Business news


Airing on Wednesday, January 27, 2016: On today's show, we'll talk about Apple's slow down in earnings; fundraising for colleges; the possible Shell-BP merger; and U.S. firms now offering credit to Cubans.

Government further relaxes Cuba trade rules

Jan 26, 2016
D Gorenstein

Wednesday marks another significant step in the thawing of U.S. Cuba relations. For the first time in decades, U.S. firms can begin offering their Cuban customers credit.

The easing of financial restrictions is consistent with the Administration’s goal to improve the lives of ordinary Cuban citizens.

Attorney Gus Maxwell, with the Ackerman law firm in Miami, said lifting further financial restrictions will help make trade more normal.

Flint is swimming in water bottles

Jan 26, 2016
Tony Wagner

As state officials work to contain the ongoing health crisis in Flint, Michigan, private companies and celebrities are pitching in, sending hundreds of thousands of water bottles into the city.

Sarah Menendez

The Danish parliament passed a bill Tuesday that allows law enforcement officials to confiscate cash and other assets from migrants in an effort to offset the cost of letting them live within Denmark's borders. However, Denmark is not the first or only European country asking that refugees turn over their valuables as pay for their stay.  


Marketplace for Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Jan 26, 2016

Why the company behind the GED lowered the passing score; a look at Apple's stock after their latest earnings report; and an interview with Mohammed El-Erian, author of new book about central banks

The doctor is in ... your phone

Jan 26, 2016
David Brancaccio

On today's show, we'll talk about when crude oil and stocks dance in a messy tango; and using an app to record your appointments with the doctor.

John Rosman

It’s not too hard to find what you need inside Powell’s City of Books in downtown Portland, Ore. That’s saying something, since it’s home to approximately one million titles, divided into 3,500 sections and engulfs a city block.  

When you want to find something you learn to rely on the staff. But when I asked three different employees for the location of the store’s most expensive book — I got three different answers.

M and A little bit of history repeating

Jan 25, 2016

Industrial giants Johnson Controls and Tyco are hoping to tie the knot, financially speaking.  It’s the latest example of inversion, a type of merger-plus-relocation overseas.

It's also a big merger after a huge year for mergers and acquisitions in 2015.  And that makes it a bit of an outlier. Historically, mergers and acquisitions follow a familiar pattern. 

Marketplace for Monday, January 25, 2016

Jan 25, 2016

Looking at the economic pattern of mergers and acquisitions; McDonalds earnings report show a comeback for the golden arches; and an interview with GE Vice Chair Beth Comstock.

Modeling the economic impact of the TPP

Jan 25, 2016
Tracey Samuelson

In early February, trade ministers from the dozen countries that make up the Trans-Pacific Partnership will gather in New Zealand to sign the massive trade pact, which covers approximately one-third of global trade. It’s then up to the legislatures of member countries to decide whether to ratify the agreement.

Amy Scott

This story was originally published on January 21 and was updated on Monday, January 25 to reflect Saturday's ruling. Hear the original story above.

Thousands of foreign workers wondering if they would be forced to leave the country got a reprieve Saturday. A federal judge ruled that a program allowing foreign-born students to extend their stays in the United States to work could remain in place until May 10.

Bloomberg for president?

Jan 25, 2016
David Brancaccio

On today's show, we'll talk about the possibility of Michael Bloomberg presidential campaign; the CBO's announcement that the deficit will grow for the first time since 2009; and the continuing struggle in Dayton, OH to recover from the housing crisis.

Santa Barbara takes a second shot at desalination

Jan 24, 2016
Steve Gardner

Cities all over California have been trying to save water as the drought drags on. Most have made progress in getting residents to use less water. But public officials also fear this winter’s El Niño could wash some of that progress away. 

In Dayton, empty homes hurt recovery

Jan 24, 2016
Lane Wallace

We’ve been hearing plenty lately about skyrocketing real estate in San Francisco and New York. But these booming markets are a long way from reality in places like Dayton, Ohio — a small city that still hasn’t recovered from the foreclosure crisis.

The city has focused on re-energizing its downtown, but lots of the outlying areas have been overlooked. In one historic Dayton neighborhood, Wolf Creek, just west of downtown, more than a quarter of the houses are still empty.

A blizzard in 1888 created the modern mayor

Jan 22, 2016
Kai Ryssdal

A huge snow storm is hitting the east coast. It’s so big that in Washington D.C., the city's metro system has already shut down as have government and private sector offices all over town. Storms like this are dangerous, and they can also change the way we live and the way we govern ourselves.

Marketplace for Friday, January 22, 2016

Jan 22, 2016

Marketplace's Lizzie O'Leary reporting from Flint on the water crisis, how capital controls in emerging markets work; and a look back at the week that was in economic news with the Weekly Wrap. 

How capital controls work and sometimes don't

Jan 22, 2016
Tracey Samuelson

Last year money ran screaming from emerging markets — to the tune of $735 billion in net outflows, according to Institute for International Finance.

“This is really an amazing amount and comes after fairly steady inflows for many, many years,” said Charles Collyns, the chief economist at the IIF. “This is the first time we’ve seen capital outflows since the late 1980s and the amount is really mind boggling,”

Bill Gates says the U.S. should take more refugees

Jan 22, 2016
Marketplace staff

From our partners at the BBC:

The billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates has told the BBC that the United States "should set a better example" by taking in more refugees.

Mr. Gates said the U.S. "had the capacity" to follow the examples of Germany and Sweden, who were "to be congratulated" for welcoming migrants.

But he acknowledged that relaxing immigration laws "was not easy".

Back to basics for McDonald's

Jan 22, 2016
David Brancaccio

On today's show, we'll talk about stock markets celebrating a bounce for oil prices; McDonald's going back to fast food basics; and we'll take a closer look at black stuntmen and women in Hollywood. 

What happens when you Google "Apple"

Jan 22, 2016
Marketplace staff

$1 billion

That's reportedly how much Google paid Apple in 2014 to keep its search bar on the iPhone. As reported by Bloomberg, the agreement also guarantees Apple a share of profits generated by Google through its search engine. The revenue share reportedly reached 34 percent at its highest.

$100 million dollars

Black stuntmen and women still fighting

Jan 21, 2016
Allison Keyes

There has been a lot of criticism and a threatened boycott of this year’s Academy Awards over the shutout of black actors from the list of Oscar nominees. Twitter erupted, with some tweeting the hastag #OscarsStillSoWhite to show their displeasure. 

Some of 2015’s hottest movies – from Star Wars: The Force Awakens to Furious 7- have featured diverse casts that are increasingly popular with movie-goers. That’s good for Hollywood’s bottom line.

General Electric shifts tack

Jan 21, 2016
Tracey Samuelson

General Electric announces 4th quarter earnings Friday. The company is deep into a restructuring that involved selling off most of its financial arm to center its attention on its industrial core.

“GE is quite a different company, but it’s also the same company it’s always been,” said Eric Gordon, a professor at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business.

Gordon said GE has chosen to focus on its strengths, like aviation, locomotion, healthcare and power generation. It recently closed the huge acquisition of Alstom, a French power-generation company.

Kai Ryssdal

NFL referee Clete Blakeman is getting a shot at redeeming himself.

If you saw the Packers Cardinals game last weekend you might remember the coin flip at the start of overtime the coin flip where the coin didn't actually flip.

After a do-over the game ended badly for the Packers.

The ref in question did all right, though. There's word today he's been chosen to referee Super Bowl 50.

Silicon Valley still has a diversity problem

Jan 21, 2016
Kai Ryssdal and Mukta Mohan

Silicon Valley has a problem with diversity. That much isn't news. What is, however, is what’s going on at the entry level to change that. Howard University in Washington D.C. is a historically black college where tech companies like Facebook, Google, and Pinterest are making the rounds. One professor in particular is leading the charge.

Marketplace for Thursday, January 21, 2016

Jan 21, 2016

Explaining low corporate earnings in wake of recent economic uncertainty; why there is a doctor shortage in southern states; and the latest installment of Corner Office with Shinola CEO Steve Bock.

Shinola has perfect timing in Detroit

Jan 21, 2016
Kai Ryssdal and Tommy Andres

There's a new term out there to describe a recent manufacturing movement in America - "Make-tailers." It's a category of "embedded-in-the-community" companies that produce small-batch, high-quality artisan products. 

The monarch butterfly population has seen a decline in the last 20 years. Doug sits down with Dusty Walter, director of natural resources for the Agricultural Experiment Station and the superintendent of the Wurdack Research Center, to discuss what has led to that decline. 

Welcome, new prime number!

Jan 21, 2016
Stephanie Hughes

We like to do the numbers on Marketplace. and this week, a new number has arrived: M74207281

If you think that name sounds long, be warned: it is an extreme abbreviation. The largest known prime number, discovered this week by University of Central Missouri computer science professor Curtis Cooper, actually has more than 22 million digits.

When was the last time you talked about prime numbers? High School?  Reminder: it’s when a number only has multiples of one and itself.  Examples include two, five, seven, et cetera. The higher you get, the harder it is to find primes. 

Laura Herberg

More than 800,000 people are expected to attend the North American International Auto Show in Detroit this year. But how many of them travel beyond the walls of the convention center? 

How social media can make or break a show

Jan 20, 2016
Sarah Menendez

When a new episode of shows like "Pretty Little Liars," "Supernatural" and "The Walking Dead" airs, the action on Twitter can be just as important to producers as the action on screen.