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.
Airing on Friday, July 24, 2015: Amazon reported earnings yesterday, and its stock price soared. Today it has a market value very similar to that of Wal-Mart. Yet Amazon’s quarterly profit was only a fraction of Wal-Mart's. How can that be? Marketplace explores. Plus, lots of people on the parched West Coast are hoping that predictions of a strong El Niño this winter will prove correct, because a season of hard rain is needed. Others remember El Niño as just that — a season of hard rain — and are concerned about a winter of floods and mudslides.
Airing on Thursday, July 23, 2015: Health insurance giants Anthem and Cigna are closing in on a $48 billion merger, just days after Aetna announced plans to acquire Humana for $37 billion. These deals could help insurers navigate the changes brought about by healthcare reform, but how will they affect consumers? Next, it's not easy doing business in China these days, with the stock market and property values falling. U.S. companies are having to adapt to a more mature Chinese economy.
Airing on Wednesday, July 22, 2015: Global oil prices are half what they were a year ago, but you’d never know it in California, where regular gas is $4.50 a gallon. We explain California’s broken market, where special requirements for anti-smog gas blends limits the state to gas refined locally, and environmental pressure has limited the number of refineries. Next: "I am Cait," premieres this Sunday. The docu-series that chronicles former Olympic athlete Bruce Jenner's transformation into the female Caitlyn promises to be a ratings blockbuster for the E! Network. Where would E! be without the Kardashians? Marketplace explores.
Airing on Tuesday, July 21, 2015: Rural states have a lot of jobs, but don't have the skilled or professional workers to fill them. That's why states like Wyoming, South Dakota and Idaho have recently started their own Tinder of sorts —job-matchmaking programs to try and convince their expats to come back home. Next: Gold prices have hit a five-year low. What's been causing the drop? Marketplace explores.
Airing on Monday, July 20, 2015: The good news for Greece is that it got a bridge loan from its European partners last week. The bad news: Athens is sending that money right back out the door to pay off debts owed to the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund. Almost none of it will go into jump-starting its economy. It's a lot like a patient that gets a blood transfusion, only to have the blood leak out of a gaping wound. Next: PayPal goes public today. We take a look at the mobile payment business, how PayPal plans to compete going forward and who’s circling: Hint: Apple and Amazon.
Airing on Friday, July 17, 2015: Housing starts jumped in June, led by a 29 percent increase in apartment and condo construction. That creates fewer jobs than the single-family house market, but these monthly numbers are also highly volatile. Next: Word is that Hulu will go to a two-tiered structure of free with ads — or no ads for a fee. It's just the latest service to offer what will likely be to the luxury crowd a way to bypass advertisers. If this really picks up steam, what will advertisers do when big spenders are out of reach? Marketplace explores.