Business

The Two-Way
7:48 am
Wed December 26, 2012

'Housing Recovery Is Gathering Strength,' New Report On Prices Signals

A "sold" sign outside a home under construction in Peoria, Ill., in October.
Daniel Acker Landov

Home prices were up 4.3 percent in October from the same month a year before in the 20 major U.S.

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NPR Story
4:07 am
Wed December 26, 2012

Business News

Originally published on Wed December 26, 2012 5:23 am

Holiday Sales rose by less than 1 percent from the year before, according to MasterCard's SpendingPulse unit. That's the slowest growth in spending since the 2008 recession. Even online sales — which posted double digit gains over the past few years — were lackluster this year.

Business
4:07 am
Wed December 26, 2012

Worst CEO List, Who's On It?

Originally published on Wed December 26, 2012 4:53 am

David Greene talks to Sydney Finkelstein, who teaches management at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth, about his list of the worst CEOs of 2012. Of interest is not just who made the list this year, but who didn't.

Business
4:07 am
Wed December 26, 2012

2012 Sets Box Office Records

Originally published on Wed December 26, 2012 5:00 am

The domestic box office is expected to top $10 billion this year. After two solid years of decline, the U.S. box office enjoyed a nearly 6 percent jump.

Business
4:07 am
Wed December 26, 2012

Firefighters Deal With Community Backlash

Originally published on Wed December 26, 2012 4:46 am

In the East Bay area outside of San Francisco, a community has turned against its firefighters. The Contra Costa Fire Department is set to close four firehouses after voters failed to pass a tax to keep them open. Some say they want to see changes to firefighter pensions before they give the department more money. The firefighters say they feel like they are under attack.

Law
1:25 am
Wed December 26, 2012

Wall Street Wiretaps: Investigators Use Insiders' Own Words To Convict Them

Raj Rajaratnam, center, billionaire co-founder of Galleon Group, is surrounded by photographers as leaves Manhattan federal court May 11 after being convicted of insider trading charges.
Mary Altaffer AP

Originally published on Wed December 26, 2012 4:07 am

It was another busy year for federal authorities pursuing insider trading cases. Seventy-five people have now been charged in the last three years, and investigators say that success comes largely from their decision to attack insider trading the way they take down the Mafia and drug cartels — with tools such as wiretaps, informants and cooperators.

The story behind how the government decided to go after insider trading as hard as it goes after the mob is really just a story about dead ends.

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All Tech Considered
1:23 am
Wed December 26, 2012

Who Could Be Watching You Watching Your Figure? Your Boss

Mobile apps and devices track a user's health statistics. But those data are sometimes sold and can end up in the hands of employers and insurance companies.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed December 26, 2012 12:28 pm

Those of us trying to lose some pounds after overindulging this holiday season can get help from a slew of smartphone apps that count steps climbed and calories burned. Self-tracking has also become a way for companies to make money using your fitness data. And some experts worry that the data collected could be used against users in the long run.

At a recent Quantified Self Meetup in downtown San Francisco, technology lovers are testing homemade do-it-yourself devices on people eager to measure their mind and body.

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Books
8:18 am
Tue December 25, 2012

Literary Iceland Revels In Its Annual 'Christmas Book Flood'

A shopper browses in a branch of the Icelandic book chain Penninn-Eymundsson.
Courtesy of Bryndís Loftsdottir

Originally published on Wed December 26, 2012 12:46 am

In the United States, popular holiday gifts come and go from year to year. But in Iceland, the best Christmas gift is a book — and it has been that way for decades.

Iceland publishes more books per capita than any other country in the world, with five titles published for every 1,000 Icelanders. But what's really unusual is the timing: Historically, a majority of books in Iceland are sold from late September to early November. It's a national tradition, and it has a name: Jolabokaflod, or the "Christmas Book Flood."

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Around the Nation
4:16 am
Tue December 25, 2012

'Morning Edition' Salutes Those Working On Christmas

Originally published on Tue December 25, 2012 7:42 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

We hope that you're spending this holiday around the people who matter most in your lives. But not everyone has the day off. And we wanted to hear from people who are working today. So, we called out on NPR's Facebook page and we heard back from hundreds of people - from soldiers to snow plow drivers. We called a few of them up and put together this audio portrait of people working today. We're calling it Christmas on the Clock.

LAURA PARKS: Really busy.

BUTCH TRAYLOR: And very hectic.

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Business
4:12 am
Tue December 25, 2012

Is Wall Street's Love Affair With Apple Over?

Originally published on Tue December 25, 2012 7:42 am

Transcript

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning. I'm David Greene.

Let's begin our show this Christmas Day with a look back at a business development this year that took many investors by surprise. Just over three months ago, Apple's stock hit a record high - for a few days in September a single share was selling for more than $700. But since then, Apple's stock has tanked. In December, it traded briefly below $500 a share.

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Business
4:08 am
Tue December 25, 2012

The Finale Of '12 Days Of Tax Deductions'

Originally published on Tue December 25, 2012 7:42 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Now each day we've been looking at those gifts - big and small - that the government gives us in the form of tax benefits and we have finally hit the final day in our series that we've called the Twelve Days of Tax Deductions.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS")

GREENE: And so on this 12th day of tax deductions, we thought we would just dig into a grab bag of a lot of deductions you may or may not even know about.

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Business
4:08 am
Tue December 25, 2012

Online Sales Increase 16 Percent This Holiday Season

Originally published on Tue December 25, 2012 7:42 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

OK, so the final numbers are not in yet, but it looks like the Christmas shopping season was just OK. There were some bright spots, particularly in online sales.

NPR's Ina Jaffe reports.

INA JAFFE, BYLINE: The frenzy of Black Friday calmed down considerably over the course of the Christmas shopping season. Major chains began offering big discounts as the holiday approached and that'll cut into profits.

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Business
4:08 am
Tue December 25, 2012

Business News

Originally published on Tue December 25, 2012 7:42 am

Transcript

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

NPR's business news starts with possible port shutdowns.

A federal mediator says port operators and workers will start talking to each other again. The clock is ticking because a contract extension expires Saturday for longshoremen from Maine to Texas. Talks broke down last week. Retailers are pushing hard for mediation. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright National Public Radio.

Business
4:08 am
Tue December 25, 2012

The Last Word In Business

Originally published on Tue December 25, 2012 7:42 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And today's last word in business: Dueling Santa Trackers.

We've heard for a while how NORAD tracks Santa's progress on Christmas Eve. Turns out Google is following Santa's path as well. But when NORAD, powered by Microsoft, placed him over Japan, Google cited him over Australia. When Google had him in Iceland, NORAD said no, it was Argentina. Both say he's made all of his drop-offs though, which means he's not using Apple Maps.

That's the business news from MORNING EDITION on NPR News. I'm David Greene.

Economy
2:03 am
Tue December 25, 2012

Back To The Economy Of The '90s? Not So Fast

A lone employee oversees Hewlett-Packard workstations being assembled at a plant on Jan. 1, 1993. Huge improvements in computer technology propelled the economy during that decade.
Ovak Arslanian Time

Originally published on Tue December 25, 2012 7:42 am

Throughout the debate over taxes and the "fiscal cliff," there's been a lot of looking backward — to the 1990s. The economic expansion of the 1990s was the longest in recorded American history.

Democrats say the economy thrived under the leadership of President Bill Clinton, including his tax rate increase on high earners. Republicans say government didn't spend as much then and that growth didn't really take off until the GOP took control of Congress in 1995.

So what actually happened in the '90s? What made them tick?

A Unique Boom

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Business
1:57 pm
Mon December 24, 2012

Lower Energy Prices Could Inspire U.S. Auto Industry Renaissance

Originally published on Mon December 24, 2012 3:18 pm

Robert Siegel reviews the top auto news of 2012 with Dan Neil, automotive columnist for The Wall Street Journal.

Business
1:51 pm
Mon December 24, 2012

Detroit Three Look To Revive Their Luxury Brands

Alan Mulally, president and CEO of Ford Motor Co., stands next to the Lincoln MKZ. For the first time ever, Ford will promote the Lincoln brand during the Super Bowl.
Shannon Stapleton Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Mon December 24, 2012 5:19 pm

GM, Ford and Chrysler are turning their focus to selling luxury cars — something they haven't succeeded at in decades. They're hoping that success in the competitive but lucrative luxury sector will signal that the U.S. auto industry's comeback is complete.

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All Tech Considered
11:24 am
Mon December 24, 2012

Kenyan Women Create Their Own 'Geek Culture'

Kenyan Susan Oguya created an app to help farmers in her homeland. Shown here in the office of her company, M-Farm, she also belongs to the group Akirachix, which seeks to bring more Kenyan women into the tech world.
Gregory Warner

Originally published on Mon December 24, 2012 3:18 pm

When a collective of female computer programmers in Kenya needed a name for their ladies-only club, they took their inspiration from the Japanese cult film Akira.

"So akira is a Japanese word. It means energy and intelligence. And we are energetic and intelligent chicks," says Judith Owigar, the president of Akirachix.

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Economy
9:30 am
Mon December 24, 2012

The 2012 Economy Brought Glad Tidings To Many

Construction workers build a home in Palo Alto, Calif. A real turnaround seemed to take hold in the housing sector in 2012 after years of fits and starts.
Paul Sakuma AP

Originally published on Mon December 24, 2012 11:56 am

After years of recession and slow recovery, maybe you didn't notice. But it turns out, 2012 was a fairly good year for the U.S. economy.

The Standard & Poor's 500-stock index has risen nearly 14 percent this year and the unemployment rate has fallen to 7.7 percent, the lowest point in four years. Inflation and interest rates have stayed low, allowing families to cut their debt loads.

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Politics
9:30 am
Mon December 24, 2012

Is Congress Making A 'Fiscal Bluff'?

Originally published on Mon December 24, 2012 11:56 am

Transcript

CELESTE HEADLEE, HOST:

This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Celeste Headlee in for Michel Martin. Coming up, the U. S. economy has had an interesting year. I don't need to tell you that we're still facing huge hurdles. But on the other hand, the stock market shot up this year and some sectors are thriving. We'll talk about signs of hope in just a few minutes.

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The Two-Way
5:05 am
Mon December 24, 2012

Ho-Ho-Hum Last Shopping Weekend As 'Fiscal Cliff' Loomed

Originally published on Mon December 24, 2012 10:42 am

On this Christmas Eve there's this not-so-cheery news from The Associated Press:

"Christmas shoppers thronged malls and pounced on discounts but apparently spent less this year, their spirits dampened by concerns about the economy and the aftermath of shootings and storms."

The wire service says that:

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Business
5:00 am
Mon December 24, 2012

No 'Fiscal Cliff' Deal Puts Wall Street In A Slump

Wall Street didn't get much of a gift at the end of last week. The Dow lost 120 points, or nine-tenths of a percent, on Friday. The slump is partly tied to events in Washington last week — a Republican plan to avoid the "fiscal cliff" came undone.

Europe
4:37 am
Mon December 24, 2012

Spain Tries To Boost Entrepreneurship

In Spain, entrepreneurship is largely a high-class hobby. Family money and connections have long been the best indicators of small business' success. A recent World Bank report ranked Spain lower than Bangladesh and Afghanistan on the ease of starting a business. Now Spain's ruling conservatives want to change that.

Business
4:30 am
Mon December 24, 2012

The Tax Deduction That Costs $180 Billion A Year

Originally published on Mon December 24, 2012 5:14 am

Morning Edition's series, the Twelve Days of Tax Deductions, zeroes in on some of the tax breaks lawmakers are grappling with as they hammer out a budget deal, to raise revenue, cut spending and avoid the end-of-year "fiscal cliff." On Day 11, we look at the deduction for employer sponsored health insurance.

Economy
4:30 am
Mon December 24, 2012

Could 2013 Be A Good Economic Year?

Originally published on Mon December 24, 2012 4:53 am

Nariman Behravesh, chief economist of IHS Global Insight, talks to Steve Inskeep about his economic forecasts for 2013. Among his predictions: the U.S. recovery will gradually pick up steam. Unless it falls off a cliff — then a recession will probably be unavoidable.

Business
3:02 pm
Sun December 23, 2012

When The Glass Ceiling Is A Baby: Working Through Motherhood

Defense Undersecretary for Policy Michele Flournoy talks with Marines Lt. Gen. John Paxton on Capitol Hill in 2010. Flournoy has since left her position to spend more time with her three children.
Manuel Balce Ceneta AP

Originally published on Mon December 24, 2012 11:44 am

Among the candidates President Obama may nominate for the next defense secretary is Michele Flournoy, formerly the highest-ranking woman in the Pentagon.

Flournoy is a mother of three, and in February, she stunned her colleagues when she stepped down from her job as undersecretary of defense for policy to spend more time with her children.

It wasn't an easy decision, but it's a dilemma that many working mothers face. While some call for changes in workplace policy to make caring for families and working easier, others argue women ultimately have to make a choice.

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Asia
3:02 pm
Sun December 23, 2012

Hitler's Hot In India

A clothing store in Ahmadabad, India, sparked controversy earlier this year, as reporter David Shaftel reports in Bloomberg Businessweek. The city tore down the store's name in October, flummoxing the owners who refused to change it.
Ajit Solanki AP

Originally published on Mon December 24, 2012 11:42 am

All over India, an unusual name has been popping up on signs in restaurants and businesses: Hitler.

Yes, Hitler. As in Adolph. Just last year there was even a Punjabi movie called Hero Hitler in Love.

To understand why a name generally associated with mass murder is turning up on storefronts around the country, reporter David Shaftel investigated and wrote about it in a recent issue of Bloomberg Businessweek.

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Energy
4:48 am
Sun December 23, 2012

Forget Fracking: 2012 Was A Powerful Year For Renewables

Wind turbines stand alongside an electrical tower at the National Wind Technology Center, run by the U.S. Department of Energy, outside Boulder, Colo.
Brennan Linsley AP

Originally published on Mon January 7, 2013 9:44 am

Natural gas may have reshaped the domestic energy market in 2012, lowering energy prices and marginalizing the coal industry, but America's shale boom hasn't undermined renewables.

In fact, while analysts were paying attention to fracking this year, a record number of solar panels were being slapped on roofs — enough to produce 3.2 gigawatts of electricity.

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U.S.
3:40 am
Sat December 22, 2012

Immigrants Welcomed: A City Sees Economic Promise

Adolphe Bizwinayo left Rwanda as a refugee and says his new city, Dayton, Ohio, helped him transition to American life with initiatives like the Dayton World Soccer Games.
Shawndra Jones for NPR

Originally published on Wed December 26, 2012 9:40 am

If there's one common language that some recent immigrants in Dayton, Ohio, seem to share, it's soccer.

The first Dayton World Soccer Games kicked off earlier this year, an initiative hosted by the city to welcome an influx of immigrants. On the field, a rainbow of brightly colored jerseys represented nearly 20 of the different immigrant communities in the city.

"I've been really surprised to see that there's a lot of soccer going on in Dayton," says Adolphe Bizwinayo, who left Rwanda as a refugee.

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Business
3:38 am
Sat December 22, 2012

Naughty Or Nice? Retailers Use Smiles To Fight Self-Checkout Theft

Retailers are finding that shoplifting at self-serve checkout lines is surprisingly common.
Jessica Hill AP

Originally published on Wed December 26, 2012 9:40 am

With Christmas on Tuesday, the last-minute holiday shopping this weekend should make for some of the biggest spending all year. Those busy stores are also going to be on the lookout for shoplifters, especially in self-checkout lanes, where it is a big problem.

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