PODCAST: Nobel for matchmaking and Sprint Nextel for the taking

Brick and mortar retailers have an idea to compete online rivals like Amazon. They are going to match their prices during the holiday shopping season.

This year's Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics goes to Americans Alvin Roth and Lloyd Shapley. The Nobel committee honored them today for their work in quote,"the theory of stable allocations and the practice of market design." Sounds obscure, but  it actually turns out to be pretty practical.

U.S. retail sales rose 1.1 percent last month. We were spending more on cars, gas and iPhones. Sales of the iPhone 5 helped to juice spending in the electronics category, which grew 4.5%.

Citigroup shares are way up in early trading after the bank reported much smaller third-quarter profits but still beat Wall Street expectations. Pardoxically, perhaps, investors may be celebrating the reason for those smaller profits: Citi took a big fat write-down this quarter for selling off its share of a brokerage that is really struggling -- Morgan Stanley Smith Barney.

Investors were evidently looking for more out of Gannett -- Gannett's share price is down, even though the company's earnings report seemed to be bearing mostly good news. Gannet is the country's largest newspaper chain, also owns a bunch of TV stations. It's a tough industry to be in these days, but TV ad revenue got a boost from the Olympics and the election. More interestingly: Gannett says subscription revenue for newspapers was up, thanks largely to folks paying up for online access.

Japan's third-largest wireless company, Softbank, has reached a deal to buy Sprint Nextel here in the U.S. If regulators approve, the $20 billion deal would be the largest-ever Japanese acquisition of a foreign company.

Brick and mortar chains are trying some new tricks this year to get you actually buy in the store. Best Buy, for example, said the other day it will match prices of online retailers like Amazon during the holiday shopping season. Can anything make us shop the way we used to?

With the release of Windows 8 just 11 days away, turns out Microsoft had another trick up its sleeve. The company today announced a new music service called XBox Music. Despite the name, it'll be available across various Windows devices. Listen to whatever you want, a la carte -- and it'll be free, if you don't mind the occasional ad.

On election day, eleven states will require voters to show a photo ID. That could complicate things for some 13 million American citizens. That's how many people, according to a survey sponsored by the Brennan Center for Justice, do not have access to a passport or birth certificate. So what's it like -- living without a photo ID?

Bit of technology news, just in time for Halloween: Researchers in France are testing a natural alternative to fiber optic cable -- spider silk. It's super-thin, super tough, and it transmits light-based data almost as well as glass. What's more, spider silk is perfectly tolerated by the human body -- which could mean advances in implantable medical devices.

And finally, that  skydive from space we've heard so much about wasn't the only Guinness World Record broken in recent days. From the International Bartenders Association comes news of the world's most expensive cocktail. Its creator, Salvatore Calabrese, gave the drink the modest name, "Salvatore's Legacy." It contains a cognac from 1788, an orange Curacao from 1860, and two dashes of century-old Angostura Bitters. If you find yourself at London's Playboy Club with a little extra cash on hand, the cost of a glass of Salvatore's Legacy is $8,800.

About the author

Jeff Horwich is the interim host of Marketplace Morning Report and a sometime-Marketplace reporter.

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