Business

Planet Money
5:22 pm
Tue July 24, 2012

Apple Just Made $9 Billion (And Investors Are Mad)

Daniel Hennemand (photogestion) Flickr

Originally published on Thu July 26, 2012 8:30 am

Apple reported its financial results for the quarter ended June 30, and depending how you look at it, they're either amazing or disappointing.

The company says it made $8.8 billion in profits over the course of three months. That's more than enough to buy every share of Alcoa, the global aluminum giant, which was worth just under $8.6 billion when the stock market closed this afternoon.

Read more
Business
4:14 pm
Tue July 24, 2012

Ford's Little Engine That Could Challenge Hybrids

The 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show in Germany featured Ford Motor Co.'s new three-cylinder EcoBoost engine, which will hit the U.S. market next year.
Courtesy of Ford Motor Co.

Originally published on Wed July 25, 2012 7:37 am

Ford Motor Co. intends to prove that good things come in small packages — really small packages. The company has taken engine downsizing to a new level with its new three-cylinder EcoBoost engine, which has been introduced in Europe and is set to hit the U.S. market next year.

The EcoBoost offers more power than many conventional four-cylinder engines, with fuel economy numbers a hybrid could envy. Early fans are calling it a modern "little engine that could," and Ford is betting that American customers are ready to embrace a three-cylinder engine.

Read more
U.S.
4:14 pm
Tue July 24, 2012

Offshore Jobs Play Role In Campaigns And Economy

Originally published on Wed July 25, 2012 3:46 pm

President Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney have been trading attacks over the issue of American jobs being moved overseas.

The president has pounded Romney for the investments made by his former firm Bain Capital in the 1990s. Not to be outdone, the Romney campaign has suggested most of the money from the president's stimulus program went to create jobs overseas.

Read more
All Tech Considered
3:36 pm
Tue July 24, 2012

Want Free Wi-Fi In New York? Get Near A Pay Phone

A phone booth serves as a free Wi-Fi hot spot in New York City's Columbus Circle.
Anna Solo

Originally published on Wed July 25, 2012 11:26 am

Mark Thomas is using a pay phone, but he isn't paying. And physically, he's not even that close to the phone.

He's sitting on a bench on the street in Astoria, Queens, checking email on his netbook. It's grabbing an Internet signal from a military-grade antenna on top of a pay phone down the block.

"It's not the speediest but you can't complain about free, right?" Thomas says.

Read more
The Two-Way
3:24 pm
Tue July 24, 2012

Wrong Number: Apple Disappoints Market Amid Sluggish iPhone Sales

Apple reported lower-than-expected third-quarter revenues, numbers partly blamed on slower iPhone sales.
Paul Sakuma AP

Originally published on Wed July 25, 2012 4:41 am

A spike in iPad demand wasn't enough to offset slower iPhone sales in the third quarter as Apple Inc. reported lower-than-expected revenues, sending its after-hours stock price on a 5 percent dive.

The company announced third-quarter revenue of $35 billion, or $9.32 per share; earlier, Bloomberg had projected $37.22 billion, or 10.37 per share.

Read more
Planet Money
2:13 pm
Tue July 24, 2012

Episode #389: Handling Other People's Money

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney.
J.D. Pooley Getty Images

Originally published on Thu July 26, 2012 10:25 am

  • Listen to the Episode

For today's show, we've collected three Planet Money radio stories never before heard on the show. All of them deal with people who handle other people's money — a politician's, a workforce's, and even a continent's:

Just How Blind Are Blind Trusts, Anyway?: With questions swirling about Mitt Romney's investments, a look at how blind trusts really work.

Read more
Planet Money
2:05 pm
Tue July 24, 2012

NYT Excerpt: Offshore Banking In Belize

Sunset in Belize, a popular offshore haven for businesses.
halseike Flickr

This week in The New York Times Magazine, Adam Davidson opens a hard-to-trace offshore company in Belize, which turns out to be a piece of cake:

Read more
Planet Money
8:56 am
Tue July 24, 2012

How Lego Almost Lost It, Doing Everything Right

A visitor looks at artist Nathan Sawaya's Lego sculpture "T-Rax" at "The Art of the Brick" exhibition in Taiwan earlier this month.
Chiang Ying-ying AP

Originally published on Tue July 24, 2012 10:16 am

Lego Group, maker of those iconic plastic building blocks, inspires an almost fanatical following in some quarters. But as a business, it turns out, it came close to going bust by following the hot advice of the day — and then recovered by turning to a more prosaic playbook.

Read more
Business
7:08 am
Tue July 24, 2012

'News Of The World' Editors Charged In Hacking

Originally published on Wed July 25, 2012 8:30 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

We've been following some big developments today in the News of the World phone-hacking scandal in Britain. Prosecutors are charging eight people - including a former top aide to Prime Minister David Cameron - and a woman who was Rupert Murdoch's top lieutenant. NPR's Philip Reeves reports.

Read more
Business
4:48 am
Tue July 24, 2012

'Dark Knight Rises' Tops Weekend Box Office

Originally published on Wed July 25, 2012 8:30 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

NPR's business news starts with a box office high.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

INSKEEP: The new Batman movie "Dark Knight Rises" set a box office record over the past weekend. There were questions, of course, about how much money it would bring in after Friday's shooting in Colorado in a theater where the movie was showing.

NPR's Mandalit del Barco has more.

Read more
Business
4:48 am
Tue July 24, 2012

Peet's Coffee Sold For Narly $1 Billion

Originally published on Wed July 25, 2012 8:30 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And today's last word in business is for Peet's sake.

(SOUNDBITE OF COFFEE GRINDER)

INSKEEP: And that's the sound of a coffee grinder.

(SOUNDBITE OF COFFEE GRINDER)

INSKEEP: Really cranking up, there. We have to go along way to get that sound. Actually, it's the sound of a coffee grinder inside NPR. It's a very welcomed sound at MORNING EDITION.

Read more
Business
4:48 am
Tue July 24, 2012

At Silicon Valley Boot Camp, Perfecting The Pitch

Originally published on Wed July 25, 2012 12:32 pm

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And let's go next to Silicon Valley, California, with a program called NewME, or New Media Entrepreneurship. It's a boot camp to encourage women and African-Americans - two groups that are dramatically underrepresented among technology entrepreneurs. We've been hearing about it this week. Seven participants from across the country are sharing a house in San Francisco. They're getting coached on their business plans, and as Amy Standen of member station KQED reports, they're attempting to perfect the art of the pitch.

Read more
U.S.
2:45 am
Tue July 24, 2012

Despite Crop Insurance, Drought Still Stings Farmers

Corn plants dry in a drought-stricken farm field on July 17 near Fritchton, Ind. The corn and soybean belt in the middle of the nation is experiencing one of the worst droughts in more than five decades.
Scott Olson Getty Images

Originally published on Wed July 25, 2012 8:30 am

Stop by most any unirrigated farm across the lower Midwest and you'll see crops in distress. Midwestern corn and soybean farmers are taking a beating during the recent drought, but it's not likely to drive many out of business.

Most of those farmers carry terrific insurance, and the worse the drought becomes, the more individual farmers will be paid for their lost crops. The federal government picks up most of the cost of the crop insurance program, and this year that bill is going to be a whopper.

Read more
Technology
2:33 pm
Mon July 23, 2012

Tech Week Ahead: A Look At Quarterly Reports

Originally published on Mon July 23, 2012 3:19 pm

Robert Siegel looks ahead to the week's tech news with Steve Henn. They cover the quarterly reports from the big tech companies.

The Salt
1:55 pm
Mon July 23, 2012

Ordering Food Online? That'll Be More Calories, Cost And Complexity

Ordering food online can affect your waistline and your wallet more than traditional methods.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Mon July 23, 2012 2:51 pm

Think about it — when you order something online, you avoid long lines, there are infinite options at your fingertips, and no one can see your face. So it comes as little surprise, then, when people order food online, they might go a little overboard.

Actually, sometimes a lot overboard.

Read more
Planet Money
1:49 pm
Mon July 23, 2012

Why Public Pensions Are About To Look Less Healthy

Lam Thuy Vo / NPR

Originally published on Tue July 24, 2012 3:26 pm

On Friday, Planet Money's Caitlin Kenney told Morning Edition listeners how public pension plans are going to look a lot less healthy very soon. A new study shows just how bad they might look, even as it offers some caveats to its own results.

Read more
Planet Money
8:51 am
Mon July 23, 2012

Olympic Economics, The Pre-Games Show

The 2012 Olympic Games in London are expected to cost £9.3 billion ($14.5 billion).
FABRICE COFFRINI AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue July 24, 2012 9:35 am

The 2012 Summer Olympics in London starts in four days with the carefully choreographed opening ceremony. But a related spectator sport is already well underway: Dissecting the economic impact of the games.

A show we did in February looked at how big an economic boost cities really get from hosting the Superbowl, and much of the same analysis is being applied to this year's games.

Read more
The Two-Way
8:27 am
Mon July 23, 2012

Stocks Are Sliding On Fears About Europe, Other Worries

Originally published on Mon July 23, 2012 1:16 pm

Stocks fell sharply on Wall Street this morning as traders reacted to word that Europe's debt crisis may be deepening and that China's economy may slow, Bloomberg News says.

The Dow Jones industrial average was down more than 200 points, or a little less than 2 percent, after an hour of trading. Other indices were also off.

Read more
Business
6:26 am
Mon July 23, 2012

News In Spain, Greece Sends European Stocks Diving

Originally published on Tue July 24, 2012 12:52 pm

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Concern about Spanish debt is at the top of NPR's business news.

Read more
Business
6:26 am
Mon July 23, 2012

Beer Trade Group Sizes Up Rival Beverages

Originally published on Tue July 24, 2012 12:52 pm

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And today's last word in business is: drink more beer, please.

That's the message of the Beer Institute. The institute will be meeting this week in New York City; people there trying to figure out how to get you to drink a little more beer. The industry trade group includes representatives from Anheuser-Busch and MillerCoors. And their meeting comes with some stress in the beer world. Beer shipment volumes have been down for three straight years, through 2011.

Read more
Sports
4:43 am
Mon July 23, 2012

Olympic Athletes Go For Gold, And Green

Originally published on Tue July 24, 2012 12:52 pm

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

OK. The athletes gathering in London for the opening of the Olympics are after gold, and also after green. Forbes estimates that sponsorships will earn swimmer Ryan Lochte almost $2 million. And even athletes who are not superstars can pick up cash. Here's Ilya Marritz of member station WNYC.

ILYA MARRITZ, BYLINE: Lashinda Demus is a 29-year-old mother of twins living in Los Angeles, and currently, she's the fastest 400 meter woman hurdler in the world. Also, she's promoting Greek yogurt.

(SOUNDBITE OF ADVERTISEMENT)

Read more
Business
4:39 am
Mon July 23, 2012

Rifts Emerge Amid 'Frac Sand' Rush In Wisconsin

Originally published on Tue July 24, 2012 12:52 pm

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

In this country, there's an ingredient that's key to the success of new oil and gas technologies. That crucial ingredient is ordinary and plentiful, but only found in a few places and obtaining it almost always causes friction.

From Wisconsin, Laurie Sterns dent us this report.

Read more
U.S.
4:39 am
Mon July 23, 2012

Job, Tuition Woes A Drain On Law Schools

Originally published on Tue July 24, 2012 12:52 pm

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

We imagine high-powered lawyers making plenty of money, and surely many do, but the American Bar Association has revealed a bit of a secret. A huge number of new law school graduates cannot find jobs as lawyers. The weak job outlook, coupled with high tuition, is prompting many students to think twice about law school. Enrollments are falling. NPR's Wendy Kaufman reports.

Read more
Technology
3:14 am
Mon July 23, 2012

Silicon Valley Boot Camp Aims To Boost Diversity

As part of the New Media Entrepreneurship camp, participants paid a visit to Google.
Joshua Cassidy KQED

Originally published on Wed July 25, 2012 12:30 pm

If there is a founding ethos in the world of high-tech startups, it's this: The idea is everything. Facebook's initial public offering might have seemed like the perfect illustration. A simple concept, conceived by a college student, became a $100 billion empire in just 8 years.

Read more
Business
2:22 pm
Fri July 20, 2012

Romney's 1040: Tax Terms An Accountant Would Love

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Fri July 20, 2012 3:17 pm

For weeks, Democrats have been trying to call voters' attention to the financial dealings of Mitt Romney, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee.

Supporters of President Obama, the Democratic Party's candidate, have been suggesting that Romney has exploited tax shelters and offshore accounts to build and protect his wealth in ways that average taxpayers would never be able to do.

They are demanding Romney release many years of tax returns.

Read more
Planet Money
2:11 pm
Fri July 20, 2012

Just How Blind Are Blind Trusts, Anyway?

J.D. Pooley Getty Images

Originally published on Mon July 23, 2012 8:32 am

As Mitt Romney has faced questions about his investments and tax returns, the likely Republican presidential nominee has responded with two words of explanation: blind trust.

Romney keeps most of his wealth in a blind trust designed to prevent him from knowing exactly where his money is and what it's doing. It's a long tradition for presidents and candidates, though anyone can set one up if he wants to.

But it turns out that not all blind trusts are equally blind. Some are cast into complete and utter darkness. Others are more nearsighted.

Read more
Planet Money
12:02 pm
Fri July 20, 2012

Episode 388: Putting A Price-Tag On Your Descendants

Waves pound a sea wall in Pacifica, Calif., during a storm in 2010. Small assumptions can make a big difference when putting a price-tag on future disasters.
Paul Sakuma AP

Originally published on Mon July 23, 2012 8:32 am

  • Listen to the Episode

Given a choice between $50 now and $100 in a month, many people would take the money now. But offered $50 in a year, or $100 in 13 months, they'd wait the extra month to double their money.

The lesson: People have a "present bias," says Frank Partnoy, a professor of law and finance at the University of San Diego. "So people have more impatience in a one-month time period than they do in a one-year time period."

Read more
Planet Money
10:13 am
Fri July 20, 2012

Ni Hao, Siri! Apple Woos Asia, In Two Charts

Lam Thuy Vo / NPR

In June, Apple announced that the iPhone's virtual personal assistant, Siri, had learned Chinese. The smartphone's operating system will feature Chinese search engine Baidu, plus popular video sites like Youku. Today the newest iPad arrives in China.

Read more
Business
2:39 am
Fri July 20, 2012

GM Retirees Face Friday Pension Deadline

Originally published on Fri July 20, 2012 12:42 pm

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

You've got to escape from your Escape.

Now, today is an important day for more than 40,000 salaried retirees of General Motors. They're facing a major financial decision. This evening marks the deadline for accepting a pension buyout.

Michigan Radio's Tracy Samilton explains.

TRACY SAMILTON, BYLINE: The GM retirees have two choices: either take a lump-sum payment - which can range from 400,000 to $800,000 - or their pensions will be shifted from GM's books to the private insurance company Prudential.

Read more
Economy
2:39 am
Fri July 20, 2012

Tough Austerity Plan Incites Spanish Protesters

Originally published on Fri July 20, 2012 12:42 pm

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

In Spain, hundreds of thousands demonstrated in scores of cities yesterday, protesting austerity measures meant to pull the government out of the red. Sales tax is going up, and civil servants are taking pay cuts. All this as Europe readies a bailout of Spain of up to $125 billion.

Lauren Frayer reports from Madrid.

(SOUNDBITE OF CHANTING)

LAUREN FRAYER, BYLINE: About 100,000 Spaniards flooded Madrid's center once the sun went down on another 100-degree day.

(SOUNDBITE OF AIR CANNONS)

Read more

Pages