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The Last Word In Business

Oct 19, 2012

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RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And our last word in business today is: Ovonics. That's the science of using thin materials to capture the power of the sun. It's named after Stan Ovshinsky, who died on Wednesday at 89 years old.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

He held hundreds of patents that changed the way we use and gather energy. Ovshinsky never went to college, but that didn't put a damper on his passion for science. His son told the Associated Press that his dad was determined to change the world.

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DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Yesterday was the kind of day executives at Google would probably like to delete. Trading of the Internet giant's shares was temporarily halted after the company's earnings were released accidently and prematurely. What's worse, the numbers were not anything Google would want to show off. The earnings reports showed profits last quarter fell by more than 20 percent. Here's NPR's Steve Henn.

A Check On U.S. Banks

Oct 19, 2012

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DAVID GREENE, HOST:

It was four years ago - almost to the day - that American taxpayers bailed out America's big banks, as the nation faced its worst financial crisis in decades. In the past several days, we've been given a look at how the banks are doing - their latest quarterly profit reports.

And to talk about that, we turn, as we often do, to David Wessel. He's economics editor of The Wall Street Journal.

Morning, David.

DAVID WESSEL: Good morning.

Chicken Little was running wild 25 years ago today. But one could hardly blame the poultry for panicking.

On Oct. 19, 1987, the stock market plunged a record-setting 23 percent. The next day, the New York Daily News' front page screamed "Panic!" and a New York Times headline asked: "Does 1987 equal 1929?"

Turns out, the 1987 plunge was a mere stutter step. The Dow Jones industrial average, which closed at 1,739 that day, quickly bounced back. Within a decade, the stock-price average had nearly quintupled.

When our series began yesterday, we brought together five economists from across the political spectrum and had them create a platform for their dream presidential candidate. It's a platform — Get rid of a tax deduction for homeowners!

In many large cities, like Dallas, Phoenix and even parts of Chicago, $800 a month is enough for a clean one-bedroom apartment, decked out with a living room, washer and dryer — and maybe even a pool, in a larger complex.

But if you want to live alone in San Francisco, getting those amenities at that price is practically a pipe dream. With the region's resurgent high-tech industries luring many well-educated, well-paid workers to the Bay Area, the average rent for a studio apartment in the city now runs around $2,000.

Newsweek editor Tina Brown announced Thursday she would embrace a fully digital future as she revealed that the magazine's final print edition would be published at the end of the year.

Her announcement was a bow to gravity, as her unique blend of buzz and brio proved incapable of counteracting Newsweek's plummeting circulation and advertising amid an accelerating news cycle. Brown said there would be an unspecified number of layoffs as well.

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Google's high-flying stock hit some turbulence today. Its shares were down as much as 10 percent before trading was temporarily halted. The drop came after the company's quarterly earnings report was released prematurely, a report that showed Google struggling in the third quarter. NPR's Steve Henn reports.

Evaporated Cane Juice: Sugar In Disguise?

Oct 18, 2012

If you're one of those people who vigilantly checks the ingredient list of the things you buy at the grocery store, you may have already seen this: Some food products now contain something called "evaporated cane juice." It can be found in yogurt, fruit juices and lemonades.

So what exactly is evaporated cane juice? Well, it depends on whom you ask. We spoke with a few folks outside our local grocery store, and many of them were confused. Take a listen:

'Black Friday' Haunts Market, 25 Years On

Oct 18, 2012

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MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

This is TELL ME MORE, from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin. Coming up, Courtney Roxanne Pearson was just crowned homecoming queen at her university last weekend. We hope you'll stick around to hear why she feels this is about more than a tiara and a title.

But first, tomorrow is the 25th anniversary of what is known in financial circles as Black Monday. And if you were watching the news at the time, then you probably heard a report that sounded something like this.

(SOUNDBITE OF NEWS REPORT)

Does Candidates' Debt Math Add Up?

Oct 18, 2012

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MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

This is TELL ME MORE, from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin. Coming up, we take a look back 25 years to the 1987 stock market crash, which some people still call Black Monday. We'll talk about how that even compares to the more recent market turmoil and if there's anything we can learn from it about market ups and downs today.

The number of first-time claims for jobless benefits rose by 46,000 last week, to 388,000, the Employment and Training Administration says.

The previous week's total — 342,000 — was the fewest since early 2008. The increase last week put claims back into the range where they've been stuck for a year, between 350,000 and 400,000.

Saying that "we have reached a tipping point at which we can most efficiently and effectively reach our readers in all-digital format," editor Tina Brown announced this morning that Newsweek's Dec. 31 issue will be its last print edition.

Going forward, she said:

"Newsweek will expand its rapidly growing tablet and online presence, as well as its successful global partnerships and events business.

The Last Word In Business

Oct 18, 2012

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RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And today's last word in business reminds us how quickly Internet memes, those viral moments come and go. Our last word is: binders full of sales.

A promotional pitch from Spirit Airlines, in a reference to this line from Mitt Romney during Tuesday night's debate defending his record on hiring women.

(SOUNDBITE OF PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE)

MITT ROMNEY: I went to a number of women's groups and said can you help us find folks and they brought us whole binders full of women.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

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DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Let's go now to a different type of media: late night television, where huge changes are afoot. Jimmy Kimmel is getting a better time slot. Arsenio Hall is coming back. Jay Leno took a pay cut, and Jon Stewart cleans up at 11 o'clock.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "THE DAILY SHOW")

JON STEWART: Yes! President Barack Obama decided to attend this debate. And the two candidates can finally have a truthful, substantive discussion about how much they (bleep) hate each other.

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DAVID GREENE, HOST:

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DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Earlier this week, a Japanese company announced a $20 billion bid for a majority stake in Sprint-Nextel, America's third-largest mobile carrier. The deal was launched by the CEO of Softbank - an executive who says he has a 300-year business plan and who is fond of making investments his peers call crazy.

Lucy Craft has this profile.

LUCY CRAFT, BYLINE: In a society where conformity, conservatism and harmony are virtues, CEO Masayoshi Son breaks all the rules, says his biographer, Shinichi Sano.

Watching a presidential campaign, it's easy to think that the nation is deeply divided over how to fix the economy. But when you talk to economists, it turns out they agree on an enormous number of issues.

So we brought together five economists from across the political spectrum and had them create their dream presidential candidate. Over the next few days, we'll have a series of stories on our economists' dream candidate. We start this morning with some changes to the tax code.

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MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And I'm Robert Siegel.

We begin this hour with major fallout for Lance Armstrong. Last week's scathing report from the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency linked Armstrong to a widespread doping program in cycling. Today, Armstrong stepped down as chairman of the foundation Livestrong, which he created to support those with cancer. Armstrong also lost major sponsors, including longtime supporter Nike. NPR's Tom Goldman begins our coverage.

"Quazi Mohammad Rezwanul Ahsan Nafis, 21, was arrested this morning in downtown Manhattan after he allegedly attempted to detonate what he believed to be a 1,000-pound bomb at the New York Federal Reserve Bank on Liberty Street in lower Manhattan's financial district," the FBI confirms an email just sent to reporters.

It adds that:

The percentage of Americans working in manufacturing fell under President Reagan. It also fell under Presidents Bush, Clinton, Bush and Obama (respectively).

Which is to say, the decline of manufacturing jobs in the U.S. economy is not about who is president or what his policies are. It's the result of long-running, irreversible, historical factors (read: technology and globalization).

Construction Of New Homes Surges To Four-Year High

Oct 17, 2012

The rate at which builders began work on new homes surged to a four-year high, the Commerce Department said today.

The AP reports that September clocked the fastest pace since July of 2008. The AP adds:

"The Commerce Department says builders broke ground at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 872,000 in September. That's an increase of 15% from August.

Behind the ephemeral "cloud" of cloud computing, the network we use for everything from checking our email to streamlining our health care system, there lies a very tangible and very big computer infrastructure.

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NPR's business news starts with echoes of Solyndra.

A Massachusetts manufacturer of electric car batteries has filed for bankruptcy. The company, A123 Systems, had received hundreds of million dollars in federal support, including a $250 million grant.

As NPR's Tovia Smith reports, its failure is reigniting criticism of President Obama's green energy policies.

'Wired' Magazine Story

Oct 17, 2012

Google has nearly 20 data centers packed with computer servers that are huge consumers of energy. Google allowed technology writer Steven Levy of Wired magazine to see its facility in Lenoir, N.C. Levy talks to Steve Inskeep about what he saw while he was there.

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Here in the United States, the corn harvest is nearly complete. It was earlier and much smaller than in recent years, which means stockpiles are lower and prices will likely be higher. Now, while this summer's drought is largely to blame, the dry weather did offer perfect conditions to test drought-resistant corn. As Iowa Public Radio's Amy Mayer reports, seed companies and farmers are now crunching the yield numbers to see what these new varieties could mean in coming years.

Target Begins Running Holiday TV Ads Early

Oct 17, 2012

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RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And today's last word in business is: Are you ready?

(SOUNDBITE OF TARGET COMMERCIAL)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: The holidays are coming, and they're going to be big.

MONTAGNE: Target has aired its first holiday ad of the season.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Let me just get my face out of my palm here. That's right. Forget planning your Halloween costume or picking out a turkey. Target is making its mark early - six weeks before Thanksgiving, in fact. It had a lot of people double-checking their calendar.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Robert Siegel.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

The home care workforce — some 2.5 million strong — is one of the nation's fastest growing yet also worst paid. Turnover is high, and with a potential labor shortage looming as the baby boomers age, there are efforts to attract more people to the job.

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