Originally published on Thu November 22, 2012 2:51 am
Union-backed organizations plan to picket selected stores across the country, about 1,000 in all. Journalist Charles Fishman tells Linda Wertheimer the groups protesting want to make Wal-Mart a better company and a better place to work. Fishman is the author of the book, The Wal-Mart Effect.
Originally published on Thu November 22, 2012 2:52 am
Airlines are always crowded during the Thanksgiving holiday. But if you've had the feeling they're becoming more crowded all the time, it's not just your imagination. On average, more than 80 percent of airline seats have been filled and plenty of flights have been packed to capacity.
Gray Thursday may become the new Black Friday. Many big retailers have moved up the beginning of their shopping season, traditionally the Friday after Thanksgiving, to Thursday evening.
Brick-and-mortar retailers are feeling pressure from online retailers, which have given consumers an earlier shopping option.
"In the past, online retailers have had Thanksgiving Day all to themselves," says Marshal Cohen, retail analyst with the NPD Group. "And what that means is by the time Black Friday comes around, a lot of consumers have already spent a bunch of money."
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., prepares to announce a debt ceiling deal in July 2011. That deal laid the foundation for the across-the-board spending cuts set to take effect on New Year's Day, 2013.
New Year's Day typically inspires hope and new beginnings. But this next one may be cause for trepidation. Tax cuts for all income levels expire on Jan. 1, 2013, and most federal programs will face a 10 percent haircut — because Congress failed to agree on a deficit-reduction plan.
Hewlett Packard is claiming it was duped into overpaying when it acquired Britain's largest software company a little more than a year ago. HP released its latest quarterly earning report on Tuesday and announced that it was writing off most of the $11 billion investment. The firm HP bought, Autonomy, denies there were any improprieties.
There were 410,000 first-time claims for unemployment insurance last week, down 41,000 from the level of the week before — when the number of applications soared because of the lingering effects of Superstorm Sandy.
Here is a story that's has people in South Carolina on edge. Foreign hackers recently broke into the state's Department of Revenue and stole the records of 3.8 million individual taxpayers and nearly three-quarters of a million businesses. The breach affects everyone who filed an electronic tax return in South Carolina going back to 1998. NPR's Kathy Lohr has the story.
Between the lines and the crowds and the dashes to gates, airports are busy places. Atlanta's airport is one of the busiest in the world, especially during Thanksgiving, which is the busiest holiday for travel. Charles Edwards of member station WABE braved the city's airport to bring us this story.
CHARLES EDWARDS, BYLINE: So far this week, security lines inside Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport have been long. But, they're moving.
As the holiday season takes hold in New York City, shoppers are heading to FAO Schwartz near Central Park for toys, and to Macy's on 34th Street for clothes or cookware. They shouldn't have a problem, Midtown Manhattan was largely unaffected by Hurricane Sandy. One major tourist attraction in lower Manhattan wasn't so lucky.
Dan Tucker, of member station WNYC, has this report from the historic South Street Seaport.
NPR's business news starts with a costly misstep by HP.
The California-based technology giant is writing down an $8.8 billion loss. CEO Meg Whitman says much of that comes from new revelations about Autonomy, a software company HP bought last year. She says the company lied about the state of its finances. HP plans to sue, and has asked authorities in both the U.S. and the U.K. to investigate. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright National Public Radio.
In Washington, lawmakers are trying to work out a deal to keep the economy from going over the fiscal cliff. Many economists predict those automatic tax hikes combined with deep spending cuts set to go into effect on New Year's Day would throw the economy back into recession.
A group of top CEOs has been urging lawmakers to reach a deal to keep that from happening. Mark Bertolini is one of them. He's CEO of the health insurer Aetna and he said tax increases are as important as spending cuts. We called him to talk more.
This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.
LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:
And I'm Linda Wertheimer.
Federal prosecutors in Manhattan have brought charges in what they are calling the biggest insider trading case ever. A former hedge fund employee made about a quarter billion dollars for the fund after allegedly getting a sneak preview of clinical trial data for a new drug.
NPR's Ailsa Chang reports prosecutors believe this may lead them to even bigger cases.
Like many other brick-and-mortar retailers, Wal-Mart is trying to attract shoppers increasingly accustomed to online shopping. In one experiment, it's offering same-day delivery in four select markets.
With the holiday shopping season shifting into high gear, retailers are doing everything they can to win consumer dollars. Wal-Mart, the world's largest retailer, is trying out one new strategy this season: same-day delivery. In a few select markets, it's joining online retail giant Amazon and eBay's "Now" service in offering super-quick delivery, straight to your door.
Originally published on Mon November 26, 2012 11:45 am
A few months ago, I let you in on a little secret about Greek yogurt. Not all of this extra-thick, protein-rich yogurt is made the old-style way, by straining liquid out of it it. Some companies are creating that rich taste by adding thickeners, such as powdered protein and starch.
Thanksgiving is Thursday, and that means more than 43 million Americans will be on the road, driving to family gatherings. For many parents, the crowded roads can bring another challenge: Keeping a 9-year-old entertained along the way. And sometimes, DVDs are not enough. These days, kids love to tinker with smartphones and tablets, as well.
With that in mind, NPR's Renee Montagne spoke with an actual 9-year-old, Jane Frauenfelder, and her father, Mark. Together, they host the podcast Apps for Kids.
Hi! I'm back again. I'm a former banker, now a writer at Dealbreaker and an answerer of real and imagined questions about the financial world here. You can send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org with "ask a banker" in the subject line, or ask on Twitter (@planetmoney).
This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Celeste Headlee. Michel Martin is away. Coming up, short-term jitters are leading many small investors to pull their money off of Wall Street. We're going to ask what that could mean for them and the market in the long run. That's just ahead.
Fewer than 20 percent of Americans now say they're interested in buying stocks. That's according to a survey conducted by the site Bankrate.com. Guest host Celeste Headlee talks to Roben Farzad, contributor for Bloomberg BusinessWeek about what this could mean for the market's future.
Originally published on Tue November 20, 2012 10:23 am
Saying it was a victim of "serious accounting improprieties, disclosure failures and outright misrepresentations" by a British software company it acquired last year, tech titan Hewlett-Packard just announced it erased $8.8 billion from its books last quarter to properly account for the acquisition.
Hostess Brands and its second-largest have agreed to a day of mediation to see if they can end a strike by bakers and prevent the company from shutting down. The parties will meet Tuesday with a bankruptcy judge. He announced on Monday that he wasn't ready to approve a liquidation.
And now for today's business bottom line. Last summer's drought has brought bad news this fall - low crop yields, especially of corn; plus higher prices, and a prediction from the Department of Agriculture that corn exports will be at a 40-year low. The U.S. still is the world's biggest supplier of corn. But this year, American exporters won't be quite as dominant as usual, in the global corn market. From Missouri, Abbie Fentress Swanson reports on the impact this is having.
And today's last word in business: 'Tis the season for shopping days with names.
LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:
It's not just Black Friday anymore. With stores opening earlier and earlier, Black Friday is fast becoming Black Thursday. You might still go out and bargain hunt on Friday, but be warned, there's no rest for you on Saturday. There's now Small Business Saturday, when shoppers are encouraged to buy from local stores.
Originally published on Tue November 20, 2012 5:20 am
The fiscal cliff has economists and politicians in a tailspin. The term is used to describe what will happen if Congress fails to come to an agreement on budget cuts or tax increases by the end of the year. Some say the term is inaccurate, and somewhat alarmist. Linda Wertheimer talks to linguist and Boston Globe language columnist Ben Zimmer about the origin of the term fiscal cliff.
WERTHEIMER: Banks are rushing to add employees to meet the demand for home loans. Low interest rates have sparked a record wave of mortgage activity, and the need for more people to process the paperwork. Mortgage employment rose by 9 percent this year, to its highest level since the financial crisis in 2008. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright National Public Radio.