Herbalife, a company that sells weight loss shakes, vitamins and other similar products, is worth billions of dollars. The company has been around for more than 30 years, and it's traded on the New York Stock Exchange.
Bill Ackman thinks the whole thing is a pyramid scheme.
Ackman manages a hedge fund that has shorted more than a billion dollars' worth of Herbalife stock. If the stock falls — and Ackman says he thinks it will fall all the way to zero — the fund will make money.
Facebook has launched a new feature that will let its users search for more detailed information across the social network. Soon, you'll be able to find the restaurants and TV shows your friends like or see every picture they've taken at the Grand Canyon.
As much as users may like the new features, the company hasn't exactly been a Wall Street darling. So, the new feature may be less about you and me and more about Facebook's bottom line.
"It's about time," Nate Elliott, an analyst at Forrester Research, said about the new feature. "It should have been there all along."
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.
ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:
And I'm Robert Siegel.
Wal-Mart said today that it will soon begin offering a job to any newly discharged veteran who wants one. The offer comes at a time when new veterans are having a tough time finding work. Also, Wal-Mart CEO Bill Simon promised the company will increase the amount of products it buys from domestic sources.
NPR's Jim Zarroli tells us more about both announcements.
Originally published on Wed January 16, 2013 4:48 am
Users of Facebook will soon have a new search tool at their disposal, the leaders of the company announced Tuesday during a live event. The new Graph Search feature will let those on Facebook sift through photos, people, places, and business pages.
The new search ability will join Facebook users' newsfeed and timeline as "pillars" of their experience, said Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who predicted Graph Search would become an "amazing resource."
Originally published on Wed January 16, 2013 4:54 am
The word "Budweiser" will continue to mean two different things in Britain, where the brand name has been a bone of contention for more than a decade. The U.K. Supreme Court has ruled against Anheuser-Busch InBev's request to stop Czech brewery Budvar from selling beer under the Budweiser name.
Originally published on Wed January 16, 2013 11:36 am
Remember all that hype about "underground" supper clubs a few years back? They lure adventurous diners into homes and makeshift spaces where fledgling chefs cook up feasts for pay. The hosts trade in secrecy and exclusivity, and play up food specificity with themes like "Pig Every Which Way," "Jewish Soul Food" and "A Taste Of Tripoli" (because there is no Libyan restaurant in town). And, on top of the food, attendees can revel in the novel experience of eating face-to-face, side-by-side with total strangers.
I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Coming up, we get an update on developments in Mali in West Africa. That's a country known to many for its cultural heritage. French soldiers have started an assault to repel Islamist militants who have already taken northern territory. NPR's Ofeibea Quist Arcton is going to bring us up to date in just a few minutes.
And now, we turn to matters of personal finance and, as we are about midway through January, we thought we'd ask, how's that new year's resolution going? According to a poll from Marist University, spending less and saving more money is one of the top five resolutions Americans made for 2013.
But what if you just can't resist those cute pumps or that stress-relieving massage or you really need some new sheets and towels or that oil change? It turns out that there are actually optimal times in the year to buy certain things.
Originally published on Tue January 15, 2013 10:28 am
Saying that "hiring a veteran can be one of the best business decisions you make," Wal-Mart U.S. CEO Bill Simon confirmed this morning that the retail giant is launching a plan to hire more than 100,000 recently discharged veterans over the next five years.
Retail sales rose 0.5 percent in December from November, the Census Bureau says. That may be a sign that as 2012 ended consumers were still in a shopping mood even as lawmakers in Washington struggled to keep the federal government from going over the so-called fiscal cliff.
Originally published on Tue January 15, 2013 4:06 am
Banking regulators are telling JPMorgan Chase that it must take action to improve its risk analysis and money-laundering controls. The bank racked up a $6 billion trading loss last year. CEO Jamie Dimon cited managerial lapses and called the loss inexcusable.
Superstorm Sandy devastated the mostly below ground electric system that runs through the heart of Manhattan. What happens if Sandy is part of a new weather pattern? Con Edison, the utility that provides power to much of New York's five boroughs, is looking for ways to protect its aging infrastructure.
And in other news, the creators of "South Park" and "The Book of Mormon" have announced they are forming their own production studio. NPR's Mandalit del Barco reports.
MANDALIT DEL BARCO, BYLINE: Having success in TV, movies and Broadway, Trey Parker and Matt Stone are now branching out with their own, $300 million production company. They've named it Important Studios, and it's poised to approve TV movie and theater projects. It will give the moguls creative and financial control over what they do.
Wal-Mart is expected to announce that it will hire every veteran who wants a job as part of a new program beginning on Memorial Day. The only requirements: that he or she left the military in the previous year and wasn't dishonorably discharged.
The deal is valued at close to $1 billion. Harry Winston is a symbol of luxury. It regularly loans out its diamond studded creations to stars for their walk down the red carpet. Swatch may be best known for its colorful plastic watches.
The newly redesigned Corvette Stingray is unveiled by General Motors on Sunday. The Corvette's status as a cultural icon presents challenges for GM as it attempts to the bring the beloved brand into the 21st century.
Credit Carlos Osorio / AP
The first-generation Corvette was introduced in 1953, shown here. This year marks the brand's 60th birthday.
A 1957 Corvette Roadster sits in a North Palm Beach, Fla., private car museum on Nov. 26.
Credit J Pat Carter / AP
Washington, D.C., dentist Richard K. Thompson races his 1957 Corvette Stingray at a Maryland track on July 31, 1957. The new 2014 Chevy Corvette revives the long-dormant Stingray name.
Johnny Unitas of the NFL's Baltimore Colts sits behind the wheel of his new fire-engine red Corvette in New York City, Dec. 31, 1958. The car was presented by <em>Sport Magazine</em> in recognition of Unitas' outstanding performance in the title playoff game.
A new Corvette is shown on Sept. 14, 1967, in Frankfurt, Germany.
The 1968 Corvette.
The 1977 Corvette.
A limited edition Corvette, Indy Pace Car, 1978.
A 1979 four-door Corvette built to sell for $44,000 (seen May 17, 1980, in Los Angeles) got 16 mpg on highways and was 18 feet long. Chevy's new 2014 Corvette uses aluminum and carbon fiber to make it lighter and faster.
Assembly line workers follow the one-millionth Corvette as the car is pulled off the end of the assembly line in Bowling Green, Ky., on July 2, 1992. The white car with red seats duplicated the colors of the first Corvette, built in 1953.
Credit Ed Reinke / AP
President Obama sits inside a Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 during his visit to the Washington Auto Show at the Washington Convention Center on Jan. 31, 2012.
Credit Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP
The newly redesigned Corvette Stingray is unveiled by General Motors in a formal industrial complex Sunday.
This week, the sleek, speedy Chevy Corvette turns 60 years old. In the increasingly competitive auto business, where few cars make it past their teens, that makes it nearly ancient.
General Motors, however, is not retiring one of America's oldest sports cars just yet, and is embarking on the perilous path of updating the beloved brand. The auto company unveiled the new 2014 Corvette at the Detroit Auto Show on Sunday, a model that also revives the long-dormant Stingray name.
Thousands of Minnesota soldiers deployed in Kuwait woke up to a surprise last spring. Just weeks before the end of their tour, a group of corporate recruiters in business-casual attire showed up on base. The first-of-its kind visit was part of a new strategy to help returning service members find civilian jobs before their feet even hit U.S. soil.
Goldman Sachs is reportedly planning to hold back paying bonuses to its employees in the U.K. That's according to the Financial Times, which reports the bank is looking at waiting until the top British tax rate falls by 5 percent in April before paying out the bonuses that would otherwise pay now.
The NFL playoffs are down to four teams. The 49ers, Patriots, Falcons and Ravens remain alive. Four other teams are gone, including the Denver Broncos, who seemed to have a great shot at a championship until this past weekend when Baltimore scored a last-minute touchdown to tie the game and then won in overtime.
These playoffs, of course, lead up to the Super Bowl, the biggest game in football and surely among the biggest commercial events in all of sports.
When students at the University of Vermont resume classes on the snow-covered Burlington campus Monday, something will be missing: bottled water. UVM is the latest university to ban on-campus sales of bottled water.
At one of UVM's recently retrofitted refill stations, students fill up their reusable bottles with tap water. For many of the 14,000 students and staff on this campus, topping off their refillable bottles is an old habit.
Of course, this last week has been kind of a nightmare for Boeing and its new 787 Dreamliner. In three separate incidents in as many days, airline carriers reported problems with brakes, with fuel leaks and a battery fire. The U.S. Department of Transportation has announced a comprehensive review of the new plane. Joining us now to talk about Boeing's new 787 is Joe Nocera, op-ed columnist for The New York Times, and our man on finance and other matters. Joe, thanks very much for being with us.
A pair of prominent hedge fund managers have taken opposing positions on the nutritional-supplement company Herbalife. Bill Ackman of Pershing Square Capital Management says the multilevel-marketing company is a pyramid scheme and a bad investment. He's shorting the stock. Dan Loeb of hedge fund Third Point says Herbalife is a good investment. He's taken an 8.2 percent stake in the company and is betting that its shares will rise. Melissa Block talks with David Kestenbaum of the Planet Money team.
Originally published on Fri January 11, 2013 3:43 pm
Millions of computer users who run the most recent versions of Oracle's Java software should disable the product owing to security flaws, says the cybersecurity section of the Department of Homeland Security. The agency says, "Web browsers using the Java 7 plug-in are at high risk."
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau released new rules for mortgages this week. But neither the banking industry, nor consumer groups are completely happy. Host Michel Martin gets a sense of the current state of mortgages and foreclosures with real estate columnist Ilyce Glink and Keli Goff, political correspondent for The Root.
Originally published on Fri January 11, 2013 9:29 am
Drugmaker Merck just stuck a fork in a vitamin-based drug to prevent heart disease and stroke.
The company is withdrawing Tredaptive, a long-acting pill combining niacin (No. 3 in the long list of B vitamins) and laropiprant, a chemical that reduces the unpleasant skin flushing caused by high doses of niacin.
Originally published on Fri January 11, 2013 11:05 am
Update at 9:42 a.m. ET. Review Ordered:
Saying that "we are confident about the safety of this aircraft, but we are concerned about these incidents," Federal Aviation Administration Administrator Michael Huerta confirmed Friday morning that his agency has ordered a review of Boeing's new 787 Dreamliner after a series of problems in recent days, including fuel leaks and an electrical fire.
The planes are not being grounded. Boeing says it welcomes the review and is confident in the aircraft's safety.
That big consumer electronics show in Las Vegas ends today. And while big tech firms like Google and Apple did not attend, an increasingly diverse range of companies took their place. With more and more devices connecting to the Internet, many companies are flocking to this festival of gadgets, hoping to bring all the appliances in your home online. NPR's Steve Henn reports.
And today's last word in business is being set to music. Truth really is stranger than fiction, which is how a TV interview with President Richard Nixon could become a famous play, and how The New Yorker writer Lawrence Wright could create a forthcoming play on the Camp David accords. Now, an international Twitter war is becoming an opera.
RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:
Last summer, The New York Times columnist Paul Krugman criticized the economic austerity of Estonia.