Business

Business news

HarborCenter Marriott opens for business

16 hours ago
Michael Mroziak, WBFO

The final major component in downtown Buffalo's highly-touted mixed-use facility is completed and welcoming its first guests.

Living in a wildfire zone

19 hours ago
Andy Uhler

Hundreds of wildfires are burning in the West. The drought that's dried out the region got the fire season started early, and so far, this is shaping up as one of the worst years ever in the Pacific Northwest.

Marketplace for Thursday, August 27, 2015

19 hours ago

The fundamentals of America's economy in three numbers; China's Ironman; and living in the fire zone.

Digital assistants: If they only had a brain

19 hours ago
Amy Scott

If you’ve ever used Apple's Siri, Microsoft's Cortana or another so-called “virtual assistant” on your smart phone, chances are there has been some cursing involved. That frustration has created a big opportunity for whomever can make a better one. Now Facebook is stepping into the fray on a small scale at first. For a few hundred users in the Bay Area, Facebook’s Messenger app will now come with a feature called M.

Just how strong are those fundamentals?

19 hours ago
Mark Garrison

During this week’s wild ride for stocks, analysts have been telling people not to freak out because, essentially, the stock market is not the economy and vice versa. Kai Ryssdal says that on Marketplace so often that a fan built that phrase into a drinking game. (Which, by the way, is not to be played while driving!)

China's Wanda buys Ironman race series

19 hours ago
Kim Adams

The Ironman triathlon competition has just been swallowed up by the Chinese conglomerate Dalian Wanda Group.

Singing the 'Happy Birthday' blues

22 hours ago
Carrie Barber

$100,000

Flores-Roux is a nose ahead in the perfume business

22 hours ago
Kai Ryssdal and Bridget Bodnar

Rodrigo Flores-Roux, head perfumer at Givaudan perfumes, says that “a perfumer’s life is a little bit busy.” That explains why his office is covered in perfume bottles — some professionally packaged, others in clinical bottles titled with a label maker. Magazines, postcards and photos fill up the rest of the space.

It’s all inspiration for when Flores-Roux sits down to create a scent. The first step usually involves a computer and a process that he says resembles creating a recipe.

Brian Chesky of Airbnb on "the worst idea ever"

23 hours ago
Kai Ryssdal

The first step in starting a successful business is having a good idea, but sometimes even a bad one can work. Brian Chesky started Airbnb on the risky premise that people would agree to open their homes to strangers, and it worked. He didn’t just build a $10 billion company, he changed culture as we know it, helping to usher in the sharing economy.

PODCAST: Happy birthday, now cut me a check

Aug 27, 2015
David Brancaccio

First up: market's seem to be mellowing slightly, but that doesn't mean we're out of the volatile, volatile woods. We look at what that could mean for interest rates. Next, financial planners are telling people to stay the course and think about the long term, but what if you don't have that kind of time? Finally, you can sing the "Happy Birthday" song all you want but be careful about putting it in that screenplay you're working on. Believe it or not, the copyright is owned by Warner/Chappell Music, and they've been known to charge six figures for its use.

Airing on Thursday, August 27, 2015: What recent market volatility means for the stewards of the Federal Reserve descending on Jackson Hole, Wyoming, this week  for their annual retreat. China cracks down on warehouse executives at the center of the Tianjin explosion. Plus, a conversation about urban planning in New Orleans and how the city's innovative approach to parking reduces congestion and creates more opportunities for local businesses. 

Marketplace Tech for Wednesday, August 27, 2015

Aug 27, 2015
Marketplace

Airing on Thursday, August 27, 2015: On today's show,  gaming retailer GameStop reports earnings. The world's largest personal asset manager, BlackRock,  is turning to robots to give clients financial advise. Plus, a conversation with a security researcher in Australia who may change the way you think about the Ashley Madison data hack. 

twitter.com/cejbuffalo

Hotel projects don't create living wage jobs. That is the message being sent to the Niagara County Industrial Development Agency by labor and community groups. 

How volatile is the market? Let's consult the VIX

Aug 26, 2015
Kai Ryssdal

The Volatility Index (VIX) measures whether or not there’s too much fear or optimism in the markets. Robert Whaley, father of the VIX, says at the “beginning of the week it was about at a level of 12, at the end of the week it was at 28. That was the biggest percentage increase the VIX has ever had in its entire history.”

Currently, the VIX is around 34 percent. But what exactly does that mean? “It’s a measure of the volatility you expect over the next 30 days,” Whaley says. He adds that the VIX is usually around 20 percent.

No worries on China's streets

Aug 26, 2015
Kai Ryssdal, Rob Schmitz and Hayley Hershman

The Yuan devaluation and China’s market crash has caused global chaos. But Rob Schmitz, Marketplace’s China correspondent in Shanghai, says people on the street in China really aren’t that worried. A Sichuan restaurant owner told Schmitz “that business is really good.”

“Most importantly [China’s] got a growing economy," Schmitz says. "We've seen the headlines this week about China’s market crash ... [but] China’s economy is continuing to grow at around 6 or 7 percent, faster than nearly every other economy in the world.”

No, the economy is not like a roller coaster

Aug 26, 2015
Sam Weiner

When the market goes wild, people say the economy is like a roller coaster. And, frankly, I am sick and tired of this disgusting comparison. Someone has got to stick up for the inventor of roller coasters, my grandfather, Dr. Johann T. Rollercoaster.

And yes, laugh at his name if you must. It was changed at Ellis Island from the original Rollercoasterstein.

How Nevada could cast a shadow over solar

Aug 26, 2015
Scott Tong

A big bet on solar energy may be about to go sour in Nevada. State regulators are considering a utility's proposal to charge owners of rooftop solar systems a monthly fee for being connected to the grid.

That kind of fee, called a demand charge, would take the savings out of solar for most homeowners, undermining the business model of solar companies. Utilities in several states are pressing for similar charges. One big solar installer, Vivint Solar, has already stopped doing business in Nevada because of the uncertainty.

Blame low wages on slack

Aug 26, 2015
Nancy Marshall-Genzer

A new report from the Congressional Budget Office is shedding some light on why wages aren’t going up, even as the unemployment rate goes down. 

Blame it on slack, the CBO says. That is, extra workers in the labor market — people who’ve given up looking for a job. 

These extra workers aren’t officially counted as unemployed because they’re not looking for work. They might be boomers who are pushed toward an unexpectedly early retirement. Or millennials who decide to stay home with the kids.

Marketplace for Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Aug 26, 2015

What we've learned about the market's safety nets; Apple's "Sinodependency"; and stopping the roller coaster metaphor in its tracks.

China's luxury buyers are an endangered species

Aug 26, 2015
Mark Garrison

China’s latest economic troubles could be the last thing luxury companies need. Once the great hope for growth for American and European makers of handbags, shoes and jewelry, the Chinese luxury buyer is now a threatened species, with China’s currency losing value and stock market slumping.

PODCAST: Wall Street's rusty plumbing

Aug 26, 2015
David Brancaccio

Stocks are rallying early in the day, but after yesterday's last-minute drop, we try and figure out what we're in for. Then: all the recent volatility is exposing some issues with the way the markets are handling exchange traded funds. Finally: we look at the winners and losers in Corinthian College's bankruptcy plan.

Abercrombie bets future earnings on a turnaround

Aug 26, 2015
Andy Uhler

Abercrombie & Fitch is reporting second quarter earnings just a week after its stock hit a more than six-year low, and the retailer announced it is restructuring its front office by bringing in a batch of new designers and executives to reinvent the brand.

Marketplace for Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Aug 25, 2015

No, it's not 2008; China's stock market has a long way to go; and the tough business of steel.

Freakonomics and end-of-life health care

Aug 25, 2015
Kai Ryssdal and Stephen Dubner

Stephen Dubner admits that he and the team behind Freakonomics Radio sometimes explore ideas most sane people would leave untouched. This time, Dubner decided to look at the economics of end-of-life health care.

It’s certainly a touchy subject, but also one that most families will have to face at some time in their lives.

It's a contraction, not another Great Recession

Aug 25, 2015
Mitchell Hartman

U.S. financial markets rallied through most of the Tuesday, then fell back in the final hour of trading to close with another day of solid losses.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 204 points, 1.3 percent, to close at 15,666. The Standard & Poor's 500 index dropped 25 points, 1.3 percent, to close at 1867. The Nasdaq fell 19 points, 0.44 percent, to close at 4506. The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury bond rose to 2.07 percent.

China's struggle for a free (stock) market

Aug 25, 2015
Sabri Ben-Achour

China’s stock market was conceived with an entirely different purpose than stock markets of large economies elsewhere, says Scott Kennedy, director of the Project on Chinese Business and Political Economy at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Investors want McDonald's out of real estate

Aug 25, 2015
Nancy Marshall-Genzer

If you think things are tough for McDonald’s now, imagine what it was like when the company was starting out.  

Banks didn’t want to loan McDonald’s money. So the Golden Arches transformed itself into a business the banks would lend to.  

Sort of a real estate company. Buying land and building restaurants, then renting them to franchisees. The sales pitch became:

In Texas, a coal mine opens to power Mexico

Aug 25, 2015
Ingrid Lobet

The coal industry is struggling as cheaper and cleaner natural gas undercuts coal, and environmental regulations push utilities to shut down their older coal-burning plants.

Yet new coal mines open and others expand. In one Texas county on the Mexican border, local officials and residents seem nearly united in their opposition to a new coal strip mine, the Eagle Pass Mine. The company that owns it, Dos Republicas Coal Partnership, says it intends to ship out the first load of coal by train next month.

You have to give him a hand

Aug 25, 2015
Carrie Barber

2 days

That's the amount of time it takes to make parts for an award-winning robotic hand on a 3-D printer, the BBC reports. Joel Gibbard of Open Bionics says he can use a sensor on his tablet to size an amputee in minutes, print the parts in about 40 hours and fit them together in two hours. The prototype earned Gibbard the James Dyson engineering award, which carries a $3,500 prize and the chance to win the $45,000 international title.

10 percent

PODCAST: Looking for a rebound

Aug 25, 2015
Noel King

China tries to take control of its economy, looking for a rebound after Black Monday, and how Chicago's "zombie homes" got that way. 

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