Marketplace Morning Report
Start your day with an up-to-the-minute report on the world of business and finance with host David Brancaccio.
Air France pilots today won what analysts say is a major victory on this 11th day of a strike. Air France management has offered to scrap plans to expand its low-cost partner airline called Transavia that pilots regarded as a threat to their livelihoods. The pilots are now considering the offer. And in the US the Great Recession laid the consumer low. Over the last six years, Americans have been more careful about major purchases, although once their cars and trucks wore out, they had little choice but to go back to dealerships. They've been careful about buying houses, big appliances, shopped deep discount, and paid down debt. Now, Consumer Reports magazine has crunched the numbers and concluded that we are ready to spend again. Plus, in sports when a team goes to hire a manager, what's the first and foremost metric? Wins and losses. One would think the same's true in politics when hiring a campaign manager or political consultant. But as we found out, it's not so clear cut.
India is celebrating its Sputnik moment with news it successfully put an unmanned/unwomaned craft into Mars orbit. It was a mission accomplished on the cheap, quieting critics who thought there were better uses for this money. Plus, the west-coast grocery chain "Smart and Final" aims to raise $100 million selling a brand new stock today. The company plans to expand a line of stores that are something like small Costco without appliances or membership fees. And a day after the Obama administration moved to clamp down on the corporate tax-cutting maneuver known as the "inversion," there are reports that at least two big U.S. companies are undeterred. More on the news that the big drugs company Pfizer is still interested in buying Actavis and that Burger King will move forward on buying Tim Horton's of Canada.
First up, we have details of a new Obama Administration crackdown on the corporate tax reduction scheme known as the "inversion." That's the controversial maneuver where a U.S. company acquires a foreign firm, in part to lower its U.S. tax bill by taking a foreign street address. Now, the Treasury Department has taken a big step toward thwarting the practice. Plus, China's online commerce giant Alibaba trades on the New York Stock Exchange as of Friday. But investors are awaiting another big new stock to hit the market. The price of the new shares of Citizens Financial Group are expected to be set later today in what could be the largest bank IPO since Goldman Sachs in 1999. But, it's a stock offering born in adversity. And $4 might get you a fancy cup of coffee...maybe. But at a handful of Walmarts in the South, store employees can get a medical checkup for $4.The company just opened up two more primary care clinics in Macon, Georgia and Tyler, Texas.
A major grocery store chain based in Europe but with U.S. connections is grappling with a case of accounting irregularities. The apparent "Rob Peter to Pay Paul"-style accounting has surfaced at Tesco, the British grocery store company that started Fresh and Easy in the U.S. and has global sales that are often second only to Walmart. A Tesco whistleblower is helping authorities with the investigation. Plus, an estimated 310,000 people took to the streets in New York City on Sunday, calling for policy action on climate change. The demonstration aimed to draw the world's attention to the issue, with United Nations Climate Change Summit kicking off tomorrow. And we have entered the autumn, and it's later this fall when policymakers at the federal reserve are set to taper away their stimulus. This is the extraordinary bond-buying designed to keep the U.S. economy flush with cash as we moved out of the financial crisis. As the special bond buying comes to an end, it's is a useful moment to think about alternatives for next time. The next time a country needs emergency stimulus, instead of central bank bonds, how about if the government just hands out cash, right and left, willy nilly?
First up, we have the money angle on Scotland's decision to remain united with the kingdom. And continuing our series on the weird, delightful and destructive ways that prices have changed during that quarter century, we take a look at the current best-selling car in America: The Honda Accord. Adjusting for inflation, surely, it must have gotten more expensive. Think again.
Survey results out this morning suggest many Americans who signed up for health insurance under what's labeled the Affordable Care Act do actually find their coverage affordable. That's particularly true for people with very low incomes who are paying less than $125 a month for a policy--on par with what many pay to get health coverage through their jobs. But for people earning over $30,000 a year, the premiums often seem expensive. And two weeks ago, Marketplace China Bureau Chief Rob Schmitz reported a story about how the professional-style social-network LinkedIn censors content from its members in China on its site throughout the world. Our correspondent figured this out when some of his own linkedin content was removed. Today, LinkedIn has announced it is now changing this censorship policy. Plus, New York City has gotten attention for its new city-funded pre-schools that just opened this month. But around the country the typical pattern is a private daycare run by people working out of their homes. These tend to hit the news when something awful happens, but many daycare workers are also supplying much-need social capital.