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?
Philadelphia plans to stop offering subsidies for school bus service for high school students who live within two miles of their school. We look at the impact of cutting out school buses on families and districts and whether those effects differ between urban and suburban areas. Plus, SoundCloud is going to start putting ads into its content stream. What happens to a company when, in order to find a business model, they have to undermine the very thing that created their customer base in the first place. Also, Dollar Store X rejects Dollar Store Z’s bid for it, preferring Dollar Store’s Y bid, saying it fears the X+Z combo couldn't pass antitrust muster. Could there really be an antitrust issue with “dollar stores”? We investigate.
A new study tries to define superfoods. Hint: it's more than just kale.
Central bankers meet in Jackson Hole this week to discuss, among other things, Central Banks. We look at how the role of the Central Bank has changed and how the job of central banker has changed since the Recession. Plus, former Obama campaign operative David Plouffe has joined Uber as a vice president and strategist. Is Plouffe’s move just about the big money of a hightech startup? Or is there an affinity between tech and the Democratic Party that he and other Dems are trying to harness? Also, did you know that the NFL doesn't pay musicians for performing at the Super Bowl? Well, turns out now the NFL wants major artists such as Coldplay, Rihanna, and Katy Perry, the three finalists for next year's show, to pay them to perform at the halftime show. Will artists play ball? We look at the economics of halftime shows.
Lots of police departments in the U.S. have tear gas, which they throw at disorderly civilians. But where does that tear gas come from? And how big a business is it for the companies that produce it? Plus, there’s word this week that Chinese hackers stole records of 4.5 million patients from computers at Community Health systems, one of the largest hospital networks in the Southeast. Healthcare records contain social security numbers, birth dates, addresses - a goldmine of information for identity thieves. Which is likely to make them a big fat target for future hacks. Will they be ready? Many experts say no.
There's a dollar store bidding war going on out there. We report on the extent of the competition in the market, and how the stores involved differentiate themselves. Plus, the Fed is paying close attention to the number of part time workers, as it looks like the number of part-time workers has increased after reaching a five-year low. We look at why this has happened, and ask if it’s something we should be worried about. Also, every year the federal government sets the amount its employees may spend per day when they travel. The per diems for fiscal 2015? $83 for lodging and $46 for meals and other expenses. The standard is also followed by federal contractors and some private businesses. What impact do these standards have on hotels and other businesses that depend on these travelers?
Starbucks changes some of its computer-driven scheduling policies, and we use it as a way to explain the growing phenomenon of using algorithms and big companies to schedule employes to manage labor costs — and the (negative) consequences for them — lost hours, flexibility, control. Plus, Coke is acquiring a 17 percent stake in Monster Beverage for just over $2 billion. The energy drink business is booming and the soda business — not so much. So Coke wants an energy jolt from Monster... but to get it, it's exchanging its own energy brands for Monster’s non-energy drinks. We use Coke to look at swaps. What they are, why they’re done and whether they work. Also, the 2014 United States Open Miniature Golf Tournament that begins in Erie, Pa., today. Prizes are small, but apparently there’s enough action that it can sustain a pro circuit, Queena Kim reports.
Among the many striking images from the protests in Ferguson, Missouri, are those of local and state police using military-style weapons and gear. But it’s not unique to this St. Louis suburb. It’s part of a trend among local law enforcement since the 1990’s. We explain what’s behind it. Plus, Walmart has invited dozens of small and medium sized companies to a junket in Denver. It wants to convince them to do business with the retailer. But small firms are often reluctant to get into bed with Wal-Mart, as the retailer’s demands are often so overwhelming that they can end up smothering its smaller partners. Also, German car maker Daimler is offering its staff the option of turning off email while on vacation. All employees can now switch their mailbox off altogether, have all messages deleted, and send an auto-reply offering an alternative contact. Will employees return to work refreshed from a break with no office-related hassles? Are they more productive if they don’t have to wade through thousands of emails when they get back? Or will they stress out over what they missed?