Economy & Business

Business news

What taxi ride data reveals about the NY Fed and big banks

Apr 12, 2018

Big data is powerful. A recent analysis of over 500 million New York City taxi rides found evidence of informal communications between the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and major financial institutions around the time of Federal Open Market Committee meetings. David Finer, the study’s author, says that increases the probability of information leaks from Federal Reserve officials.

The tax cuts, a government that almost shuts down before passing a big spending bill, a tanking stock market, the risk of trade wars (not to mention real wars), and even bad weather — it's been exhausting to keep up with the news flow these past few months.

But worry not. The Indicator goes back to its roots for this episode and presents you with three economic indicators that we think don't get enough attention — indicators that let you filter out the daily clatter and understand the trends that really matter.

04/12/2018: TPP? TBD

Apr 12, 2018

Much like health care, it seems global trade is a harder nut to crack than the White House thought it might be. In a meeting today, Presdient Donald Trump said he's told his top economic and trade advisers to look at getting the United States back into the Trans-Pacific Partnership. It's not really a surprise. The president hinted at it in Davos, and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin flat out said it in an interview on this program. That's where we're starting today, plus the latest on bank earnings and Disney's move to streaming. Also: A lot of science fiction tech has become reality.

58: So ... you wanna talk about Facebook?

Apr 12, 2018

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg's loooong testimony on Capitol Hill is over, and we have so many thoughts we added an episode to hash them out. So we're back, asking big questions: What problem do lawmakers think they need to solve? Is that even the most pressing problem? And do they know enough about Facebook to tell the difference? Plus, now that he's back in Menlo Park, does Zuckerberg get what a big deal this is?

Congress finally got its chance to grill Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg this week. The hearings in both the Senate and the House were mainly focused on data collected by Facebook and the apps that live on its platforms, as well as how that data can be used. While lawmakers had a lot of questions, Zuckerberg did not always have an answer ready. Instead, he told lawmakers that his team would “follow up.” This is actually a pretty common practice at hearings for executives, but we thought we’d check if the company would actually follow up.

White Castle is adding a "bloody" veggie burger to its menu

Apr 12, 2018

Fast food chain White Castle is stepping into the plant-base meat game by debuting a new slider from Impossible Foods. The plant-based meat is made from potato protein, coconut oil and wheat protein. Sounds dull? Maybe. But it gets the characteristic texture and bloody look of meat. And for meat lovers, it even smells and tastes like ground beef.

Can science fiction predict our economic future?

Apr 12, 2018

Self-driving cars, 3-D printers and robots are just a few inventions first hinted at in science fiction that later became a reality. That's one reason why companies are visiting the small town of Wetzlar, Germany. Wetzlar is home to what's called the Fantastic Library — a large public collection of fantasy and science fiction literature. From the outside, the Fantastic Library looks fairly ordinary. A  few dragon decorations on its facade are the only clue that this small building houses something unusual.

04/12/2018: A small sigh of relief for the markets

Apr 12, 2018

(Markets Edition) While President Trump tweeted yesterday that missiles "will be coming" to Syria, he's now saying an attack  could happen "very soon or not so soon at all!" That had investors breathing a small sigh of relief. We'll talk to Susan Schmidt, senior vice president at Westwood Holdings Group, about why she thinks the markets are facing a "confused moment." Afterwards, we'll look at how Delta's business is doing ahead of the release of its first-quarter earnings report. Then to cap off today's show, we'll discuss the controversy surrounding the U.K.'s new passport colors.

An epic throw-down happened Thursday on Capitol Hill over the role of the federal government. The topic: the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the agency created in the wake of the 2007-08 financial crisis.

On one side was the Trump administration's acting director, Mick Mulvaney, who believes the bureau's powers are excessive and unchecked. On the other was Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., who led the creation of the bureau to protect consumers from abuses by everything from big banks to student loan providers to fly-by-night loan sharks.

California's vintners and grape growers are among the latest potential victims in the escalating trade spat between the U.S. and China.

Responding to U.S. plans to impose import duties on goods from China, the Chinese Ministry of Commerce reciprocated by introducing new tariffs on 128 U.S. products, including an additional 15 percent import tariff on wine.

Big banks are expected to report big profits tomorrow

Apr 12, 2018

Tomorrow, JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup and Wells Fargo will report earnings for the first few months of the year. This year is shaping up to be a good one for the big banks, which are hauling in record profits. Analysts expect the new tax law and consumer confidence to be big boosters.

Click the above audio player to hear the full story.

Fuel prices depress Delta earnings

Apr 12, 2018

High fuel costs and a 6 percent raise for most of its employees are likely to take a toll on Delta Air Line's earnings. After years of low fuel prices, Delta's revenue is not what it used to be. Yet the air line is expanding and offering new trans-Atlantic flights — including direct flights between Atlanta and Lisbon.

Click the above audio player to hear the full story.

Purple faces over Britain's new blue passports

Apr 12, 2018

The UK is planning to mark its departure from the European Union by discarding the burgundy colored EU passport that has been issued to British citizens since the 1980s. Instead, from October next year, the UK will revert to the traditional British blue and gold document. The government has trumpeted the move as symbolically important: a clear sign that the UK is regaining its independence after more than 40 years of EU membership.

(U.S. Edition) The World Trade Organization is out with new data showing global commerce is off to a strong start. But there's a stark warning that governments should refrain from a retaliatory trade measure. Who could they possibly be talking about? Afterwards, we'll chat with Margrethe Vestager, Europe's top antitrust official who's gone after the world's biggest tech companies. Following Mark Zuckerberg's testimony on Capitol Hill, she joined us to talk about why privacy is such an important issue to her and why she thinks regulation isn't a disadvantage for smaller companies.

(Global Edition) From the BBC World Service … IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde warned that while China’s Belt and Road Initiative might be a critical infrastructure investment, the nation should be wary of “problematic increases in debt.” So, how do you strike the right balance between stimulating economic growth without creating huge payment challenges? Then, today New Zealand banned all future offshore oil and gas exploration in the name of tackling climate change. Industry players, though, say they were blindsided by the move.

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