Marketplace Morning Report
Start your day with an up-to-the-minute report on the world of business and finance with host David Brancaccio.
Airing on Friday, March 27, 2015: Prices are not budging in Japan at a time that policymakers really wanted to see prices rise some. There's news today inflation in Japan is zero. Sinking oil is one reason, but consumers are still tentative about buying things. That's despite extensive efforts by the Japanese goverment to stimulate things, a set of policies called "Abenomics". More on that. Plus, 3G Capital plans to put into place “zero based budgeting” at Kraft. We explain what this means and how it works. And for people who have too much to do, don't want to think much about food or are tired of microwaving plastic from the freezer, there is something called Soylent. It's a powder that turns into a bland, beige shake. Soylent is produced by a start up company that's been attracting some serious venture capital from big Silicon Valley names. We talk about, and taste, the product.
Airing on Thursday, March 26, 2015: With the Saudi-led coalition bombing targets in Yemen to stop advances by Houthi rebels, the price of oil right now is up 4 percent. That's a dramatic spike, given that Yemen accounts for a tiny percentage of the world's oil. More on that. Plus, did you know that nearsightedness causes people to make bad decisions about money? I'm talking about a kind of myopia that can't be fixed by the optometrist. It's the human tendency to see the future as hazy and the present sharply in focus. Behavioral economists have a fancy name for it: "hyperbolic discounting". Joseph Kable, a neuroscientist in the Department of Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania, joins us to talk about it.
Airing on Wednesday, March 25, 2015: You may know that many of the beers you drink are produced by a Belgian-Brazilian conglomerate known as Anheuser-Busch InBev. There's word just now that Heinz of ketchup fame is merging with Kraft of Mac and Cheese, Jello, Oscar Meyer and Philadelphia cream cheese fame. The Brazilian angle? At the center of this estimated $40 billion deal is a Brazilian private equity fund known as 3G Capital that already controls Heinz. Plus, Apollo Group, the parent company of the University of Phoenix, reports earnings this morning. For-profit colleges have seen enrollments decline, thanks to negative publicity and an improving economy. But the biggest threat right now might be from traditional universities competing for students online. And Radioshack is bankrupt and on the auction block. We talk to Heather Landy, global news editor for Quartz, who has been digging deep into the sad demise of the Shack.
Airing on Tuesday, March 24, 2015: After the 2008 financial collapse, the government required banks to prove if they failed some day it wouldn't drag down the rest of the financial system and require a bailout. The documents to prove this are known informally as "living wills." Last summer it emerged that a range of U.S.-based bank still posed too much systemic risk if they were to go bankrupt. Today, several published reports say three foreign owned banks also lack persuasive living wills. BNP Paribas, HSBC, and Royal Bank of Scotland. More on that. And there's news today about factories in China, where an index of manufacturing fell in March. We take a look at the issue. Plus, Shell is expected to get the green light this week to re-start drilling for oil in the Arctic. Critics fear low oil prices may raise pressure on the company to cut corners and compromise safety. Given its poor safety record in the Arctic, why is the US supporting Shell’s application? We explore.
Airing on Monday, March 23, 2015: The man who transformed Singapore has died. Lee Kuan Yew was 91. Countries the world over, including China looked to Lee's example of economic transformation, but it was a system that was controversial. More on that story. This next story is about a water war that ended…during a drought. Sounds odd, but that's what's happened in California, where the city of Los Angeles and air regulators in the rural Owens Valley recently called a truce in an ongoing dispute rooted in L.A.'s century-old "water grab." If your history's failing you, think "Chinatown," folks.
Airing on Friday, March 20, 2015: First up, we'll talk about the merger in Europe worth the euro equivalent of $44 billion, and creates the largest company in the world of its kind. More on that. And Michelle Obama is midway into her trip to Asia, where she’s launching her Let Girls Learn initiative. At last count, 62 million girls worldwide were not going to school. But rather than take a broad brush to all this, Obama is teaming with the Peace Corp to try and move the needle. Under the plan, the Peace Corps will recruit and train about 650 additional volunteers to focus specifically on adolescent girls' access to education — on a grass roots level, so they can identify specific barriers and come up with ways to remove them. We explore. Plus, the U.S. rail system is the mirror opposite of rail systems in other countries. In Europe, for example, passenger rail rules. But the U.S. freight rail system is widely recognized as the most efficient in the world. So why are we so different?