sat May 12, 2012

Lack Of Support Puts The Brakes On High-Speed Rail

California's Legislative Analyst's Office said the latest proposal to build a $68.4 billion high-speed train system is still too vague and the state legislature should not approve funding it for it this year.
Rich Pedroncelli AP

Originally published on Sun May 13, 2012 10:09 am

Three years ago, President Obama was rolling out an ambitious vision for high-speed rail in America. "Imagine whisking through towns at speeds over 100 mph," the president said at the time.

Today, there are a few Amtrak trains going that fast, but for the most part, the president's plans for high-speed trains have slowed considerably.

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Mitt Romney
4:41 pm
Fri May 11, 2012

Romney Shifts Gears On Auto Industry Bailout

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney arrives for a town hall-style meeting at Stamco Industries, a truck parts supplier, in Euclid, Ohio, on Monday.
Jae C. Hong AP

Originally published on Fri May 11, 2012 4:52 pm

Mitt Romney is from Michigan, a state he has said he hopes to win in November. But the likely Republican presidential nominee has very publicly opposed the government bailout of the auto industry.

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Business
4:38 pm
Fri May 11, 2012

What Caused JPMorgan's Loss Of $2 Billion?

Originally published on Fri May 11, 2012 5:35 pm

Audie Cornish speaks with Gregory Zuckerman about one of the men behind JPMorgan Chase's $2 billion loss. He's a special writer for The Wall Street Journal and author of The Greatest Trade Ever.

Business
2:15 pm
Fri May 11, 2012

Big Losing Bet Tarnishes Wall Street Titan JPMorgan

JPMorgan Chase Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon cited "many errors, sloppiness and bad judgment" in announcing a $2 billion loss due to a hedging strategy.
Mario Tama Getty Images

Originally published on Fri May 11, 2012 4:52 pm

JPMorgan Chase is licking its wounds after announcing that it lost at least $2 billion in a hedging strategy that went terribly wrong. The announcement late Thursday sent the bank's shares tumbling more than 9 percent on Friday.

Meanwhile, regulators on both sides of the Atlantic have begun looking into what happened. And there were calls Friday for tighter restrictions on the kind of trades the bank engaged in.

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Business
2:15 pm
Fri May 11, 2012

JP Morgan's 'London Whale' Behind Major Losses

Originally published on Fri May 11, 2012 4:52 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Joining us now is Stephanie Ruhle. She's a correspondent with Bloomberg TV's "Inside Track." She's been covering this story since it first started to develop, back in early April. Welcome, Stephanie.

STEPHANIE RUHLE: Thank you for having me. We have been working on this story for over a month now. And you know, it was a big surprise to us last night when JPMorgan's Jamie Dimon did come out with a very big mea culpa; you know, saying, I'm sorry; we do have egg on our face.

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The Two-Way
1:43 pm
Fri May 11, 2012

In Greece, Third Bid For Coalition Government Fails

Greece's radical leftist party Syriza chief Alexis Tsipras (L) shakes hands with Socialists leader Evangelos Venizelos before their meeting at the Greek parliament in Athens on Friday. Venizelos admitted that he had failed in a last-ditch bid to form a government after Syriza key leftist party ruled out joining a pro-austerity coalition.
Louisa Gouliamaki AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri May 11, 2012 2:12 pm

Evangelos Venizelos was the third politician mandated by the Greek president to form a coalition government.

Today, reports the BBC, after meeting with the leaders of different parties, Venizelos emerged empty-handed.

"I am going to inform the president of the republic tomorrow and I hope that, during the meeting with Carolos Papoulias, each party will assume its responsibilities," Venizelos told the BBC.

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Planet Money
8:58 am
Fri May 11, 2012

JP Morgan's $2 Billion Loss, Explained

Chris McGrath Getty Images

Originally published on Fri May 11, 2012 10:17 am

What just happened?

JPMorgan Chase, the biggest bank in America, announced that it lost $2 billion on a massive trade placed out of its London office.

What was the trade?

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The Two-Way
7:18 am
Fri May 11, 2012

JPMorgan 'Rogue Trader' Losses Send Chills Through Markets

Originally published on Fri May 11, 2012 9:46 am

"It was a bad strategy. It was badly executed."

The words of JPMorgan Chase's CEO, Jamie Dimon, as he admitted late yesterday that the investment bank — or, more precisely, a single "rogue trader" working for the bank, had lost some $2 billion in the last six weeks in risky hedge-fund trades.

The news has sent chills through the markets. Shares of JPMorgan Chase, the largest U.S. bank, lost 7 percent in after-hours trading and British bank Barclays lost 2.9 percent, while more than 2 percent was shaved from Royal Bank of Scotland.

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Business
5:11 am
Fri May 11, 2012

Freddie Mac Names Retired JPMorgan Official CEO

Mortgage broker Freddie Mac named Donald Layton as its new chief executive officer. Layton worked for JPMorgan Chase for nearly 30 years before retiring in 2004.

Around the Nation
3:14 am
Fri May 11, 2012

Chefs Fight California's Foie Gras Ban

Originally published on Fri May 11, 2012 9:12 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

If you enjoy foie gras, you may want to hold on making dinner reservations in California, because it's about to become the first state to ban the luxury liver dish made from ducks or geese. The nation's first statewide foie gras ban kicks in on July 1. Almost eight years have passed since a bill enacting that ban was signed. You'd think that by now both sides of the debate would've digested the inevitable, but no. Rachel Myrow reports from KQED in San Francisco.

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Politics
3:14 am
Fri May 11, 2012

Candidates Forced To Juggle Inconsistent Economic Data

Originally published on Fri May 11, 2012 5:10 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Now, the presidential election is expected to turn on the economy, which means that every bit of economic news takes on political significance. Trouble is, we don't always know what to make of it when we hear that unemployment claims fell again. Sounds good. Or that the trade deficit jumped. Not so good. NPR's Tamara Keith and Scott Horsley will now help us sort that out.

TAMARA KEITH, BYLINE: Whatever story you want to tell about the U.S. economy, you can find some data points to make your case.

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Business
3:14 am
Fri May 11, 2012

Postal Service Still Searching For Ways To Stem Losses

Originally published on Fri May 11, 2012 5:10 am

The Postal Service announced Thursday that it lost more than $3 billion during the first three months of the year. Post office officials are pushing Congress to give it more authority to cut some of its burgeoning costs.

Business
3:14 am
Fri May 11, 2012

Business News

Originally published on Fri May 11, 2012 5:17 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

NPR's business news starts with Sony hitting a three-decade low.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

INSKEEP: Sony shares fell to their lowest level since 1980 on Japan's Nikkei stock exchange today. That drop follows yesterday's report that the company suffered a net loss of $5.7 billion for the last fiscal year. The once dominant tech company has fallen behind other industry giants like Samsung and Apple, and has seen especially heavy losses in its TV division. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR Story
3:11 am
Fri May 11, 2012

The Last Word In Business

Originally published on Fri May 11, 2012 5:40 am

According to a survey by the National Retail Federation, mothers will be treated to a little more this holiday. All told, American consumers are expected to spend about $18.6 billion on the moms, stepmoms or grandmas in their lives.

NPR Story
3:11 am
Fri May 11, 2012

Happy Renters Don't Budge From Homeownership Sidelines

Originally published on Fri May 11, 2012 5:10 am

U.S. homeownership rates have fallen to their lowest point since 1997, despite the homebuyer tax credit and enduring rock-bottom interest rates. Two years ago on Morning Edition, we profiled two couples who were renting with no regrets. Have they changed their tune?

NPR Story
3:11 am
Fri May 11, 2012

JPMorgan Chase Loses $2 Billion In Risky Trades

Originally published on Fri May 11, 2012 5:10 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

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

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And I'm David Greene. Good morning.

JPMorgan Chase has acknowledged losing at least $2 billion over the last six weeks in an investment strategy that went awry. The losses are a big embarrassment to a bank that's usually seen as one of the best-managed on Wall Street. And the incident is already prompting new calls for tighter restrictions on bank trading.

NPR's Jim Zarroli reports.

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Europe
2:42 pm
Thu May 10, 2012

Trying To Avoid Bailout, Spain Takes On Ailing Banks

The Spanish government took a controlling stake in Bankia, the country's fourth-largest bank and largest real estate lender, on Wednesday.
Paul Hanna Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Thu May 10, 2012 8:50 pm

Spain nationalized its largest real estate lender Wednesday night and plans to announce an overhaul of the country's entire banking system Friday.

The country is scrambling to prevent its troubled banks — weighed down by property debts — from sabotaging the whole economy. The Spanish government has only to look northward to Ireland to see what could happen if it fails.

Lessons From Ireland

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Around the Nation
2:33 pm
Thu May 10, 2012

Small Post Offices Spared By Postal Service

Originally published on Thu May 10, 2012 8:50 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

Rural post offices have been given a reprieve. Thousands were slated for closure, but after loud objections, yesterday the Postmaster General said they will survive, though with shorter hours.

In tiny Kerrick, Minnesota, population about 60, Debra Stadin organized a petition drive to keep her post office open. Her daughter works there, and Ms. Stadin says it serves a broader community than just Kerrick.

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Around the Nation
10:42 am
Thu May 10, 2012

Horse Racing: America's Most Dangerous Game?

Eight Belles (far left) broke both of her front ankles after finishing second in the 134th Kentucky Derby in May 2008. She was later euthanized.
Matthew Stockman Getty Images

Originally published on Thu May 10, 2012 1:16 pm

In 2008, a horse named Eight Belles collapsed with two broken ankles just after finishing second in the Kentucky Derby. She was euthanized directly on the track. After her death, the thoroughbred industry organized safety and drug testing committees to make the sport safer.

But industry practices continue to put both horses and riders in harm's way. On average, 24 horses a week die at racetracks in the United States. Many horses that break down run with injuries masked by injected painkillers.

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Planet Money
9:12 am
Thu May 10, 2012

The Ideas America Sells To The World

Lam Thuy Vo / NPR

Originally published on Fri May 11, 2012 3:13 pm

The U.S. sells over $1 trillion worth of goods to the world every year. We also export hundreds of billions of dollars worth of services — legal and financial advice, plane tickets, etc.

After we ran the chart above earlier this year, one category in particular piqued our interest: Royalties and licensing. That category is, essentially, ideas America sells to the world.

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Business
5:43 am
Thu May 10, 2012

Brad Pitt Is The New Face Of Chanel No. 5 Ads

Originally published on Thu May 10, 2012 5:45 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Education
2:48 am
Thu May 10, 2012

Education Is Priceless But The Pricetag Is Hefty

A study indicates just half of college graduates, from 2009 to 2011, are finding work within a year. In the meantime, most grads have student loans to replay. Tim Maurer, a financial adviser in Hunt Valley, Md., talks to David Greene about the high cost of getting a college degree.

Business
2:48 am
Thu May 10, 2012

Business News

Originally published on Thu May 10, 2012 5:28 am

The Federal Reserve has announced three of China's largest state-owned banks have been given approval to expand their operations in the U.S. Analysts say that ICBC, China investment Corp., and Central Huijin Investment will likely look to purchase regional U.S. banks and establish a footprint in the American market.

Business
2:48 am
Thu May 10, 2012

GOP Governors Debate Health Exchanges

Originally published on Thu May 10, 2012 5:08 am

States are moving to set up health insurance exchanges — a pillar of Obama's health care law. But many GOP governors find themselves in an awkward position. David Wessel, economics editor of The Wall Street Journal, talks to Steve Inskeep about why the governors' positions on exchanges are complicated.

Business
2:48 am
Thu May 10, 2012

The Last Word In Business

Originally published on Thu May 10, 2012 5:32 am

Hairstyling icon Vidal Sassoon has died at the age of 84. He first earned acclaim for creating hair cuts that needed little styling.

Asia
12:55 am
Thu May 10, 2012

After The Quake, Japanese Shop For Survival

Store manager Naoto Higashi models a helmet, a fully stocked kit in his backpack, and a windup flashlight. Such items have become popular in Japan following last year's huge earthquake and tsunami.
Lucy Craft for NPR

Originally published on Thu May 10, 2012 2:48 am

Walk into any large Japanese retailer nowadays, and you might think Japan had become a nation of survivalists.

Aeon, a Wal-Mart-like chain of stores, devotes a sizable chunk of floor space to something called bosai-yohin, or "disaster-protection gear."

Naoto Higashi, a manager at one of the Tokyo stores, demonstrates some of their best-sellers, flashlights that have become the Swiss Army knives of anti-earthquake gear.

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Economy
12:54 am
Thu May 10, 2012

College Grads Struggle To Gain Financial Footing

Graduates of the University of Alabama's class of 2011. The economic downturn has hit recent college grads hard. New data show only half of those who graduated from 2006 to 2011 are working full time.
Butch Dill AP

Originally published on Thu May 10, 2012 2:48 am

Most of the estimated 1.5 million people graduating from a four-year college this spring will soon be looking for a job.

If the experiences of other recent college grads are any guide, many will be disappointed.

A new Rutgers University survey of those who graduated from college between 2006 and 2011 finds that just half of those grads are working full time.

Settling For Part Time

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Politics
11:55 pm
Wed May 9, 2012

House To Vote On GOP Bill Framed As Guns Vs. Butter

Originally published on Thu May 10, 2012 6:49 am

Republicans who control the House want to block some $55 billion worth of automatic cuts to the Pentagon budget next year. Instead, they want to cut funding for social programs such as food stamps, Medicaid and Meals on Wheels. It's a choice that has been framed as guns versus butter, and this time, guns are expected to win.

The Obama administration has threatened to veto the legislation, which the House votes on Thursday. But the president is willing to leave the Pentagon cuts in place for now, in hopes of bringing Republicans back to the bargaining table.

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