Every weekday on Marketplace, Kai Ryssdal hosts a lively and unexpected exploration of the day’s business and economic news from Wall Street to your wallet.
The dollar is getting stronger. For that, you can thank the decision to roll back quantitative easing in the U.S., and the European Central Bank's decision to do more QE in the EU. Some people love a strong dollar, but others don't. We look at why the dollar's doing better, and who the winners and losers are this time round. Meanwhile, oil prices are falling in part because the global production of oil is reducing Saudi Arabia's — and therefore OPEC's — influence. Saudi Arabia was the swing state that could turn production up or down to affect prices. Now it's keeping production up despite falling prices to avoid losing foreign buyers. Plus, Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway is getting into the auto market. The company is buying the Van Tuyl Group, which is America's fifth-largest dealership. The purchase price is unknown, but we do know that whatever Buffett does, others watch very closely. What's behind the move, and what does it say about the auto biz?
The first case of Ebola diagnosed in the U.S. raises the question of whether there will be a more concerted effort to create a vaccine or drug treatment for the disease. We explain the incentives at play when companies and governments pursue drugs, how the industry/marketplace respond to outbreaks, and how drug resources get mobilized. Next, small cable companies are getting out of the TV side of the business or reducing their offerings. We look at what this means for shows. Finally: Reddit has just raised $50 million in funding from investors and is preparing to give 10 percent of these shares back to its community of users as equity. This is a “long-held dream” says CEO Yishan Wong, and now it's time to figure out how that model could actually work.
Today eBay announced that it’s going to split with PayPal and make both entities separate companies. Will PayPal users actually notice? In other tech-companies-talking news, Netflix has forged a deal with the Weinstein Company, to stream a sequel to the hit movie “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” next year on the same day the movie is released in selected theaters. This disrupts the current movie distribution system which mandates a delay between a movie’s release in theaters and its being made available in other forms – DVD, Pay TV and Video on Demand platforms. And finally, it's the anniversary of the launch of HealthCare.gov. We check in.
Three days of pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong have nearly shut down the city. They’ve also made financial traders around the world nervous. Prices dropped on Asian and European exchanges today and U.S. stocks also opened lower. Why what happens in Hong Kong matters to U.S. and global markets. Meanwhile, Facebook has launched its rebuilt advertising platform. Atlas, as it’s called, will let marketers use the knowledge and information the company has of its users to target them on mobile apps and websites. Why has it taken so long for Facebook to launch this, and what impact will it have on the company’s competitors and users?
Hundreds of flights were grounded in Chicago this morning after a fire at an air traffic control facility. O’Hare is the second busiest airport nation and home to hubs for both American and United airlines. How often do these types of shutdowns happen and what are the economic ripple effects across the country? And, social media upstart Ello made a lot of noise online this week by positioning itself as the anti-Facebook, promising no ads, no data mining, and to stop treating people as "a product that's bought and sold." Apparently, those are words many wanted to hear, as the site was welcoming 4,000 new users per hour midweek. But the question remains, how do you make any money if you aren't selling advertising and scraping user data?
The mobile refineries the U.S. is bombing are so small they could almost fit in a pickup truck. We look at this microrefinery world and ask what the pros and cons are to blowing up ISIS’s oil-refining stuff. Richard Branson has told 170 employees at Virgin's head offices to take as much vacation time as they'd like. We look at the behavioral angle — what are the forces at work when a boss tells his employees he trusts them implicitly with time off — and do people tend to take more or less leave? The Federal Aviation Administration is expected to announce today its approval of drones for Hollywood filmmaking. A number of video-productions firms have applied for permits for the camera-equipped drones. How will the FAA's decision affect the current provider of ariel shots in the industry — the more costly helicopters and airplanes?