Business news

How volatile is the market? Let's consult the VIX

Aug 26, 2015
Kai Ryssdal

The Volatility Index (VIX) measures whether or not there’s too much fear or optimism in the markets. Robert Whaley, father of the VIX, says at the “beginning of the week it was about at a level of 12, at the end of the week it was at 28. That was the biggest percentage increase the VIX has ever had in its entire history.”

Currently, the VIX is around 34 percent. But what exactly does that mean? “It’s a measure of the volatility you expect over the next 30 days,” Whaley says. He adds that the VIX is usually around 20 percent.

No worries on China's streets

Aug 26, 2015
Kai Ryssdal, Rob Schmitz and Hayley Hershman

The Yuan devaluation and China’s market crash has caused global chaos. But Rob Schmitz, Marketplace’s China correspondent in Shanghai, says people on the street in China really aren’t that worried. A Sichuan restaurant owner told Schmitz “that business is really good.”

“Most importantly [China’s] got a growing economy," Schmitz says. "We've seen the headlines this week about China’s market crash ... [but] China’s economy is continuing to grow at around 6 or 7 percent, faster than nearly every other economy in the world.”

No, the economy is not like a roller coaster

Aug 26, 2015
Sam Weiner

When the market goes wild, people say the economy is like a roller coaster. And, frankly, I am sick and tired of this disgusting comparison. Someone has got to stick up for the inventor of roller coasters, my grandfather, Dr. Johann T. Rollercoaster.

And yes, laugh at his name if you must. It was changed at Ellis Island from the original Rollercoasterstein.

Marketplace for Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Aug 26, 2015

What we've learned about the market's safety nets; Apple's "Sinodependency"; and stopping the roller coaster metaphor in its tracks.

PODCAST: Wall Street's rusty plumbing

Aug 26, 2015
David Brancaccio

Stocks are rallying early in the day, but after yesterday's last-minute drop, we try and figure out what we're in for. Then: all the recent volatility is exposing some issues with the way the markets are handling exchange traded funds. Finally: we look at the winners and losers in Corinthian College's bankruptcy plan.

Abercrombie bets future earnings on a turnaround

Aug 26, 2015
Andy Uhler

Abercrombie & Fitch is reporting second quarter earnings just a week after its stock hit a more than six-year low, and the retailer announced it is restructuring its front office by bringing in a batch of new designers and executives to reinvent the brand.

Freakonomics and end-of-life health care

Aug 25, 2015
Kai Ryssdal and Stephen Dubner

Stephen Dubner admits that he and the team behind Freakonomics Radio sometimes explore ideas most sane people would leave untouched. This time, Dubner decided to look at the economics of end-of-life health care.

It’s certainly a touchy subject, but also one that most families will have to face at some time in their lives.

It's a contraction, not another Great Recession

Aug 25, 2015
Mitchell Hartman

U.S. financial markets rallied through most of the Tuesday, then fell back in the final hour of trading to close with another day of solid losses.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 204 points, 1.3 percent, to close at 15,666. The Standard & Poor's 500 index dropped 25 points, 1.3 percent, to close at 1867. The Nasdaq fell 19 points, 0.44 percent, to close at 4506. The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury bond rose to 2.07 percent.

Marketplace for Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Aug 25, 2015

No, it's not 2008; China's stock market has a long way to go; and the tough business of steel.

You have to give him a hand

Aug 25, 2015
Carrie Barber

2 days

That's the amount of time it takes to make parts for an award-winning robotic hand on a 3-D printer, the BBC reports. Joel Gibbard of Open Bionics says he can use a sensor on his tablet to size an amputee in minutes, print the parts in about 40 hours and fit them together in two hours. The prototype earned Gibbard the James Dyson engineering award, which carries a $3,500 prize and the chance to win the $45,000 international title.

10 percent

PODCAST: Looking for a rebound

Aug 25, 2015
Noel King

China tries to take control of its economy, looking for a rebound after Black Monday, and how Chicago's "zombie homes" got that way. 

Second Ward Councilman and co-chair for the Mayor’s Task Force on Community Violence Michael Trapp hopes that $150,000 approved by the Columbia City Council for the 2016 fiscal year budget will go towards the creation of a violence interruption program for the city.

One of the Missouri House's budget writers is warning Gov. Jay Nixon to change his stance on pursuing funding for a new NFL stadium without a vote of the people.

Rep. Scott Fitzpatrick, R-Shell Knob, is vice chair of the House select committee on the state budget. In a letter to Nixon, a Democrat, he said he won't support any budget bill next year that includes funding for debt service on bonds issued for a new NFL stadium in St. Louis.

Market Update: Is it a correction?

Aug 25, 2015
Paddy Hirsch

Here's another way the markets are not like the real world: in the markets, the B word is worse than the C word. So much worse!

C is for Correction, a sharp drop in prices, with a defined ending and a recovery.

B, on the other hand, is for bear market, a long-term drop, with no obvious end.

Here's a short video explaining the difference: 

Housing market is one upbeat note right now

Aug 25, 2015
Mitchell Hartman

A key asset class for many American households that is not suffering from a crisis of investor confidence and wild volatility is the U.S. housing market.

After the recession, housing was the missing leg of the recovery, beset by depressed prices, extremely tight credit, millions of homeowners underwater and a large percentage of properties in default, foreclosure or bank-owned. Home construction ground to a halt. 

Airing on Tuesday, August 25, 2015:  The latest on China's move to cut interest rates to quell the market plunge. As stocks tumble, there is one number that’s going up — the price of your home. Plus, with Best Buy's earnings report, we look at its turnaround campaign, which includes moving to private-label electronics. 

Marketplace Tech for Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Aug 25, 2015

Airing on Tuesday, August 25, 2015: On today's show, how swings in the stock market impact startups and investors. Also, a look at how Windows 95 compares to Windows 10 on the day of the operating system's 20th birthday. 

Kai Ryssdal

You've heard by now that the stock market took a pretty steep downturn, but not everyone is concerned. Click below to hear our survey of listeners from across the country to see how they're feeling about all the chaos:

Joke stealing is no laughing matter

Aug 24, 2015
Kai Ryssdal and Adrienne Hill

When the self-titled internet comedian the Fat Jewish, aka Josh Ostrovsky, got picked up by a talent agency, people took note.

“This guy basically built a career around aggregating/stealing, depending on how you want to call it, other people’s content … often without attribution,” says Marketplace's Adriene Hill. "The news that he got picked up by CAA sort of made everybody’s head explode a little bit.”

The larger issue around this is whether or not jokes fall under copyright law.

As 911 outages increase, FCC considers new rules

Aug 24, 2015
Nova Safo

Imagine this scenario: You have an emergency. You pick up the phone and dial 911. And no one answers.

It seems unthinkable. But a year ago, more than 6,600 emergency calls went unanswered in an outage that affected 11 million people. Officials say there were no deaths as a result.

The cause of the outage was a software glitch. And outages like it are happening more often, as the nation's 911 system transitions from analog to digital.

Marketplace for Monday, August 24, 2015

Aug 24, 2015

OK, let's just step back a minute and break this all down. We've got China correspondent Rob Schmitz explaining the Shanghai meltdown; Scott Tong fills us in on the end of the commodities producers' party; and Sabri Ben-Achour tells us how vulnerable the U.S. really is. 

Today, burritos. Tomorrow, a company car?

Aug 24, 2015
Kim Adams

Chipotle announced today it’s going on a hiring spree, planning to hire 4,000 people in just one day next month.

The burrito maker is pitching the jobs as the commencement of an entire career, instead of a short-term gig. Chipotle needs to make those jobs sound attractive because a tight labor market means there’s a lot of competition for restaurant workers right now.

The bright side of the dark side

Aug 24, 2015
Carrie Barber


Tweeting the market plunge

Aug 24, 2015
Marketplace staff

A dip in Chinese stocks on Monday has sent other world markets sliding, with the Dow Jones falling more than 1,000 points at its open.

China’s main index dropped 8.5 percent — its biggest one-day drop since 2007 — in the wake of concerns about a slowdown in the country’s economy.

Here's a brief Twitter history of Monday's chaotic morning and afternoon:

Vacant homes create opportunity for Chicago operators

Aug 24, 2015
Dan Weissmann

In early July, Chicago police officers arrested four men for taking over 14 vacant foreclosed homes — living in some and renting out the rest — mostly in prosperous neighborhoods. Seven years after the housing market crashed, there are still enough vacant homes to provide opportunities for this kind of creativity.

Marketplace Tech for Monday, August 24, 2015

Aug 24, 2015

Airing on Monday,  August 24, 2015: On today's show, we'll talk about how Best Buy's doing;  how to defend autonomous cars from hackers; and why Twitter should let you delete all your old tweets.

Entrepreneur starts over in Highland Park

Aug 21, 2015
Karen Clark

Carlos Valdez, 26, has spent his life in the same northeast Los Angeles neighborhood.

“I'm Highland Park for life,” he says. “Born and raised.”

For most of that time, his home has been the same apartment unit where his mother and grandfather also once lived. The thing he loves most about it?

“To be honest? It’s the parrots,” he says. The wild parrots of Highland Park, in the tree below the apartment’s window.

In oil glut, fewer oil rigs mean less work

Aug 21, 2015
Todd Melby

The collapse of global oil prices is helping to show stock markets the way down. Over the last year, the industry that's taken the biggest hit is energy. Every company in the energy sector of Standard & Poor's 500 index is now at least 10 percent below its peak, and some much more.

The drop has been hard on the people working for those companies, too. The way to deal with too much oil is to stop drilling for it, after all. A lot of those people are relative newcomers to North Dakota who moved there to work in the Bakken oil field.

A check on equity-based crowdfunding

Aug 21, 2015
Jim Burress

Georgia was one of the first states to open a complicated regulatory loophole back in 2011, which allowed residents to buy into local businesses--just like buying shares on the stock market. It took a few more years before the promise of "equity-based crowd funding" took hold.

But in 2013 it did, and the concept is partly the reason you can now find a Bohemian guitar on the shelves of mass-market music retailers, or in the hands of big-name performers--drawn by the unique sound and look of a metal oil can, which makes up the guitar’s body.   

Marketplace for Friday, August 21, 2015

Aug 21, 2015

Take a deep breath. We talk through the day of apocalyptic markets in our Weekly Wrap; there are some numbers on the rise — the average FICO score; and volunteers pitch in to fight the West's brutal wildfires.