Marketplace PM for January 30, 2006
No vengeance allowed.That was the judge's message today to potential jurors in the trial of former Enron executives Ken Lay and Jeff Skilling. The curtain went up today on what is perhaps the most highly anticipated corporate fraud trial of the last few years. Skilling and Lay are charged with multiple counts of fraud and conspiracy in the scandal that drove the energy trading company into the ground. We spoke with Houston Chronicle reporter Mary Flood during a break in today's proceedings and asked her about what's looking like a very compact jury selection process.
Last year was a gusher of a year for the world's biggest oil company. Exxon-Mobil reports today that it took in profits of more than $36 billion dollars in 2005. That's believed to be the single largest annual profit in history for any American company. In just the last three months of the year, the Texas-based oil giant cleared $11 billion in profits. The numbers are record-shattering, but are they excessive when they only add up to roughly 10% of the company's total sales. Marketplace's Bob Moon takes a closer look:
Posted In: Economy
Tuesday, the nation's uber-economist takes his victory lap. It's Alan Greenspan's last day as Fed chairman. Most people in this country could probably identify Alan Greenspan's name and maybe that he's the Fed chairman, even if they have no idea what the Fed does. What is it about the guy? Here's Marketplace's Scott Tong.
Eastman-Kodak is the world's largest maker of photographic film, but these days lots of people don't even use film to take pictures. As a result, the company posted its fifth consecutive loss today and warned it could lose more than a billion dollars more this year. Some now say it could be years before the company fully crosses the digital divide. From Marketplace's Innovations Desk at North Carolina Public Radio, Janet Babin reports:
There's turther evidence today that Americans just can't get enough stuff. The national savings rate is at its lowest point since the Great Depression. Commentator Barry Nalebuff says he has a better idea for where to put your money. Invest in stocks like you invest in a mortgage... on credit.
Imagine Microsoft launching a hostile takeover of Apple Computer. Something like that scenario is playing itself out in the steel industry right now. European steel company Arcelor turned down a $23 billion dollar offer from Indian billionaire Lakshmi Mittal. But because of the attempted deal, steel company stocks have surged in overseas markets today. From London, Stephen Beard reports on what a steel mega-merger would mean to you.
Happy Year of the Dog! Chinese Lunar New Year celebrations started over the weekend. If you've ever been lucky enough to participate in the festivities you know it's all about the food, not surprising for a society that's been developing its cuisine for thousands of years. But as China modernizes it's also losing a few tasty dishes. Judith Ritter recently visited Hong Kong, where a culinary tradition is literally falling by the wayside.
Major world powers met today in London and Brussels to discuss what's next in their dealings with the new Hamas-led Palestinian government. U.S., U.N. and European officials maintained a united stand against financial aid to the country unless Hamas renounces its call for the violent overthrow of Israel. Hamas said it might turn to Arab and Muslim sources to make up for whatever western nations might withhold. Some Middle East experts are now questioning whether financial isolation might only hurt the cause of peace. Marketplace's John Dimsdale has more.