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.
Originally published on Mon November 19, 2012 12:39 pm
Two positive economic indicators:
-- "Sales of existing homes increased in October, even with some regional impact from Hurricane Sandy, while home prices continued to rise due to lower levels of inventory supply," the National Association of Realtors reports.
Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne with a credit card that's worth its weight in gold. For those who want to buy bling with bling, a bank in Kazakhstan plans to offer a Visa card made of gold, plus a couple of dozen diamonds and mother of pearl. It will require $100,000 upfront and an annual fee of $2,000, but there are no late fees and you get a free iPhone. It won't be the first bejeweled card, just the first made of pure gold. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
NPR's business news begins with credit card debt rising.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)
MONTAGNE: Americans are running up more debt on their credit cards, and that could be a good sign. The average American had almost $5,000 of credit card debt in the third quarter of 2012, up almost 5 percent over the previous quarter.
Hostess Brands today begins the process of selling off its assets in a bankruptcy court in New York. That process has struck fear in the hearts of lovers of the sugary-sweet Hostess products, like Twinkies, Ding Dongs and Ho Hos. Sensing a Twinkie panic and a possible shortage, over the weekend some entrepreneurs took to eBay, offering up many Hostess brands at some very exorbitant prices.
It's an anniversary that most Americans can celebrate — the birthday of the big-box store. Discount shopping as we know it began 50 years ago. In 1962, enterprising retailers invented Wal-Mart, Target and Kmart.
Tesla workers cheer on the first Tesla Model S cars sold during a rally at the Tesla factory in Fremont, Calif., in June.
Credit Paul Sakuma / AP
A Tesla Model S drives outside the Tesla factory in Fremont, Calif., on June 22. The electric car was recently named Automobile of the Year by <em>Automobile</em> <em>Magazine</em> and Car of the Year by <em>Motor Trend</em>.
This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.
AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:
And I'm Audie Cornish. The Twinkie, the snack cake with incredible staying power on the shelf and in the marketplace, may have reached its expiration date. Hostess Brands says it is liquidating, going out of business after 82 years. The company wants to sell off all of its brands. The decision comes one week after a strike.
News outlets in German and Sweden have been reporting for the past year that some of the products made in past decades for Swedish furniture giant IKEA were produced by political prisoners in Cold War-era East Germany.
Today, IKEA conceded that the reports are true and that some of its "representatives" were aware of what was happening.
Listen carefully to both President Obama and Republican leaders, and you hear hints of room for compromise. They're talking of taxes and spending as a deadline approaches, December 31st, when higher taxes and spending cuts would take effect. That would reduce the federal deficit, but also damage the economy, according to forecasters.