Aug 10, 2012

Marketplace Morning Report for Friday, August 10, 2012

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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 more bad news for the U.S. Postal Service. It lost another $5.2 billion last quarter. 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 DVD's. 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.

Segments From this episode

Drought brings questions over supremacy of corn

Aug 10, 2012
The Midwestern drought is taking its toll on the corn crop, but over the years, more and more acres have been devoted to corn.

The internal struggles of the Federal Reserve board

Aug 10, 2012
Joe Gagnon, senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, discusses the innerworkings of the Federal Reserve committee.

Census Bureau considers change to head count

Aug 10, 2012
"Hispanic" would be an option for race, but some worry the change could have financial consequences.

CEO of Coinstar on automating business

Aug 10, 2012
The success of the company Coinstar -- which owns the DVD rental kiosk company Redbox -- sheds light on the belief that things like DVDs and pennies have no future. Both businesses use machines to sell their products rather than human employees.

U.N.: Ease ethanol production to aid global food problem

Aug 10, 2012
The U.S. drought is fueling a corn shortage that's driving up prices around the globe. And yet, federal support for corn ethanol -- a fuel additive -- means some 40 percent of U.S. corn will be turned into ethanol this year.

Usain Bolt worth more than just Olympic gold

Aug 10, 2012
The Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt won yet another Olympic gold medal last night in the 200 meter sprint. The 25-year-old has declared himself a "living legend."

Lobster glut causing tension between Maine and Canada

Aug 10, 2012
Lobster prices are at rock bottom lows. And that's causing a cross-border fight between Maine lobstermen and Canadian ones. The Canadian lobstermen have been blocking their American counterparts from dropping off their catch at Canadian processing plants.

JCPenney reports second quarter of big losses

Aug 10, 2012
JCPenney is reporting big losses today. Sales were down almost 22 percent last quarter. That's the second straight quarter of steep declines.

What we can learn from JCPenney's loss

Aug 10, 2012
JCPenney's sales were down 22 percent last quarter -- blamed in large part on the company's new pricing strategy. What's next for the retailer?

CFPB proposes new rules for mortgage servicers

Aug 10, 2012
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau today proposed new rules for the companies that service your mortgage. The proposed reforms seem to mandate a big upgrade in customer service.

PODCAST: Drought hurts corn production, lobstermen at odds

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.

CEOs face shorter tenures and tougher critics

Aug 10, 2012
For shareholders and corporate boards in various industries, patience with CEOs might be wearing thinner. Data show that the average tenure of a CEO has dropped from 10 years to 8.4 years since 2000.

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 more bad news for the U.S. Postal Service. It lost another $5.2 billion last quarter. 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 DVD’s. 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.

The team

Stephen Ryan Producer, BBC