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 president is naming his new pick to be the head of Housing and Urban Development, Julian Castro, currently the San Antonio mayor. And while HUD is something of a giant bureaucracy, it has less influence than you might think over housing in the U.S. We look at the limits of HUD’s power, and the tools HUD has to help the housing recovery. Plus, Hewlett-Packard is cutting thousands more jobs. Is this founder of Silicon Valley at the stage of life where it’s best strategy is cutting jobs to prop up profits as long as it can? Or can it, um, re-invent itself? Also, online retailer Amazon dislikes a book critical of its founder. It now lists the paperback edition of author Brad Stone’s book as unavailable. We explore whether Amazon’s current dominant role in book sales gives it certain responsibilities in terms of evenhandedness.
As Sears Canada today posts its steepest fall in quarterly sales in almost five years, we look at why Canada has proved such a difficult terrain for US businesses. Plus, Unilever is selling its Ragu brand to a Japanese conglomerate, the latest passage for the spaghetti sauce that brought Italian cooking into the mainstream in the U.S. We look at the cultural and culinary history of Italian-American food and its banner sauce (which is in fact a marinara, not a ragout). Also, new census figures say 7 of the 15 fastest growing communities in the U.S. are in Texas – places like Cedar Park, Frisco and San Marcos. But that growth doesn’t necessarily translate to wealth. In San Marcos, the median household income is just $26,000, far less than the state median of $49,000.
Russia and China have struck a big deal that assures Gazprom a very big market in China for many years to come. We explain what Gazprom is and its strategy as a state-owned enrgy giant. Plus, Google may be planning to put ads in unusual places like thermostats, glasses, watches and refrigerators because it hopes to put its operating systems into the places as well. But peopl are already tuning out ads on their devices and TVs. So how hard will it be to ignore an ad when it becomes a bigger- and unavoidable- part of your daily routine? And should the ad industry be worried?
The White House is touting its record of bringing foreign investment to the US. We evaluate the claims and explain the many factors at play when it comes to insourcing and outsourcing. Plus, Dairy Queen comes to Manhattan – what does the arrival of heartland America mean to the island of Duane Read, Carvel and Tad’s? Also, Google is buying Divide, a New York-based startup. Divide does just what it says on the tin: it allows users to separate work and play on their mobile devices. Useful for businesses because they’re able to better secure and control the work side of their employees mobiles. Better for individuals because they can secure their personal data.
The deal has been struck. AT&T announced it will aquire DirecTV for approximately $49 billion. We unpack all the pieces in play in this AT&T-DirecTV deal, and look at the sales job the company will have to do for regulators. Plus, Attorney General Eric Holder charged members of the Chinese military with "economic espionage." We look at the reaction following Monday morning's public announcement. Also, the U.S. is stepping up efforts to help Latin American coffee farmers fight a fungus called "coffee rust" that has been devastating coffee crops throughout the region. Finally, USAID today is announcing a $5 million partnership with Texas A&M's World Coffee Research center to tackle the fungus, which has cost Latin American coffee farmers $1 billion and could drive up coffee prices in the US.
The co-head of Deutsche Bank told his traders to stop being ‘boastful, indiscreet and vulgar’. An interesting admission – but is it a realistic demand? Or is he really just asking them to take it offline? Plus, if you had Red Lobster on one side of the street and Olive Garden on the other, which one would you choose? And if you owned both those casual-dining chains, which would you choose to keep? Darden has decided to sell Red Lobster and revamp their Olive Garden franchise. We investigate. Also, a recent review of sales per square foot of U.S. retailers found Apple at the top of the list. Makes sense given how pricey its items tend to be. Ditto with Tiffany, which came in at No. 3. But what about the Murphy gas station chain, which came in second place? We look at how these stores ended up atop this list, and what show-rooming and online sales have meant for this kind of ranking.