A $20.1 billion merger of beer conglomerates is now delayed, after the U.S. Justice Department sued to stop Anheuser-Busch InBev's acquisition of Mexico's dominant brewer, Grupo Modelo, Thursday. The agency's antitrust division says the two corporations haven't done enough to protect consumers.
The deal would put Corona, Bud Light, Stella Artois, and other popular beers under the same corporate umbrella, ending the competition that Justice officials say has resulted in lower prices. The Mexican government approved the merger last November.
Americans' personal incomes grew by 3.5 percent in 2012, compared with 5.1 percent growth the year before, the Bureau of Economic Analysis reports. And it says consumer spending rose 3.6 percent last year, vs. 5 percent in 2011.
It may sound like a line from The Godfather, but some agricultural specialists advise that farming isn't personal; it's business. And family farms need to think and act more like a business to survive in a competitive world, says Bernie Erven, professor emeritus in the department of agricultural economics at Ohio State University.
Originally published on Thu January 31, 2013 5:36 am
BlackBerry has unveiled a new smarthphone that it hopes will woo back the many customers it lost in the past few years. Among its strategies, the company appointed singer Alicia Keys as its global creative director. But in the last few days Keys was found to be tweeting from an iPhone, one of BlackBerry's big rivals.
NPR's business news starts with advertisers liking Facebook.
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MONTAGNE: Facebook says its mobile advertising business nearly doubled from the third to fourth quarter of 2012. As a whole, the company's ad business grew at its fastest rate since it went public last May.
Originally published on Thu January 31, 2013 5:11 am
The economy shrank a bit in the fourth quarter and analysts are trying to figure out why. It's clear that declines in business inventories and government spending played a role, but was the real problem the narrowly averted fiscal cliff?
Originally published on Thu January 31, 2013 4:47 am
Chinese computer company Lenovo has become the world's biggest seller of personal computers. Steve Inskeep talks to Vijay Vaitheeswaran, a correspondent for The Economist, about his recent article in the magazine on the rise of Lenovo.
Note: We originally published a version of this post a few weeks ago. We are republishing it now to coincide with our story airing today on Morning Edition.
All kinds of proposals to reduce gun violence have been floated recently. One idea that has gotten the attention of economists is liability insurance. Most states require car owners to have liability insurance to cover damages their vehicles cause to others; some economists think we should require the same of gun owners.
We reached out to a few economists to get their thoughts.
Boeing is scrambling to figure out why batteries malfunctioned on its 787, prompting officials to ground the airplane this month. And at a time when Boeing most needs its skilled engineers, they're weighing a possible strike. Union leaders are considering the company's final contract offer.
The standoff between Boeing and about 23,000 engineers and technicians — mostly in the Seattle region — has been brewing for months. Dozens of them recently packed a union hall south of Seattle for training in how to run a picket line.
It's no secret that Research In Motion is in trouble. The tablet device it released in 2011 did so poorly the company took a $485 million hit. Android phones and Apple's iPhone have left the company in the technology graveyard.
It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep, with Renee Montagne. Good morning.
Let's try again, shall we, to explain what it means when we hear that the U.S. economy shrank in the fourth quarter of 2012. As we've discussed elsewhere in the program, the decline was slight - just one-tenth of a percentage point - but it is the first contraction of the economy since the Great Recession officially ended in 2009. NPR's Jim Zarroli is with us once again in New York. Jim, good morning.
Originally published on Wed January 30, 2013 4:42 pm
If you've earned a paycheck in recent years, you'll probably want want to know about this:
The Equifax credit reporting agency, NBC News reports, has collected 190 million employment and salary records on about one-third of U.S. adults and has sold some of the information "to debt collectors, financial service companies and other entities."
The Ford Motor Company also announced its earnings yesterday, saying it had a pre-tax profit of $8 billion for 2012. And that gives union employees a reason to celebrate. They will each get a profit sharing check of $8,300 - a record high amount.
There's also some good news coming for General Motors workers, as Michigan Radio's Tracy Samilton reports.
OK. In the next few days, cable companies announce how they did financially in 2012. Most industry watchers expect some negative trends to continue. More people are canceling their cable subscriptions. They are called cord cutters, because they are getting TV from the Internet and over the air, not their cable cords. But they're not the only problem the cable industry needs to worry about. NPR's Neda Ulaby reports.
And there was a time only a few years ago when the BlackBerry was the undisputed champion of the smartphone market - a title now held by Apple's iPhone or the Samsung Galaxy. After years of falling sales and strategic blunders, the company that many have already written off, is unveiling a new device today. It's called the BlackBerry Z10.
And to talk about whether it can save the company, we called Rich Jaroslovsky. He's technology commentator for Bloomberg News.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.
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And I'm Audie Cornish.
Home prices were either up or down, depending on how you read the latest Case-Shiller survey, which was released this morning. Prices were down a bit in November from the previous month, but up sharply compared to the previous year. Taken together, most analysts say the housing recovery is still on track. And joining us now to discuss the housing market is NPR's Yuki Noguchi. Hi there, Yuki.
For a half-century, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has been in the beach business, dredging up new sand as shorelines wash away. Federal disaster aid for Superstorm Sandy could provide billions more for beach rebuilding, and that has revived an old debate: Is this an effective way to protect against storms, or a counterproductive waste of tax dollars?
On a recent blustery day at Virginia Beach, the latest beach nourishment project is in full swing. A bulldozer smooths out pyramids of sand, and on the horizon, a large, black hopper dredge appears with another load.
Over the past several years, Democrats and Republicans have disagreed on how address the problems of deficit and debt, but there's broad consensus that we need to reduce both by significant numbers, and soon. In his columns in New York Times and in a book called "End this Depression Now!" Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman defies the conventional wisdom. He argues for more spending, not less, says the deficit's not too bad, and that a little inflation might be a good thing.
Originally published on Tue January 29, 2013 1:03 pm
A federal judge has approved a guilty plea by BP to manslaughter charges in connection with the 2010 Gulf oil spill.
The approved deal includes a record $4 billion in criminal penalties.
Eleven workers on the Deep Water Horizon rig died in the April 2010 explosion. BP pleaded guilty to manslaughter charges for those deaths and to lying to Congress about the amount of the oil spilling out into the Gulf of Mexico.
Haiti used to be a tourist hot spot in the Caribbean. Former U.S. President Bill Clinton regularly recounts how he and Hillary honeymooned in Haiti in 1975. There used to be a hopping Club Med just outside Port-au-Prince, but it closed in the '90s.
Now, the Haitian government is trying to revive some of its former allure, launching an aggressive campaign to market the poorest country in the hemisphere as a vacation hub.
President Michel Martelly says tourism could be a major driver of economic growth and could help lift Haitians out of poverty.
I'm Michel Martin, and this is TELL ME MORE, from NPR News. Coming up, we have the latest installment in our series Social Me. We'll talk about how educators could use their students' social media habits to figure out how they learn.
But first, to matters of personal finance: We want to talk about retirement. While earlier generations might have had a pension, now millions of Americans, if they have any savings, probably have some kind of retirement account like a 401K.
Take a look at this remarkable graph — is it the stock market? Home sales?
Nope. Click on the blue box in the lower right-hand corner and you'll see that the blue line tracks the number of chicken wings that Americans bought at grocery stores over the last year. See that mighty surge of wing-buying in early February? Apparently, you just cannot have a Super Bowl party without chicken wings — millions and millions of chicken wings.