Business

The Two-Way
12:03 pm
Tue February 5, 2013

Economy To Slow This Year As The Government Tightens, CBO Says

While the economy will benefit from continued improvement in "underlying" conditions, the federal government's push to tighten its spending will slow overall growth in 2013, the Congressional Budget Office projects.

In an updated "Budget and Economic Outlook" reported released Tuesday afternoon, the agency forecasts:

-- 1.4 percent growth in gross domestic product this year, vs. 2.3 percent in 2012.

-- 2.6 percent growth in 2014.

-- 4.1 percent growth in 2015.

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Planet Money
11:40 am
Tue February 5, 2013

When Companies Agree To Huge Penalties But Don't Admit Doing Anything Wrong

Francis Twitty/ iStockPhoto.com

Originally published on Tue February 5, 2013 3:07 pm

It happens all the time: The government announces some giant settlement with a company that's been accused of doing something wrong. The company agrees to pay some massive fine. Then, in the fine print, there's something along the lines of: "The company neither admits nor denies any wrongdoing."

Recently, though, some powerful people have been pushing back, rejecting deals that include this kind of fine print.

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Digital Life
11:28 am
Tue February 5, 2013

The Twitter Ads Spawned By Super Bowl Blackout

Originally published on Tue February 5, 2013 12:05 pm

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan.

And now, a look beyond Baltimore and Beyonce to the enduring possibilities of an ephemeral event. When the lights went out at Superdome on Sunday, Twitter lit up. Advertising teams from several companies tried to capitalize with instant ads. Like many of the regular ads, almost of these flopped, but one produced an idea that people are still buzzing about, Oreo cookies. If you work in the ad business, how does social media changed the game? Give us a call, 800-989-8255. Email: talk@npr.org.

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Your Money
9:43 am
Tue February 5, 2013

Score More Dates By Improving Your Credit

Originally published on Tue February 5, 2013 10:03 am

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

I'm Michel Martin, and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Coming up, people often talk about the struggle to get into college but for many students, finishing is really the big challenge. Our next guest has some practical tips for students, to help them make it to the finish line.

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The Two-Way
7:41 am
Tue February 5, 2013

Dell Seals $24.2 Billion Buyout Deal; Founder Among Buyers

Matt Rourke AP

Originally published on Tue February 5, 2013 10:56 am

"Slumping personal computer maker Dell is selling itself for $24.4 billion to its founder and a group of investors that includes Microsoft," The Associated Press writes, in "the largest deal of its kind since the Great Recession dried up financing for risky maneuvers like this."

The wire service adds that "the complex agreement announced Tuesday will end Dell Inc.'s nearly 25-year history as a publicly traded company. Shareholders are receiving $13.65 per share for their stock. ... Founder Michael Dell will remain the company's CEO and largest shareholder."

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Business
4:26 am
Tue February 5, 2013

Reports: Dell To Become Private Company

Originally published on Tue February 5, 2013 11:56 am

A $24.4 billion buyout that would take computer maker Dell private was announced Tuesday. The group negotiating to buy the company includes private equity firm Silver Lake, Microsoft and Dell's founder Michael Dell.

Business
4:26 am
Tue February 5, 2013

S&P To Face Fraud Suit Over Mortgage-Backed Securities

Originally published on Tue February 5, 2013 11:47 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

The U.S. Justice Department plans to file a civil suit this week accusing the credit rating company Standard and Poor's of fraud. Standard and Poor's is the company that famously downgraded U.S. debt in 2011. This investigation focuses on S and P's actions before the financial crisis. The civil action accuses S and P of fraudulently inflating the ratings of mortgage investments, setting them up for the crash that lead to the great recession. The investigation is the focus of today's Business Bottom Line, and here's NPR's Jim Zarroli.

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Business
4:26 am
Tue February 5, 2013

FCC Proposes Public WiFi Network

Originally published on Tue February 5, 2013 11:47 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

The federal government has proposed an ambitious plan to build public WiFi networks throughout the country. The idea is to boost innovation and make the Internet cheaper and more accessible.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

The Federal Communications Commission wants to do this by acquiring wireless spectrum from television broadcasters, including certain airwaves and set them aside for public use.

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NPR Story
3:56 am
Tue February 5, 2013

The Last Word In Business

Originally published on Tue February 5, 2013 11:47 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And our last word in business is: America's pizza crisis solved.

For decades, Pizza Hut has been researching ways to improve the flawed pizza consumption process. Until recent years, Americans were forced to hold the slice two-handed, you know, with the finger up under the point, or fold it in half like Spike Lee in "Do the Right Thing." Pizza Hut has never felt that was good enough, and they're trying for something better.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

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NPR Story
3:56 am
Tue February 5, 2013

Business News

Originally published on Tue February 5, 2013 11:47 am

Transcript

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

NPR's business news starts with a slip for BP.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

The British oil company, BP, announced its 4th quarter earnings today, and its net profit was about a billion dollars lower than a year earlier. BP has been shrinking as assets have been sold off to pay for its liabilities tied to the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

U.S.
1:22 am
Tue February 5, 2013

One-Way Tickets To Florida: Puerto Ricans Escape Island Woes

Miguel Fontanez Sr., the owner and founder of Pioco's Chicken in Kissimmee, Fla., serves customers at his restaurant. He opened the restaurant 11 years ago, and it has become a hub for the area's large Puerto Rican community.
John W. Poole NPR

Originally published on Tue February 5, 2013 4:09 pm

Puerto Rico's population is dropping. Faced with a deteriorating economy, increased poverty and a swelling crime rate, many citizens are fleeing the island for the U.S. mainland. In a four-part series, Morning Edition explores this phenomenon, and how Puerto Rico's troubles are affecting its people and other Americans in unexpected ways.

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Business
4:00 pm
Mon February 4, 2013

How One Company Reinvented The Hand Dryer

Craig McCarl dips Xlerator covers two at a time into a chrome bath. He has worked for Excel Dryer in East Longmeadow, Mass., for 31 years.
Andrea Hsu NPR

Originally published on Tue February 5, 2013 2:52 pm

There's a lot of talk in politics about the desirability of American manufacturing and "green" jobs. President Obama talks about both often, especially wind turbines and long-lasting batteries that are made on U.S. soil.

Robert Siegel, host of All Things Considered, recently visited a Massachusetts factory that makes a product that hits those same parameters. It's arguably a force for sustainability, nearly 40 Americans assemble it, and it's an interesting case study in innovation: the high-speed hand dryer.

'We Had A Product People Hated To Use'

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The Two-Way
12:41 pm
Mon February 4, 2013

Reports: U.S. Plans To Sue S&P Over Mortgage Bonds Ratings

A sign for Standard & Poor's rating agency stands in front of the company headquarters in New York.
Emmanuel Dunand AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon February 4, 2013 1:01 pm

The United States and some states are planning to sue Standard & Poor's Ratings Services over what they say were the faulty ratings of mortgage bonds leading up to the 2008 financial collapse.

The Wall Street Journal broke the news citing "people familiar with the matter," and The New York York Times is pinning its reporting on S&P, which tells the newspaper it is expecting a lawsuit.

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Planet Money
12:36 pm
Mon February 4, 2013

Health Care Spending In America, In Two Graphs

Lam Thuy Vo / NPR

Spending on health care has, of course, been rising in the U.S. for decades. Health care now accounts for 18 cents of every dollar Americans spend, up from 7 cents in 1970.

But where, exactly, is all that money going? And, for that matter, where is the money coming from to pay for all that health care? We found answers to both of these questions in this data set.

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The Two-Way
11:41 am
Mon February 4, 2013

'Meaningful' Ads Stood Out As Super Bowl Favorites

Budweiser's Super Bowl spot won top favorite among many.
Budweiser YouTube

Originally published on Mon February 4, 2013 2:55 pm

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The Two-Way
10:53 am
Mon February 4, 2013

Canada Bids Its Penny Goodbye; Should The U.S.?

Canadian pennies. They're not going to be put into circulation anymore.
Fred Greenslade Reuters /Landov

Canada is changing its change.

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Planet Money
9:43 am
Mon February 4, 2013

A Union Vote For Chinese Workers Who Assemble iPhones

Workers at a Foxconn plant in Shenzhen, China, in 2010.
AFP AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon February 4, 2013 10:12 am

The Chinese workers who assemble iPhones, iPads and tons of other electronic devices may soon be able to elect their own union representatives, the FT reports.

Labor unions technically do exist in Chinese factories, but they're typically controlled by management and the government. So a union run by democratic vote of the workers would be a huge shift.

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The Salt
9:27 am
Mon February 4, 2013

Small Farmers Aren't Cashing In With Wal-Mart

Wal-Mart claims that 11 percent of the produce in its stores now comes from local farms.
Abbie Fentress Swanson Harvest Public Media

Originally published on Tue February 5, 2013 6:21 am

When Wal-Mart calls, Herman Farris always finds whatever the retailer wants, even if it's yucca root in the dead of winter. Farris is a produce broker in Columbia, Mo., who has been buying for Wal-Mart from auctions and farms since the company began carrying fruits and vegetables in the early 1990s.

During the summer and fall, nearly everything Farris delivers is grown in Missouri. That's Wal-Mart's definition of "local" — produce grown and sold in the same state. In winter, it's a bit tougher to source locally.

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Business
5:19 am
Mon February 4, 2013

Canadian Government Retires Its Penny

Originally published on Mon February 4, 2013 10:09 am

The Canadian mint stops distributing pennies on Monday. Canada stopped making one-cent coins last year to cut costs, since each penny cost 1.6 cents to make. Most stores will round out change to the nearest five cents.

Economy
3:38 am
Mon February 4, 2013

U.S., E.U Bilateral Trade Deal 'Is Within Our Reach'

Originally published on Mon February 4, 2013 10:09 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

NPR's business news starts with talk of a free-trade zone.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

GREENE: All right. With both sides of the Atlantic suffering economic woes, there is new interest in a free-trade zone between the United States and the European Union.

As Teri Schultz reports, the idea has come up before and hasn't gone anywhere.

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Business
3:38 am
Mon February 4, 2013

The Last Word In Business

Originally published on Mon February 4, 2013 10:09 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

One of the product spots that went viral during the Super Bowl was not seen on television and did not cost millions of dollars.

And that brings us to today's last word in business: Oreo.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Oreo took advantage of last night's stadium blackout to tweet an image of the cookie submerged in darkness with the caption: You Can Still Dunk in the Dark.

Sarah Hofstetter is president of the ad agency 360i.

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Business
3:38 am
Mon February 4, 2013

SodaStream Criticized For West Bank Plant

Originally published on Sun February 10, 2013 6:48 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And let's think about the Super Bowl once again. Last night was big for the Ravens and for an Israeli company called SodaStream. It ran its first Super Bowl ad.

The original spot it hoped to air was rejected. And as NPR's Larry Abramson reports, there are much bigger controversies facing that company.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

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Crisis In The Housing Market
1:36 am
Mon February 4, 2013

Foreclosure Process Hammers Florida's Housing Market

A sign hangs outside a house in Miami in 2010. Currently, Florida's foreclosure legal process can take a couple of years, which critics say is hurting the housing market.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Originally published on Mon February 4, 2013 10:09 am

A decade ago, speculators in Florida were pumping up a huge housing bubble.

"You couldn't go wrong," Tampa real estate attorney Charlie Hounchell says. In that overheated period from 2001 to 2006, "you could buy a house and make $100,000 a year later by selling it," he says.

But the party ended in 2007 and the hangover persists. The state now has the highest foreclosure rate in the country, beating out Nevada for the first time in five years.

Experts say the legal process in Florida is the key reason for the sluggish pace of foreclosures there.

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Business
4:39 am
Sat February 2, 2013

The Dow's Big Day Rounds Out Big Week In Business News

Originally published on Sat February 2, 2013 1:07 pm

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. And the U.S. stock market's on a tear. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed above 14,000 yesterday, for the first time in more than five years. Investors seized on encouraging news about factory orders and auto sales. They chose to look past a report that unemployment inched up last month, too, to 7.9 percent. NPR's Scott Horsley reports.

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The Salt
4:12 pm
Fri February 1, 2013

Where's The Beef? Burger King Finds Horsemeat In Its U.K. Patties

Originally published on Fri February 1, 2013 6:21 pm

Burger King has acknowledged this week that some of its burgers in Britain and Ireland included horsemeat, the latest development in an ongoing scandal.

Horsemeat actually contains just as much protein and far less fat than beef, according to nutritionists.

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It's All Politics
3:43 pm
Fri February 1, 2013

Why Steven Chu Was One Of Obama's Most Intriguing Choices

Energy Secretary Steven Chu tours the Vogtle nuclear power plant in Waynesboro, Ga., last year.
David Goldman AP

Of all the individuals in President Obama's first-term Cabinet, physicist Steven Chu was arguably the least likely to be found in official Washington.

The Energy Department secretary, after all, was a Nobel Prize-winning physicist from the University of California, Berkeley, the first science laureate to serve as a Cabinet secretary.

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The Two-Way
2:32 pm
Fri February 1, 2013

Dow Breaks 14,000 For First Time Since 2007

Trader Frederick Reimer works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on Friday.
Richard Drew AP

Happy days are (or might be) here again: The Dow Jones industrial average closed above 14,000 Friday, marking the first time the stock market measure has broken that barrier at close since October 2007.

The average closed at 14,009.79. That's up more than 149 points, or about 1.1 percent for the day. The closing comes hours after the release of a new monthly unemployment report that indicated jobs grew at a faster rate late last year than previously estimated.

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Media
2:10 pm
Fri February 1, 2013

For Super Bowl Ads, More Social-Media Savvy

Deutsch LA

Originally published on Fri February 1, 2013 5:17 pm

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The Two-Way
11:13 am
Fri February 1, 2013

Taxi! Chinese Company Finds Fair Deal In London Cab Maker

Black taxis drive down The Mall in London. A Chinese company rescued the British automaker that manufactures the famous cabs.
Pierre-Philippe Marcou AFP/Getty Images

The iconic black cabs of London got a lift Friday when a Chinese company rescued the British automaker that manufactures the taxis. Zhejiang Geely Holding Group said it will pay $17.5 million to buy Manganese Bronze Holdings, which has been making the cabs since 1899.

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Economy
10:12 am
Fri February 1, 2013

Can A Housing Comeback Save Lagging Job Numbers?

The winter may not be over, but economists are looking to spring for good news when it comes to jobs. Host Michel Martin speaks with NPR Senior Business Editor Marilyn Geewax about whether a strengthening housing market could boost stalling jobs numbers.

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