Mid-day Update - Most Commented
Aug 10, 2012
The Agriculture Department gives us new estimates for this fall's harvest today and the expectation is: it won't be pretty. Corn is America's biggest crop, though some experts are questioning whether that should still be the case. There's a debate over whether -- and to what extent -- Congress should step in to help. And if you think about things we're not going to be using in the years ahead, small change like pennies might be one of them; so might DVDs. But if you look at the success if the company Coinstar, which owns the DVD rental kiosk company Redbox, you might come to a different conclusion. Both businesses use machines to sell their products, rather than human employees.
Aug 9, 2012
In Syria, rebel forces are battling with the government for control of the economic hub of Aleppo. At crucial moments like this in the Libyan conflict, there was assistance for the rebels from the U.S. and NATO -- in both money and materials. The latest economic data out of China show a continued economic slowdown there. New numbers on factory output and retail sales came in below expectations this morning. And the defense industry is worried it may have to issue mass layoff notices if Congress doesn't stop us from going over the so-called fiscal cliff in January. But what does the fiscal cliff mean for you?
Aug 8, 2012
As American Airlines winds its way through bankruptcy, some of its union workers are voting on new contract offers. Next week, a judge will decide if the company can throw out its old labor contracts and impose even more severe cuts on the workers. In the housing market, the credit rating agency Trans Union said late payments on mortgages have reached the lowest level in three years. And Apple and Google are expected to be major bidders at an auction today over patents from Eastman Kodak. Patent law is one of the most lucrative fields in the industry these days, and bilingual lawyers are in high demand because of it.
Aug 7, 2012
The British firm Standard Chartered bank isn't a bank you'll find on every corner in the United States, even though it processes almost $200 billion worth of global transactions every day. But it could soon have its banking license revoked in the nation's financial center, because of allegations that the bank has been hiding tens of thousands of secret transactions with Iran. This week, companies like Macy's, Kohl's, Nordstrom and JCPenney will reporter earnings, but those earnings will only tell part of the story. In Australia, there's a new tax on greenhouse gas missions, and it was expected to help the poor and the elderly. They get a refund to pay for basic goods like food and electricity.
Aug 6, 2012
We have touched down on Mars! The NASA rover Curiosity landed on the surface of the red planet late last night. And it was all hugs at NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab in California. While NBC has been criticized for not running Olympic events live, but criticism aside, NBC is looking at strong ratings for the games so far, and the Olympics could help the network long after the torch leaves London. And we hear from one former Republican Congressional staff member about why he left the game following last year's debt ceiling crisis, and what we need to do to fix the financial incentives in American politics today.
Aug 3, 2012
Today, the Labor Department told us 163,000 jobs were created in the U.S. in July, and and the new unemployment rate is 8.3 percent. Here in the U.S., women represent almost half of the labor force. But in the Palestinian territories, the number is far lower -- which is where Maysoon Oday comes in. She has started a radio station to get more women into the workforce. And this Sunday night, NASA's Curiosity Rover will be landing on Mars. The $2.5 billion mission will be getting some big time publicity, broadcasting live on the huge Toshiba Screen in New York's Times Square.
Aug 2, 2012
The Fed announced yesterday that it is prepared to act if the economy gets worse -- But for now, nada. Which brings us to the European Central Bank, which is holding a meeting today in Frankfurt and might have a little something up its sleeve for the global economy. On Capitol Hill today, a House Committee is looking into the effects of the Supreme Court's ruling on health care; Specifically, just how the IRS will assess a tax on people who don't carry health insurance. Later this morning, Freddie Mac will tell us what the average interest rate is right now on a 30-year fixed mortgage. Last week, the rate fell below 3.5 percent for the first time in 60 years of record keeping.
Aug 1, 2012
A federal housing regulator is rejecting a White House plan to help borrowers who are underwater on their mortgages. There are about 11 million people in that category. Power has been restored in India after a huge blackout, blamed in part on rising demand for electricity in one of the world's fastest growing economies. A blackout of this magnitude would be unthinkable in China. And there's more sun and heat in the forecast for St. Louis -- not great for a region that's in the midst of the worst drought in decades. The drought is now shrinking the shipping lanes in the Mississippi River.
Jul 31, 2012
Some earnings news: BP reported a sharp fall in profits while Pfizer's quarterly earnings are higher than expected. The government said household income jumped a half percent, but consumer spending fell by a tenth of a percent. American Enterprise Institute President Arthur Brooks talks inequality. India is dealing with a major blackout. And an Olympic round-up: NBC spoiled Missy Franklin's gold medal win before her race aired in primetime last night, some Olympic athletes are headed for Wall Street, and we talk with Clyde Drexler from 1992's Dream Team on how basketball has changed.
Jul 30, 2012
Lawyers from the two biggest smartphone producers in the world will be in federal court in San Jose, Calif., today. Samsung is being sued by Apple for more than $2 billion in damages, as well as an injunction to stop the sale of Samsung's smartphones and tablets. And we are now 99 days away from the election. One of the key themes of the campaign up to this point has been income inequality, but President Obama's former top economic adviser Larry Summers says that's not the debate we should be having. Instead, we should focus on inequality of opportunity.