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.
There are some good economic reasons no one created an Ebola vaccine – yet. Now multiple companies, including Johnson & Johnson, are racing to produce a cure. The business rationale changed in part due to the size of the outbreak itself, but also an increasingly interested market and potential payday. Plus: New regulations aimed at preventing another housing crisis have been finalized, only they don't include a down payment requirement. Financial experts think homeowners should put down 20 percent to be safe, but where did that number come from in the first place? Also: Seemingly out of nowhere in 1979, the Hunt brothers attempted to corner the silver market, pushing up prices almost 1,000 percent as they bought rights to nearly half of the silver in the open market. But when the commodities markets responded by changing the rules for margin trading, they went bust. Following the death of Nelson Bunker Hunt on Tuesday, Oct. 21, we look at why this strange bubble can't really happen again.
The Chinese economy grew at its slowest pace in five years during the third quarter. A cloudy forecast across the pond raises the question of if economic stalling in Europe or China is the greater threat to the U.S. economy. Next: In today's cheap fast-food market, where does McDonald's fit in? The company's third-quarter sales were worse than expected, with any number of reasons to blame, including food supplier controversies, service and lower pricing from competitors. Plus: Airbag manufacturer Takata does business with Toyota, Honda, Nissan and BMW, just to name a few. The recent recall of airbags in several makes of cars is complicated by the widespread supply to so many different manufacturers.
IBM is paying someone $1.5 billion to buy its chipmaker division. Sometimes it’s more cost effective to pay someone to take a division off your hands than to wind it down yourself. Plus, The drop in oil prices looks like a sustained drop - which amounts to a 20 percent discount on one of the global economy’s chief drivers. This is a dramatic economic development with many potential consequences.
50% of Americans are either “very concerned” or “somewhat concerned” they will contract Ebola, a study says. How is corporate America reacting? Plus, as the midterm elections approach, tech giant Google has spent $1.43 million on political donations this year, surpassing spending by Goldman Sachs, a bank well-known for its political links. We explore why Google is spending the money and where it’s going. Finally, Ron Klain is the new Ebola Czar. We explain the ultimate purpose of the job and why it’s better to be a Czar than a real government official.
The market continued its downward trajectory Thursday with an overabundance of choices as to why: blame Ebola, blame earnings or even blame Netflix. Some economists believe this is only the beginning as the current volatility affects investors, business and consumers. Next: Our health care system is built around specialty care. As Ebola patients are sent across the country for treatment, hospitals look at what it takes to specialize in treating the disease given the need for expert training. Finally: Amazon announced Thursday plans to hire 80,000 seasonal workers for the company's distribution centers, a 14 percent increase from last year. Some holiday hires move up to full-time jobs, but what happens to those who don't?
Texas Health Presbyterian is a community hospital up against Ebola, and the CDC now says every hospital in the U.S. should be prepared for an Ebola patient. With 5,000 community hospitals in the nation, plenty of training, time and resources are needed to fight the virus. Next: Retail sales dropped down this month, but still did better than expected. With consumer behavior changing during the last decade, do the metrics used to judge and predict consumer spending work anymore? Plus: The NBA is experimenting this Sunday with the pre-season game between the Boston Celtics and Brooklyn Nets. Game time will be four minutes shorter than usual, but could less mean more?