Business

Economy
6:44 am
Fri April 27, 2012

Is Moderate Growth Good For The Economy?

Growth will remain low and consumers will be cautious as long as unemployment stays high, economists say.
Scott Olson Getty Images

The U.S. economy hit the recession exit ramp nearly three years ago, but it's been lost on the back roads somewhere near Recoveryville ever since.

Growth rates have been modest at best compared with the 4-plus percent growth in the years well before the U.S. began slouching toward its worst post-World War II recession.

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Business
3:12 am
Fri April 27, 2012

Amazon's Profits Exceed Wall Street's Expectations

Originally published on Fri April 27, 2012 5:24 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

NPR's business news starts with impressive earnings for Amazon.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

INSKEEP: Amazon released its first-quarter earnings for 2012, which far exceeded Wall Street expectations. As NPR's Steve Henn reports, that sent Amazon's stock price soaring.

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Business
3:12 am
Fri April 27, 2012

The Last Word In Business

Originally published on Fri April 27, 2012 5:46 am

Sales of previously owned homes are up more than 10 percent from last year, according to The Wall Street Journal. At the same time, the number of homes for sale is at the lowest levels in years. The result, say many real estate firms, is that most of the offers being made these days come with competing bids.

Europe
2:10 am
Fri April 27, 2012

Dilemma For European Banks: Clean Books Or Lend?

Many of the most troubled European banks, like the French-Belgian Dexia, lost money in subprime mortgages and Greek bonds.
Yves Logghe AP

Originally published on Fri April 27, 2012 7:35 am

The walls of the Clock Shop in downtown Frankfurt, Germany, are lined with timepieces of every kind, from cuckoo clocks to digital watches. It's a testament to the store's 55-year history as a functioning business.

One of the things that has remained constant for much of that time is the store's relationship with its bank, owner Basia Szlomowicz says.

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Money & Politics
12:52 am
Fri April 27, 2012

FCC To Vote On Putting TV's Campaign Ad Data Online

Originally published on Fri April 27, 2012 5:24 am

Government regulators take up a rule with wide political implications Friday. The Federal Communications Commission is expected to vote on a proposal requiring TV stations to post online information about the campaign ads they air.

Stations are already compelled to keep those records in public files. FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski says it's time to make that information available on the Internet. But TV stations are resisting.

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Planet Money
12:49 am
Fri April 27, 2012

When Should A Country Abandon Its Own Money?

Enough already with the krona?
Jesse Garrison Flickr

Originally published on Mon May 7, 2012 10:16 am

Iceland is a tiny nation in a big financial mess. It's still recovering from the aftermath of the 2008 global economic crisis, which caused a domestic banking collapse.

Its currency, the krona, is also in really bad shape. That's led Icelanders to pose an existential currency question: Should they abandon the krona?

One key problem is size. Iceland has about as many people as Staten Island, so there just aren't that many people on the planet who need to use the krona.

"There are more people using Disney dollars," says Arsaell Valfells, an Icelandic economist.

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The Salt
1:56 pm
Thu April 26, 2012

Nutella Maker May Settle Deceptive Ad Lawsuit For $3 Million

The fact that Nutella's parent company, Ferrero, is known for its chocolates might be a tip-off that the sweet hazelnut spread isn't exactly "health" food.
STEFANO RELLANDINI Reuters /Landov

Remember that California mom who sued Nutella maker Ferrero over misleading advertising that made the addictive and gooey chocolate-hazelnut spread seem healthy?

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Shots - Health Blog
1:34 pm
Thu April 26, 2012

Health Insurers Set To Pay $1.3 Billion In Rebates

Come summer, mailboxes of 1 in 3 buyers of individual health insurance buyers could get rebate checks.
JS Callahan/tropicalpix iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu April 26, 2012 1:51 pm

If you buy your own health insurance, there's nearly a 1 in 3 chance that come this summer you'll get a nice little surprise in the mail: money back from your health insurance company.

At least that's the prediction from an analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation.

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Opinion
10:44 am
Thu April 26, 2012

New Republic: The Misuse Of The German Example

Demonstrators march from Downing Street to the Houses of Parliament to protest against austerity measures as the Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne prepares to leave 11 Downing Street on Budget Day March 21, 2012 in London, England. Great Britain has re-entered a recession.
Matthew Lloyd Getty Images

Alec MacGillis is a senior editor for The New Republic.

I don't usually wade into global economic policy here on the Stump, but as Mitt Romney reminded us in his speech last night, the 2012 presidential race is "still about the economy — and we're not stupid." So after coming across a particular pet peeve of mine just now, I'm going to wade on in.

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Business
9:45 am
Thu April 26, 2012

Is Bribery 'Business As Usual' South Of Border?

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Now, we turn to a business scandal that could have repercussions on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border. Wal-Mart, America's biggest retailer, is also Mexico's largest retailer and there, the company has been accused of paying more than $24 million in bribes to Mexican officials to obtain construction permits to build new stores.

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NPR Story
2:25 am
Thu April 26, 2012

Business News

Originally published on Thu April 26, 2012 7:21 am

Transcript

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

NPR's business news starts with a cage-free promise.

Burger King announced yesterday, that by 2017, all of its eggs and pork will come from animals not penned-up in cages and crates. Burger King is the first major U.S. fast food chain to put a firm deadline on such a promise. The move is seen as part of an industry-wide shift to consider animal concerns.

One food industry analyst says it proves quote, "that consumers are willing to pay a little bit more for fairness."

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NPR Story
2:25 am
Thu April 26, 2012

Double-Dip Recession Catches Britain Off Guard

Originally published on Thu April 26, 2012 7:21 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Britain is a nation in shock, following yesterday's announcement that its economy has slipped back into recession. The bad news is raising new questions about the government's unpopular austerity measures.

Vicki Barker has more from London.

VICKI BARKER, BYLINE: The news that Britain's economy has fallen into the dreaded double-dip recession caught everyone off guard - including Prime Minister David Cameron, who was immediately hit by a wave of criticism from parliament.

(SOUNDBITE OF VOICES)

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NPR Story
2:25 am
Thu April 26, 2012

After Backlash, Ethanol Industry Is Thriving

Young corn plants grow next to the Guardian Energy ethanol plant in Janesville, Minn. Five years ago, the U.S. government projected that in 2012, ethanol production would use up 30 percent of the nation's corn supply. Last year, it used 40 percent.
Glen Stubbe MCT/Landov

Originally published on Thu April 26, 2012 11:28 am

Five years ago, ethanol was seen as the next big thing to wean the U.S. off foreign oil. Then some studies on the corn-based fuel cast doubt on its environmental benefits, and auto companies turned their attention to hybrids and electric cars. The hype died off, but the ethanol industry is alive and well, driving a big change in America's corn consumption.

Rising up out of the corn fields outside Lake Odessa, Mich., is the ethanol refinery for Carbon Green Bioenergy. The company's CEO, Mitch Miller, says a lot of refineries were popping up when this one was built in 2006.

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Business
2:25 am
Thu April 26, 2012

The Last Word In Business

Originally published on Thu April 26, 2012 7:21 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Let's stay in Europe for our last word in business - about an ad that allegedly pushes Nationalist buttons.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

The story starts with the Netherlands Energy Company. As a promotion, the energy company is offering free beer taps.

INSKEEP: We do not know how a free beer tap promotes using energy, but never mind. The company bought ads. The ads contain a warning for Netherlands women: Prevent your husbands from traveling to Ukraine to see this summer's European soccer championship. They thought...

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Media
2:25 am
Thu April 26, 2012

Panel: Murdoch Is Too Powerful In U.K.

Originally published on Thu April 26, 2012 7:21 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

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Crisis In The Housing Market
1:02 am
Thu April 26, 2012

For Some, 'Frustration' Over Mortgage Settlement

A sign stands in front of a bank-owned home in Las Vegas. Housing counselors say the $25 billion mortgage settlement between major banks and the states has yet to make an impact in communities around the U.S.
Jae C. Hong AP

Originally published on Thu April 26, 2012 7:21 am

Earlier this month, a judge approved a settlement between five major banks and nearly all of the state attorneys general. The banks admitted to taking shortcuts — or "robo-signing" documents — as they pushed through some foreclosures.

Most of the $25 billion settlement is supposed to go toward reducing mortgage payments for some troubled homeowners. But lots of other programs have promised to help struggling homeowners in the past, and results have been disappointing.

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Asia
12:57 am
Thu April 26, 2012

An African Trader And The Perils Of Business In China

Kelvin Njubigbo, one of the many African traders in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou, made two profitable trips to the city from his native Nigeria. On his third trip, he was robbed of $19,000.
Nina Porzucki for NPR

Originally published on Thu April 26, 2012 8:31 am

It's dinnertime at a bustling Kentucky Fried Chicken in the Little Africa neighborhood of Guangzhou, in southern China. Chinese schoolgirls nibble on fries, a grandmother feeds her grandson, and Kelvin Njubigbo stares at a single wing on his tray. His foot, wrapped in a gauze bandage, juts out from the table.

"Everything is risk in life," repeats Njubigbo. "It's all risk from the beginning to the last."

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Economy
2:21 pm
Wed April 25, 2012

Federal Reserve To Keep Interest Rates Low

Originally published on Wed April 25, 2012 6:28 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

A load of information today from the Federal Reserve's policymaking committee, but no action. After a two-day meeting where officials discussed the economy and interest rates, policymakers decided to stand pat. They said, as they've said before, that a stronger economic recovery requires keeping interest rates exceptionally low through 2014. Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke defended that policy in a news conference after the meeting. NPR's John Ydstie reports.

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Business
2:14 pm
Wed April 25, 2012

The Wal-Mart Dilemma: When Is A Payment A Bribe?

A shopper examines produce at a Wal-Mart store in Mexico City. Wal-Mart's expansion into Mexico has been a major success, but its business practices have raised new questions.
Daniel Aguilar Getty Images

Originally published on Thu April 26, 2012 8:10 am

Allegations that Wal-Mart officials in Mexico paid local authorities to speed up permits to build new stores could result in a trial and a huge financial penalty under a U.S. anti-corruption law. But legal experts who spoke to NPR have their doubts it will ever come to that.

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Economy
2:49 am
Wed April 25, 2012

'Bittersweet Season' Details Caring For Aging Mom

Jane Gross, author of A Bittersweet Season
Michael Lionstar

Originally published on Tue June 26, 2012 11:38 am

As part of Morning Edition's Family Matters financial literacy series, Renee Montagne talks to Jane Gross, author of A Bittersweet Season, about caring for her aging mother, and what she wishes she had known before she started.

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

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Business
2:37 am
Wed April 25, 2012

Fitch Upgrades Ford's Junk Status

Originally published on Wed April 25, 2012 6:10 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

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

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And I'm Renee Montagne.

After all the reports about massive debts and credit downgrades, we have a story this morning of a credit upgrade. The ratings agency Fitch upgraded Ford.

INSKEEP: The company was at junk bond status, meaning a loan to Ford was considered a major gamble. Now, it's been moved to investment grade, the lowest investment rating: BBB minus.

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Business
2:37 am
Wed April 25, 2012

Business News

Originally published on Wed April 25, 2012 6:10 am

Apple announced higher-than-expected earnings for the most recent quarter — profits nearly doubled over last year. Apple's stock is back up, after falling in recent weeks over fears of a slowdown in iPhone sales. Those fears proved unfounded. Sales of iPhone and iPads beat company estimates.

Business
2:37 am
Wed April 25, 2012

Activists Disrupt Wells Fargo Shareholders Meeting

Originally published on Wed April 25, 2012 4:33 pm

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And there were protests and arrests at the Wells Fargo annual shareholders meeting in San Francisco yesterday. The demonstration - led by the Occupy Movement - was over the bank's foreclosure and lending policies. Hundreds of protesters bought bank shares so they could attend the meeting and disrupt proceedings. [POST-BROADCAST CORRECTION: While hundreds sought to disrupt the meeting, several dozen people representing community groups had purchased stock.]

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Business
2:37 am
Wed April 25, 2012

Are Bribes The Norm In Mexico's Business Culture?

Originally published on Wed April 25, 2012 6:42 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Wal-Mart's stock price has fallen sharply this week. That comes after The New York Times reported that the retailer's rapid growth in Mexico involved systematic bribery. Stock prices have also fallen for Wal-Mart's Mexico subsidiary Walmex.

This negative reaction came, even though financial journalist Eduardo Garcia in Mexico City, says bribery is a normal part of business in Mexico.

Was anybody in the business community in Mexico surprised to hear these allegations against Wal-Mart?

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Business
2:37 am
Wed April 25, 2012

The Last Word In Business

Originally published on Wed April 25, 2012 6:10 am

The town of Boring, Oregon, is twinning with the village of Dull, Scotland. The idea came after a Scottish cyclist passed through Boring. She thought Dull would make a great sister community. Scotland's tourism agency says the partnership could attract visitors to Dull.

Business
2:37 am
Wed April 25, 2012

British Panel Hears From Rupert Murdoch

Originally published on Wed April 25, 2012 6:10 am

In Britain Wednesday, media mogul Rupert Murdoch appears before a panel to testify about contacts with leading British politicians at a time when his News Corp. was trying to takeover broadcasting group BSkyB. On Tuesday, Murdoch's son appeared before the same panel.

Economy
1:05 am
Wed April 25, 2012

Fed Chief Bernanke To Discuss Sluggish Economy

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke has issued cautions about the economy.
Jim Watson AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed April 25, 2012 6:34 am

Policymakers at the Federal Reserve wrap up a two-day meeting Wednesday and will explain what they plan to do about interest rates. The consensus seems to be they'll keep short-term rates near zero to help support the lagging economy.

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Asia
1:01 am
Wed April 25, 2012

Carmakers In China Rev Up As Industry Shifts East

China is now the world's largest market for cars, and the Auto China 2012 car show is now taking place in Beijing. Here, the Denza electric car, a joint creation by Daimler and Chinese manufacturer BYD, is unveiled Monday.
AP

Originally published on Wed April 25, 2012 4:24 pm

The Beijing auto show runs this week in what is now the world's largest car market, and a crucial one for Detroit companies.

General Motors just announced it will open 600 more dealerships in China, where it sells more cars than it does in the U.S. Last week, Ford announced construction of its fourth Chinese assembly plant.

For longtime American auto executives in China, witnessing the shift in the global auto industry is dramatic.

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Education
11:36 pm
Tue April 24, 2012

Negotiating The College Funding Labyrinth

About 7 out of 10 students borrow money to pay for college. Here, a Stanford University student walks through the campus in Palo Alto, Calif.
Paul Sakuma AP

Originally published on Wed April 25, 2012 8:16 am

Now that your child has gotten into college, have you figured out how much it's actually going to cost — and who's going to pay for it?

These questions are hitting college-bound students and their parents right about now, along with the other million questions that nobody seems to have straight answers for. Paying for college can be complicated, if not mind-boggling.

Roughly 7 out of 10 students borrow money to pay for college, and for many, the process might as well be a mystery wrapped in a riddle.

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Media
2:24 pm
Tue April 24, 2012

James Murdoch Grilled On News Corp.'s Standards

Originally published on Tue April 24, 2012 3:37 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

Rupert Murdoch's son James testified today before a public inquiry in Britain. There, he faced a fundamental question: Did his family use its media influence to bully British politicians into making decisions that advanced the Murdoch's corporate interests? NPR's Philip Reeves followed the hearing in London.

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