And today's last word in business is: Bidding War.
The real estate market has been heating up in some popular locations - like the Hamptons.
STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
And this week, two Wall Street types competed for a narrow lot bordering both of their properties there. And when we say narrow, the strip of land is almost 1,900 feet long - 1900 feet long and one foot wide.
Saturday in Buenos Aires, Argentina, the International Olympic Committee will announce the host of the 2020 Summer Games. The committee is choosing from among Istanbul, Madrid and Tokyo. The contenders all have strong selling points, but each also has serious issues clouding its bid.
There is something new and different for home mortgages: Jumbo loans are being made at lower interest rates than traditional home loans. That's kind of like a first class airplane ticket being cheaper than riding in coach.
At first this seems crazy. For as long as anybody can remember, homeowners have had to pay a premium to get jumbo loans. That's because they're not guaranteed by the federal government. If they're not guaranteed, they're riskier, so they cost more in interest payments.
Originally published on Tue September 10, 2013 10:52 am
Here's a bit of news that might make you drop that chicken nugget midbite.
Just before the start of the long holiday weekend last Friday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture quietly announced that it was ending a ban on processed chicken imports from China. The kicker: These products can now be sold in the U.S. without a country-of-origin label.
The National Security Agency has the keys to most Internet encryption methods and it has gotten them by using supercomputers to break them and by enlisting the help of private IT companies, The New York Times and The Guardian are reporting.
Suntory's 30-year-old Hibiki whiskey took home the top award at the International Spirits Challenge in 2003. This unexpected triumph was Japanese whiskey's big coming-out party on the global spirits stage.
Originally published on Thu September 5, 2013 5:31 pm
Scotland is the de facto king of whisky. But now an unlikely challenger — Japan — is making a name for its whiskey far beyond its borders. Unfortunately for Americans, this highly coveted Japanese whiskey is very hard to come by.
Originally published on Thu September 5, 2013 3:27 pm
A quick scan of Craigslist reveals a curious market for not just smartphones and computers but the empty packaging of smartphones and computers. On my local Craigslist, a MacBook Pro box — "box only," as the sales pitches read — goes for $19. A MacBook Air box will cost you $15. And a Samsung Galaxy S4 box sells for $10.
A waiter serves patrons at Tony's Restaurant, part of the Casablanca Hotel in New York's Times Square. The custom at some restaurants of automatic gratuities for larger parties might change because of an IRS rule change.
Originally published on Thu September 5, 2013 12:51 pm
Gratuity included? A new IRS rule could end, or at least curtail, the practice.
The Internal Revenue Service will soon begin classifying automatic gratuities as service charges that are taxable as regular wages and subject to payroll tax withholding. Currently, they're considered tips, and it's up to the wait staff to report them as income.
With its meticulous criminal craftsmen, cheap labor and, by some accounts, less effective law enforcement, Peru has in the past two years overtaken Colombia as the No. 1 source of counterfeit U.S. dollars, says the U.S. Secret Service, protector of the world's most widely traded currency. ...
Companies that collect and sell information about you are usually pretty secretive about what they have on you. But one of the biggest data brokers is now letting consumers have a peek.
Yesterday, the Acxiom Corp. set up a website where people can look themselves up. It's called AboutTheData.com. As NPR's Martin Kaste reports, some of the first people to try it were the data industry's critics.
NPR's business news starts with car sales accelerating.
The Wall Street Journal is reporting that buyers picked up new vehicles at a pace not seen since before the recession. According to the paper, Americans bought 1.5 million vehicles last month - about 17 percent up from a year ago. Low interest rates and continued job growth were primary drivers. Automakers have added work shifts and production capacity to keep up with demand. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
Chevrolets are lined up in a field near the Lambrecht Chevrolet dealership in Pierce, Neb. Later this month, bidders will attend a two-day auction that will feature about 500 old cars and trucks, many with fewer than 10 miles on the odometer.
Credit Ryan Robertson / NET News
The owner of the dealership wouldn't sell trade-ins or the previous year's model once the new ones came out, keeping most of the old inventory outside. He closed his dealership in 1996 and is just now selling off his collection.
Credit Nati Harnik / AP
Auctioneer Yvette VanDerBrink in front of a 1963 Chevrolet Impala and a 1958 Cameo pickup truck at the Lambrecht Chevrolet car dealership.
Inside the Lambrecht Chevrolet Company in tiny Pierce, Neb., under layers of dirt, sit a dozen classic cars. A 1978 Chevrolet Indy Pace Car, black with racing stripes down the side. There's a '66 Bel Air sedan in a color called tropic turquoise, and a 1964 impala.
"If you wipe away the dirt, it's shiny underneath," says auctioneer Yvette VanDerBrink. Even though this car is almost 50 years old, VanDerBrink says, it's still brand new.
Later this month Lambrecht's will auction more than 500 classic cars, many with fewer than 10 miles on the odometer.
Originally published on Wed September 4, 2013 4:59 pm
The U.S. economy held steady with "modest to moderate" growth between early July and late August, as Americans bought more cars and auto factories ramped up hiring.
The Federal Reserve's so-called Beige Book, comprising reports from 12 geographic districts around the country, showed that manufacturing activity "expanded modestly" and that several districts reported that "demand for inputs related to autos, housing, and infrastructure were strong."
Originally published on Wed September 4, 2013 12:44 pm
U.S. competitiveness among global economies suffered after the 2008 global economic crisis. Four years after the crisis, the U.S. slipped in the World Economic Forum's annual competitiveness ranking. This year it's back up a bit: The U.S. rose to fifth position overall from seventh last year, in the forum's latest survey, which was released Wednesday.
One of the surprise movie hits this past weekend was almost entirely in Spanish. Instructions Not Included made an enormous amount of money per screen, more than $22,000, playing in fewer than 350 theaters. The boys in One Direction had the number one film, but they pulled in less than $6000 per screen. That's a huge victory for star Eugenio Derbez, a household name in Mexico, and for Pantelion films, which has been trying to find a Spanish-language hit in the U.S. film market for a few years now.
MONTAGNE: British Airways has announced a new non-stop service five days a week between London and Austin, Texas. The move comes as something of a surprise, considering the airline already serves Dallas and Houston.
The Downtown Container Park will set up budding entrepreneurs in repurposed shipping containers. The park will have 35 containers and a bunch of modular cubes like you'd normally see at a construction site — all to house local businesses.
Let's take a journey in the other direction - across the Pacific to Hawaii, where 15 percent of the energy comes from renewable sources. That's an impressive number. But the rest comes mostly from pricey oil imports. Several energy alternatives are being explored. A top contender is natural gas. But some worry that effort could derail the state's green energy momentum.