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.
Happy Holidays! Chances are you or someone you know bought something online this year. And, it makes sense, since you can buy everything from electronics to groceries with the click of a button. Many online retailers have policies that make it inexpensive to return what you don't like, but online buying returns are becoming so frequent, they're starting to eat into profits. There's another group of holiday spenders who aren't watching their pennies quite so closely. A look at how the other half spends Christmas Immigration reform has been in the news a lot this year, and unfortunately, that creates an opening for scam artists. They'll tell immigrants they can help them get green cards, even when they aren't eligible under current law. Many Syrians are leaving the war-torn country for Germany, but what's it like to start a new life in one of the wealthiest countries in Europe?
Toys R Us is staying open for 87 straight hours for last minute shoppers. Also, do people with birthdays on Christmas really get fewer presents? Marketplace’s Adriene Hill went in search of the answer. Plus, it’s been a monster year for companies going public, and that means this holiday season the newly-rich employees of those companies will have to manage their friends and families gift expectations. Finally, Ukraine, one of Europe's biggest countries, has been courted by east and west - the European Union offered Ukraine an historic free trade deal, Russia wants Kiev to join ITS economic bloc.
Apple and China Mobile announce a deal that could potentially put the iPhone into the hands of 700 million new Chinese customers. Next, we all know about the big Target hack that compromised the debit cards of millions of Target’s shoppers. What made the company and makes so many American companies vulnerable to this kind of attack: the magnetic strip. Why are we still using it when so many other countries have moved onto more secure credit and debit cards? Finally, it’s D-day for millions of uninsured who want to get their policies in motion by Jan. 1.
With the deadline for healthcare.gov sign ups looming 72 hours away, we look at how administrators are preparing: If the rush of customers is a coming flood, what are the Obamacare sandbags and where are they being deployed? Lead bullets are on their way out. Fourteen states have banned them, the military is phasing them out, and on Dec. 1, the EPA is shutting down a bullet-producing lead smelter. But hunters say a shift to copper will make bullets more expensive and less effective, and even could raise copper prices. Finally, today’s glance at third-quarter GDP numbers are good. The country is growing at a rate of more than 4 percent. But unemployment is still high, wages are still not growing, and while companies are thriving and sitting on piles of cash, Americans, for the most part, are not.
Target has revealed that data for more than 40 million customers have been stolen from its retail network. But what on earth does a thief do with all those credit card numbers? How can they be used and for what purpose? Next, what’s the perfect gift for traditionalists this Holiday Season? Light bulbs – the old-fashioned kind invented by Thomas Edison a century ago. They are banned as of Jan. 1, and lots of people will miss them. Plus another installment from our travels across Europe, looking at unemployment among the young.
The Federal Reserve says it will reduce its $85 billion a month in bond purchases by $10 billion starting in January, citing a stronger U.S. job market. What will that do to interest rates? Next, BP has long complained that its settlement money for the Deepwater Horizon spill was often spent frivolously. Now it’s going public with its complaints about claims that businesses have filed against it, starting with Emeril Lagasse, the New Orleans chef. Finally, it used to be that sports and fashion marketing existed on the periphery of the Hollywood entertainment business. But as a IMG’s sale to William Morris demonstrates, the talent business is diversifying.