Marketplace from American Public Media is the premier business news show on public radio. Host Kai Ryssdal and the Marketplace team deliver news that matters, from your wallet to Wall Street. Online at Marketplace.org.
Updated: 3 hours 2 min ago
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?
Three big banks reported earnings Tuesday: JP Morgan, Citigroup and Wells Fargo. The results show how “the American bank” has changed since the financial crisis. Next: Projections for an increase in oil demand are at the lowest level since 2009 - according to the International Energy Agency - a reflection of how the global economy is struggling to grow five years since the depths of the financial crisis. Plus: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced he and his wife Priscilla Chan will donate $25 million to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to help fight Ebola. A look at why private money is flowing into the fight, and how different it is from support for natural disaster.
Department store chain, JC Penney has announced that Marvin Ellison will take over as President and CEO. Execs hope that Ellison, who will be the third CEO in less than four years, can improve its flagging fortunes. Plus: The Pentagon issues a report on its plans for dealing with energy and climate change. This isn't about polar bears or politics - the Pentagon is the big spender in alternative energy as a matter of national security. Finally: Another Frenchman has won the Nobel Prize. Jean Tirole has studied regulation and large corporations, and determined that you cannot take a one size fits all approach to regulating industry.
Saudi Arabia is keeping its pumps going despite a glut of oil and falling prices. In the meantime, some U.S. companies could start shutting down rigs if prices fall much more. Plus: the market’s up; the market’s down. You can - and people have - blamed everything from Germany’s slowdown to problems in the Middle East to the weather.
Activist Investor Carl Icahn is going after Apple again, asking the company to buy more shares and more quickly. We ask the question: What does Icahn actually want? Next: A company called GT Advanced is in bankruptcy court Thursday, reeling from the casualties of its relationship with Apple. It had hoped to make glass for the iPhone 6, but Apple went with Corning instead. Finally: Lego announces it won’t renew a long-standing partnership with Shell, after Greenpeace used the toys in an animated video attacking Arctic oil development. Greenpeace, they say, in effect mugged Lego to make its point about the Arctic.
The IMF had stern words for the state of Europe’s banks and the policy tools it’s used — and still using — to ease the continent out of recession. The U.S., whose approach was initially scorned by Europe, is pulling out ahead. Is that good for the global economy? For the US? Plus, unemployment is low, and job openings are now at a 13-year high. But it takes 25 days to fill a vacancy — so what's the disconnect between what the labour market is offering and what workers are looking for? Finally, Western Pennsylvania is ground zero for the battle between industry and citizens over fracking, the oil-and-gas procedure. And now it’s a battleground for the word “fracking,” as oil drillers try to reclaim fracking as a positive term.
Timothy Geithner, former head of the New York Fed is in court today, testifying about the AIG bailout. This is a big deal because the evidence he gives could change the popular narrative about how the crisis was handled and why. Plus, in an attempt to protect the rapidly growing ed-tech business and get out in front of new laws or regulations, several big-name ed-tech companies are signing a “voluntary” privacy promise, vowing not to sell student data or use it for marketing purposes. Thing is...lots of big names (Google, Apple, Pearson) aren’t there. And it’s a pretty thin promise. Finally, David Lynch is bringing back “Twin Peaks” after 25 years… 25 years during which the short-lived TV series became a cult classic among new generations of DVD viewers.
Silicon Valley stalwart Hewlett-Packard is going to divide itself two publicly traded companies. One will focus business technology, including software and services, while the other will sell PCs and printers. HP isn’t the first company (tech or otherwise) to change it’s business model of late. Plus: Reading behind the news that the JP Morgan hack was the tip of a very large iceberg, it turns out that the regulations governing disclosure of hacks to the public are full of holes. They vary from state to state, and in some cases, depending on what information has been compromised, may not require disclosure at all. Finally, as part of its latest deal with the NBA, ESPN will offer online streaming of regular season games live, even for people who aren’t cable or satellite TV subscribers. It’s a major shift in approach. We run down the questions remaining.