Business news

PODCAST: Mad Men ends

May 14, 2015
David Brancaccio

First up, more on the news that college enrollment in the U.S. is down 2 percent from last year. Plus, a growing number cities are taking banking regulation into their own hands—requiring the banks they work with to pass muster as "socially responsible." That means investing in low-income areas, helping distressed homeowners and avoiding predatory lending practices. And with Mad Men ending this Sunday, AMC is rolling out a marathon ... and an interesting ad strategy.


It's a Mad Mad Men world for AMC

May 14, 2015
Nova Safo

AMC is sending off its series "Mad Men" in style. On Wednesday night, the network started a marathon of all episodes of the show, running in order, leading up to the series finale Sunday night.

During the finale, AMC will also turn off programming at its sister networks, including IFC and BBC America, pointing audiences to the "Mad Men" finale.

The major promotional push for the show is also a strategic business move for AMC.

Food companies face water risk

May 13, 2015
water faucet
Jenn Durfey / flickr


America’s biggest food production companies face a growing threat of water scarcity, according to a new report from Ceres, an environmental sustainability group.

The report cites pollution as one of the primary culprits.

How human behavior impacts the economy

May 13, 2015
Kai Ryssdal

The problem with many macroeconomic models is that they make predictions that don't account for human behavior. And, as many of us may know, human beings are not always logical.

"In the 1940s, economics started getting highly mathematical," says Richard H. Thaler, founding father of behavioral economics and a professor at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. "It was basically because economists weren’t smart enough to write down models of real behavior, that they started writing down models of highly rational behavior – and they kind of forgot about humans."

Marketplace for Wednesday, May 13, 2015

May 13, 2015

PODCAST: Uber loans

May 13, 2015
David Brancaccio

On top of Macy's reporting disappointing profits Wednesday, there's news that retail sales last month were flat. More on that. Plus, we'll talk about Facebook luring publishing companies into putting their content directly onto the social media site. And Uber has a finance program for potential drivers with bad credit. Getting more drivers on the road means more money for Uber. But those loans can have high interest rates and some drivers are struggling to make the payments. 


A look at Macy's bottom line ahead of a new strategy

May 13, 2015
Annie Baxter

Macy's reported disappointing earnings Wednesday morning, with sales down .7 percent from last year to $6.2 billion.

In an attempt to improve those numbers, the company will be trying a new growth strategy. This fall, it will open four discount stores in New York City called Macy’s Offstage.

Other big retailers like Saks Fifth Avenue, Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus have already established themselves in the discount game and are seeing good results from it.

Pumping gas
File Photo / KBIA


  Drivers who have seen a steady rise in the price of gasoline can relax: They will almost certainly be paying far less for gas this summer than they have in at least six years.

The Energy Department said Tuesday that it expects the price of gasoline to average $2.55 between April and September, which would be the lowest since 2009. Over the course of the year, a typical U.S household could save $675 in gasoline prices compared to last year.

In the NBA, 'Hack-a-Shaq' is fouling ratings, too

May 12, 2015
Gigi Douban

As the NBA moves through its playoffs, the league is looking at the widely debated strategy known as 'Hack-a-Shaq,' named after the notoriously bad free-shooter Shaquille O'Neal.

Most recently, it's Hack-a-Jordan or Hack-a-DeAndre, for LA Clippers center DeAndre Jordan. Amazing player, and terrible at free throws. Hack-a-Shaq, or hack-a-whomever, is when a team targets the opposition's worst free-throw shooter, pounding him with fouls. He has to take the free throw, he misses, the other team gets the ball.

Re-thinking the boring bond

May 12, 2015
Tracey Samuelson

The usually boring bond market has been distinctly un-boring of late. What began in German bonds a couple of weeks ago has arrived at the U.S. Treasury market.

German rates have climbed about half a percent, “which is a big move in bond world,” says Brian Rehling, co-head of global fixed income strategy at the Wells Fargo Investment Institute. “That’s really what’s moved U.S. rates higher.”

The yield on the 10-year Treasury on Tuesday climbed to its highest level since late November before settling back down slightly, to 2.26 percent.

Marketplace for Tuesday, May 12, 2015

May 12, 2015

On YouTube, it's always late night

May 12, 2015
Tony Wagner

Late night TV is increasingly not on TV, or even on at night. In the past year nearly every major player — CBS, NBC, Comedy Central — have seen host shake-ups, with more on the way. HBO and Netflix are joining the fray and, as the New York Times points out, competition is stiffer as more viewers aren't bothering to stay up and watch anymore.

PODCAST: The presidential library

May 12, 2015
David Brancaccio

Interest rates are jumping on what is a volatile day for the bond market. More on that. Plus, the announcement that Fox is cancelling American Idol comes right before the first part of the season finale, airing tomorrow. We look at the show which has been on air 13 years and was once a ratings juggernaut, an early talent show setting the mold for others, but which has now lost its luster.

You've got acquisition

May 11, 2015
Tony Wagner and Tobin Low

$4.4 billion

That's the amount that Verizon Communications will pay to acquire AOL in an all-cash deal announced Tuesday. The move comes as Verizon attempts to bolster its ability to produce and distribute video content.

800,000 visitors

What can a board member do for a high-value startup?

May 11, 2015
Nishat Kurwa

When the anonymous sharing app Secret shut down recently after taking around $35 million in investment in its first year, it sparked an open conversation that touched on current frothy conditions in Silicon Valley, where high financing rounds and valuations have been

Marketplace for Friday, May 8, 2015

May 8, 2015

In next week's show, we're talking about transactions.

Have you ever looked at a bill or a receipt and thought, "15 cents for what? What's a landing fee? A $2.95 convenience fee ... why?"

We're putting together a collection of crazy transaction fees or charges, and we want yours. 

Marketplace for Thursday, May 7, 2015

May 7, 2015
Jay Nixon at State of the State Address 2010
File Photo / KBIA

Service and technology companies based in Missouri will have the option of calculating their taxes in a way that supporters of the measure say avoids double taxation.

Wlodi / Flickr

Professional video gaming has emerged as a booming industry since the early 2000s.  According to E-Sports statistics, professional video gamers have won over 125 million dollars in tournament prize money since 1998 and over 12 million dollars this year alone.  Others have found high-paying careers in video game livestreaming and organizing tournaments. 

Connor Hall is a former professional video gamer from St. Louis.  He said that even as a kid he dreamt of playing video games as a profession.  His dream came true in high school, and Hall said he enjoyed every minute of it.

Marketplace for Wednesday, May 6, 2015

May 6, 2015

Drafting a CEO dream team

May 6, 2015
Gina Delvac and Robert Garrova

We touch on fantasy sport every now and then, but today something just a little bit different. Instead of drafting his favorite actual players, comedian Greg Proops has put together his ideal business team for us — a CEO dream team, if you will:

City of Columbia Rejects Student Housing Proposal

May 5, 2015
columbia city hall
File Photo / KBIA

  The Columbia City Council rejected a proposal for a luxury student housing project outside campus at its meeting on Monday, May 5. The project, rejected by a 6-1 vote, would add around 850 beds of luxury student housing to the east side of town near Highway 63 and Stadium Boulevard.

The New York-based developer Park 7 Group presented the plan, saying it was necessary to address the increasing amount of students enrolling to MU in recent years.

Marketplace for Tuesday, May 5, 2015

May 5, 2015
File / KBIA

The state budget director says Missouri's revenues continue to increase compared with last year's.

Budget Director Linda Luebbering on Monday reported revenues have grown 7.7 percent this fiscal year. That's far over Gov. Jay Nixon's estimate of 4.6 percent.

Marketplace for Monday, May 4, 2015

May 4, 2015

Last week, we asked you about what you're chasing in your own financial lives. For some people, it was a new job, or a promotion. Others are looking for better ways to save, or faster ways to retire.