Note: This story was originally published on Oct. 30. It was updated on Nov. 1 to include a radio version of the story.
The stock market, according to a popular narrative, is now just computers making superfast trades with other computers. Those pictures of traders getting emotional on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange are an anachronism. The real action flashes through fiber-optic cables headed for servers in places like Kansas City. It's algorithms all the way down.
Originally published on Thu November 1, 2012 3:59 am
Federal regulators have announced the results of a September inspection blitz targeting 13 coal mines in seven states "previously cited for violations regarding respirable dust sampling ... inadequate dust control ... and hazard complaints" involving excessive coal dust.
Originally published on Wed October 31, 2012 3:06 pm
As the presidential race zeroes in on Ohio, and the auto industry gets renewed focus in the all-important swing state, Mitt Romney's campaign is touting the backing of former Chrysler CEO Lee Iacocca and the company's former president, Hal Sperlich.
"In our opinion, Mitt Romney is the leader we need to help turn our economy around and ensure that the American auto industry is once again a dominant force in the world," Iacocca and Sperlich write on Romney's website.
Oh my gosh. You create the social equivalent of nuclear fusion when you combine the people who are obsessed with Star Wars and the people obsessed with Disney. The Walt Disney Company is apparently willing to take that risk. In a move that surprised industry observers, Disney announced, yesterday, it is buying Lucasfilm, the studio founded by George Lucas and home to the Star Wars franchise. NPR's Mandalit del Barco reports there are already plans for a new "Star Wars" movie.
The National Hockey League has now canceled all games through the end of November, as team owners lock out players in a labor dispute. In the meantime, there are many businesses and workers who count on hockey games to help make ends meet. But they are now trying to make due without.
Airlines canceled more than 17,000 flights before, during, and after the storm. New York's JFK and Newark Airport in New Jersey re-opened this morning, with limited service. For other airports, it may be days before their first flights take-off. All told, Sandy is expected to cost the domestic airline industry $100 million - money it can't really afford to lose.
Still, as NPR's Wade Goodwyn reports, the news hasn't been all bad.
Now let's report on a different kind of horror. Tonight, of course, is Halloween, and Americans are expected to spend somewhere in the neighborhood of $8 billion on decorations candy, costumes and other stuff.
From Seattle, NPR's Wendy Kaufman reports on the business behind this ghoulish night.
In this handout image provided by Disney, Star Wars creator George Lucas has a playful lightsaber duel with Jedi Mickey Mouse at Disney's Hollywood Studios theme park at Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., on Aug. 14, 2010. Disney announced Tuesday that it was buying Lucasfilm Ltd. for $4.05 billion.
Originally published on Wed October 31, 2012 8:32 am
When Superstorm Sandy slammed into the East Coast on Monday, the fragile U.S. economy was just sitting there, stuck in a sluggish-growth mode.
Now, as the massive cleanup begins, business owners, workers and investors are wondering what impact the megastorm ultimately will have on their wallets. Did Sandy weigh down economic activity enough to drown the recovery? Or will the rebuilding efforts boost growth over the longer term?
Originally published on Tue October 30, 2012 5:04 pm
It's football season at Oregon State University, and that means tailgating, grilling, and ... cheese?
When we think of Oregon, we don't necessarily think of cheese — maybe a nice Pinot Noir, but not cheese. But this fall, Oregon State University's new cheese plant rolled out its first batch of product: a specialty alpine cheese (like Swiss, Comte or Gruyere) dubbed by the students "Beaver Classic." It's a mild cheese, with nutty flavors like caramelized onions.
And now for our conversation about personal finance. Especially in these lean times, savvy shoppers have been told never to leave the house without their coupons. Those who take it to another level call themselves extreme couponers. These big savers can load shopping carts with hundreds of dollars of merchandise and pay just a fraction of that for it. That's because they spend hours online writing companies and even dumpster diving to get as many coupons as they can.
Here's a clip from TLC's reality show "Extreme Couponing".
The transportation industry is also taking a hard hit. Travel is at a virtual standstill along the East Coast because of Sandy. Up to 15,000 flights have been canceled. Amtrak service in the Northeast is shut down again today. And crews are just beginning to assess the extensive cleanup work needed to clear tracks and roads.
NPR's Tovia Smith reports.
TOVIA SMITH, BYLINE: Travelers across the Northeast have been going nowhere fast. Some who thought they were getting lucky, got half way home before hitting the end of the road.
Sandy overshadowed almost everything in yesterday and put the rest of it under water. But even with a massive storm underway the publishing industry could not ignore another big story: the merger of two of the biggest publishing houses in the business. The European conglomerates that own Random House and Penguin reached an agreement to consolidate.
Originally published on Tue October 30, 2012 9:32 am
There's big news in the world of publishing: The two conglomerates that own Random House and Penguin announced Monday that they were merging their book businesses to form a new company.
German media company Bertelsmann, the owner of Random House, will own 53 percent of the new firm, Penguin Random House; Pearson, which owns Penguin, will control the rest. The merger, subject to regulatory approval, is scheduled to be completed in the second half of 2013.
Executives of the publishing giants Bertelsmann and Pearson announced on Monday that they will pursue a merger of their publishing houses, Random House and Penguin. The united publishing companies are set to become a large and influential force in publishing.
Originally published on Mon October 29, 2012 3:12 pm
Economists will need many days — maybe weeks or months — to assess the financial harm being done by Hurricane Sandy. But whatever the final figure, it will be huge, well into the tens of billions of dollars.
More than 60 million Americans are feeling the impact of the weather monster slamming New York, New Jersey, Maryland, the District of Columbia, Virginia, Connecticut, Pennsylvania and many other states. The howling mix of wind, rain and snow is causing massive direct losses, i.e., the destruction of private homes, stores, boats and cars.
Originally published on Mon October 29, 2012 4:47 am
Hurricane Sandy's full impact on the U.S. economy won't be known for quite some time, though some estimates for possible damage are in the billions. A more immediate economic effect is on the markets, as Wall Street shuts down for at least Monday.
A new study released by the World Economic Forum ranks northern European nations at the top when it comes to the size of their gender gap. But one area where the gap is huge is in the percentage of women on company boards; it's less than 15 percent EU-wide. Controversy over what should be done about that — and by whom — is more divisive than ever.
In the months since the controversy over the Susan G. Komen Foundation's shifting position on funding for Planned Parenthood, the organization has seen a decline in fundraising and attendance at its main event, annual races held around the country to raise money for breast cancer prevention and treatment.