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.
Personal income and spending seemed to stall in July, according to figures out today. Yet consumers and businesses both say they’re as confident as they’ve been in the economy in years. We dig into the apparent contradiction in terms. Plus, Morgan Stanley has been buying up diesel contracts in Europe. Big time. What does this say about commodity markets and their players. Also, Abercrombie and Fitch has decided to take the labels off its clothes. The move reflects a trend amongst younger shoppers who are increasingly buying from brands that don’t use a logo, such as Zara or H&M. But it also reflects the company’s recent poor performance.
ISIS is believed to get revenue from selling oil on the black market from fields it’s captured. We look at the black market for oil and how it works. Plus, advertising on Twitter is such an impenetrable mystery that Twitter is giving away free classes to teach vendors how to promote their stuff via its platform. The program is called #flightschool. We explain how it works and what it’s gonna teach. Also, two new studies indicate that immigrants to the U.S. weathered the recent housing slump better than native-born Americans and are also rapidly closing the gap on home ownership rates. We look at why immigrants are doing so well and what it means.
Snapchat has been allocated an impressive valuation...which appears to bear little or no relation to the valuation it had when it was last valued several months ago. So what makes it worth what people think it's worth today? Plus, American Airlines announced this week that it would pull its fares from any websites run by Orbitz Worldwide. The reason? The companies couldn’t agree on new contract terms. It’s the second contract dispute between the two travel giants and comes at a time when, according to reports, upgraded websites are becoming more popular with consumers. How will American Airlines withdrawal affect Orbitz? And how does a business relationship like this work? Also, the Commerce Department is imposing tariffs on Mexican sugar, after U.S. growers complained the Mexico was dumping cut-rate sugar here. U.S. sugar is already highly protected and is more expensive than in other countries. How will these tariffs affect industrial-scale users of sugar like candy makers?
The durable goods number today came with a mixed message. They were up big, but only because Airline companies bought lots of planes. Take that number out, and things don’t look so rosy. Plus, according to data from the credit agency TransUnion, the national credit card delinquency rate has declined to its lowest level in the last seven years, to 1.16 percent. Banks are known to make revenue from credit card debt and late payments, but how much do they depend on them? Is this latest trend affecting their business – and is the improvement in the payment delinquency rate a blip? Also, CNN is offering buyouts to older employees with several years on board. But what’s the personal calculation when you get an offer in your late 50’s, several years away from retirement, with a comfortable salary. Is it a boon or a jump off a cliff?
Burger King is looking to merge with Canadian coffee and doughnut chain Tim Hortons. It’s the latest chapter in Burger King’s patterned history. It’s gone in and out of private hands over the last few years and has a famously young leadership team. We look at what Burger King stands to gain from Tim Hortons' heft in the breakfast market. Plus, the American Academy of Pediatrics has become the latest group to declare that most middle and high school classes start too early for teenagers. The AAP says classes should begin no earlier than 8:30 am because adolescents are naturally wired to fall asleep after 11 pm and wake up later than most school start times allow for. But few school districts are likely to follow through, because everything from their bus schedules to extracurricular activities is dependent on the current schedule. Also, Miley Cyrus pointed to a longstanding problem when she had a young homeless person go on stage in her place at the VMAs. Lots of young people come to Los Angeles hoping to make it in the entertainment business and then get shipwrecked. She’s chosen My Friend’s Place, which works with young homeless people, as her beneficiary.
Janet Yellen gave a big speech today in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, about the uncertainty of the economy. Should we be worried? We catch up with Catherine Rampell from the Washington Post and John Carney from the Wall Street Journal to discuss the week that was. Plus, California could join the group of states that let community colleges offer four-year degrees in certain subjects like dental hygiene. But do you really need a four-year degree, and what’s the cost? We investigate. Also, the Emmys are on Monday this year, as opposed to Sunday. Why? Because they don’t want to have to compete with Sunday Night Football, of course. It’s just one example of the huge battle being waged over live TV broadcast space. Speaking of athletics, Foot Locker, the athletic shoe store, reported sky-high profits this year thanks to its partnership with Nike. Shoes with the swoosh account for two-thirds of Foot Locker’s sales. But what happens if wingtips become the new workplace fashion? Could Foot Locker be too dependent on Nike?