Business news

Joining us to talk about the week's business and economic news are Redfin's Nela Richardson at the David Gura at Bloomberg. The big topics this week: tax inversions, Panama Papers, tax codes. 

Click the audio player above to listen to their conversation.

Janet Nguyen

Another Friday, another attempt by the FBI to unlock Apple iPhones as part of an ongoing privacy saga. Before taking your break, let's send you off with some need-to-know numbers. 

Mad Men's $250,000 song

Apr 8, 2016

On today's show, we'll talk about the ways the rich conceal their wealth through art; a proposed plan at the upcoming G7 summit on sharing personal airline data; and the high costs of music rights. 

Small business owner Andy Howard has a problem that would have been unfathomable just a few years ago – he has too many jobs to fill.

The Los Angeles-based construction contractor doesn't have a single employee on his payroll. It’s not from lack of trying. But the workers with the kind of skills he needs – carpenters and masons – have been sucked up by a Southern California building boom.

The Dispatch, Ep 10: Beware the vapor-gadgets

Apr 8, 2016
Molly Wood

This week in tech news, a whole bunch of new tech that doesn't deliver, doesn't get delivered, and disappears without warning.

David Brancaccio

U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez is trying to improve living conditions for the American people. 

The U.S. Department of Labor released new rules this week to encourage financial advisers, especially stock brokers working on commission, to put the client's interest first when it comes to retirement money. And when it comes to the job market, Perez wants companies to put their employees' interests first. 

Robots are taking over Taco Bell

Apr 7, 2016
Molly Wood

The robots are taking our jobs at Taco Bell.

The company has teamed up with Slack, the messaging app, to write a software program that lets you order food from Taco Bell.

By chatting with the TacoBot. TacoBot!

It's an artificial intelligence program that takes orders and answers questions about the menu ...

Such as, "what IS a quesalupa?"

And then you order and go pick it up and it's almost like you talked to a real person! But it was a bot! A TacoBot!

Marketplace for Thursday, April 7, 2016

Apr 7, 2016

Goodwill adds a new online shopping feature; why the Ugg boot refused to die; and as healthcare costs increase, more doctors are talking to their patients about money

Janet Nguyen

On this lazy Thursday, we've discovered that the machines really are taking over. Here are some need-to-know numbers to cap off your day. 

Molly Wood

Although most Americans have not heard of the Bechtel Corporation, the company is responsible for several notable infrastructure projects across the United States including the Colorado River's Hoover Dam and Boston's Big Dig.

In her new book "The Profiteers: Bechtel and the Men Who Built the World", author Sally Denton profiles five generations of men within the Bechtel family that turned the organization into one of the largest privately-held companies in the U.S.

How the economic machine works (according to Ray Dalio)

Apr 7, 2016

On today's show, we'll talk about interest rate hikes; chat with the CEO of Bridgewater Associates, Ray Dalio, about cause-and-effect relationships in economics; and a new "no-click" app from Domino's. 

Mitchell Hartman

The U.S. International Trade Commission will investigate the role of China and other big metal producers around the world in driving overproduction, which has contributed to dramatic price declines for aluminum on global markets.

Weak prices and intense foreign competition have in turn led to a wave of smelter shutdowns and layoffs in the U.S. aluminum industry.

US cities facing issues over pension packages

Apr 7, 2016
Andy Uhler

A task force aimed at preventing Philadelphia from going bankrupt has urged the city’s mayor to figure out how to deal with its almost $6 billion pension deficit. Philadelphia hasn't been or isn't the only region in the country dealing with this issue, though. 

Detroit was the poster child of cities running out of money. In 2013, the city filed for bankruptcy after accumulating $18 billion of debt. The pension program was said to account for a sixth of that total.

Nova Safo

Domino's Pizza has a new app out called Zero Click. As the name suggests, the app lets you order a pizza without a single click.

The Zero Click app, available on Android devices and iPhones, requires customers to do nothing more than start the app to order a pizza. The system is almost completely automated.

When first downloaded, the app prompts the user to input their information and save their favorite pizza. From then on, every time you open up the app, it'll automatically place an order for that favorite pizza after a 10-second grace period.

David Brancaccio

If you want to know where the economy’s going, who would you want sit next to on a plane? Fed chair Janet Yellen is a good answer. So is Ray Dalio, a legendarily successful investor. Dalio is founder and CEO of Bridgewater Associates, the largest hedge fund manager in the world. Dalio bases his investment decisions less on abstract financial data, and more on his reading of the macro economy.

Zach Heath / Collaboration Cancer


Balancing time and energy can be hard enough if you’re a working student. Zach Heath knows this all too well. He's a University of Missouri MBA student and an entrepreneur launching his own medical company, Hunter Biomedical Group. On top of being a student and startup founder, he’s also a stage-four colon cancer patient. Business Beat’s Siyu Lei and Kara spoke with Zach about his fight for his startup and his health.

Space Internet

Apr 6, 2016
Sabri Ben-Achour and Tim Fernholz

They said it couldn't be done: Internet in space. The dream of a totally connected world is still out of reach. Companies like OneWeb and SpaceX think a global swarm of satellites is the answer. The idea failed before — does it stand a chance today?

D Gorenstein

Today, pharmaceutical giant Pfizer announced its merger – and tax inversion deal – with Ireland-based Allergan is dead.

New rules from the U.S. Treasury Department, that were arguably designed to scuttle that agreement,  also make it much harder for all American companies to move their headquarters overseas to avoid taxes.

Andy Uhler

 Nest is scrapping its Revolv smart home hubs, essentially turning the gadget -- which can control your lights, smoke alarms, coffee makers, etc. -- into a brick. They came with a lifetime warranty and a $300 price tag, so customers are, not surprisingly, unhappy.

All about world economies

Apr 6, 2016
Janet Nguyen

It's already the middle of the week, and anti-tax measures are in full swing.  Here are some need-to-know numbers for Wednesday.

On today's show, we'll talk about the Labor Department's new rules for financial advisers that are aimed at protecting consumers; the relationship between oil and market sentiment; and the United State's new tax-inversion rules. 

Will new U.S. tax-inversion rules stick?

Apr 6, 2016

A huge pharmaceutical merger is off: Pfizer of New York has put a halt to a $160 billion deal with Allergan of Ireland. Pfizer was after Allergan's Irish street address so it could lower its U.S. taxes in a maneuver known as an inversion. That changed after the U.S. government decided to clamp down on tax-inversion rules on Tuesday. 

Don't be surprised, though, if someone tries to challenge these new rules. 

Pfizer abandons $160B Allergan deal

Apr 6, 2016
Marketplace staff

From our partners at the BBC:

US drugs giant Pfizer has scrapped a planned merger with Ireland's Allergan amid plans to change US tax laws.

The decision comes two days after the US Treasury announced fresh plans to prevent deals known as "inversions", where a US firm merges with a company in a country with a lower tax rate.

Rob Schmitz

SHANGHAI — China has agreed to impose U.N. sanctions on its ally and neighbor North Korea. The trade restrictions come after North Korea carried out a fourth nuclear test in January and launched a long-range rocket the following month. China has announced it will ban the import of gold, iron ore and other mineral imports from North Korea, as well as halt the export of jet fuel to its neighbor.

Apple fights to sell used iPhones in India

Apr 6, 2016
Amy Scott

Every time Apple unveils a new iPhone, as it did a few weeks ago, millions of old phones end up at the back of desk drawers, recycled or traded in. Apple wants to start selling its stockpile of those used devices in India.

Donna Tam

Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump wants to force Mexico into paying for a wall at the U.S. border. His plan? Threatening to cut off the billions of dollars Mexican immigrants living in the U.S. send to people in Mexico.

Hamilton is "Non-Stop," brings in $500,000 a week

Apr 5, 2016
Kai Ryssdal

This final note on the way out which comes with the observation that there's a member of the Marketplace bureau here in New York who's going to see "Hamilton" tonight for the second time, even though some of us haven't even seen it once.

Anyway, I mention that so I could pass this along.

A visual comparison of Apple and HP laptops

Apr 5, 2016
Sarah Menendez

Earlier today at the International Luxury Conference, HP unveiled a new lean laptop called HP Spectre. The sleek black and gold computer is going for the "not your dad's laptop" vibe, comparable in style to the matte gold MacBook Retina released by Apple in 2015. A 12-inch MacBook Retina is 13.1 mm thin, which is slimmer than the MacBook Air. HP's new Spectre comes in at 10.4 mm for a 13-inch screen.

Home sweet home

Apr 5, 2016
Janet Nguyen

We're glad you've endured Monday. Now, let's kick start the rest of your week with some need-to-know numbers. 

Mitchell Hartman

In the wake of the release of a large cache of leaked documents from the Mossack Fonseca law firm in Panama, legislators, regulators and watchdogs around the world are promising a crackdown. Mossack Fonseca operates in dozens of countries, providing legal services to wealthy people that enables them to establish offshore shell corporations and secret bank accounts.