Economy & Business

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On weekend afternoons, large crowds descend on a pair of street corners across from People's Square in downtown Shanghai to trade stock tips. Shen Yuxi has set up a homemade desk with two laptops, a big flat screen and offers insights like this:

"When a Communist Party chairman takes office, I buy stock in companies from his hometown," Shen tells a crowd of about 20 people that spills out over the sidewalk.

Recently, Shen has been buying up companies in Shaanxi, the home province of Xi Jinping, who serves as general secretary of China's Communist Party.

McDonald's has been struggling in recent years to keep pace with fast-casual chains like Five Guys and Chipotle Mexican Grill.

So the fast-food giant is testing different menu options to lure back customers. Starting later this month, McDonald's diners will be able to choose a $4.99 sandwich — the Sirloin Third Pound burger.

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Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

Oyster, the subscription e-book service, announced Wednesday that it will be doing something that's a little bit retro: selling e-books the old-fashioned way, just one at a time.

Since its launch in 2013, Oyster has founded its brand — and earned the auspicious nickname "Netflix of books" — on a monthly payment model not unlike an all-you-can-eat buffet. Now, if readers would like to order just one of those dishes, so to speak, they can. Oyster has expanded its service to include an e-bookstore, which can also be accessed by those without a subscription.

Petroleum giant Royal Dutch Shell says it has agreed to buy the BG Group for about $70 billion in cash and shares — in what would be one of the biggest energy mergers in at least a decade.

NPR's Jim Zarroli reports that the deal for British BG Group would "put Shell on track to become the world's largest publicly traded oil and gas company within a few years, bypassing ExxonMobil."

Would you lead a more active lifestyle if it meant lower life insurance premiums? Insurer John Hancock and Vitality, a global wellness firm, are hoping the answer is yes. But there is a condition: They get to track your activity.

The practice is already employed in Australia, Europe, Singapore and South Africa, where Vitality is based.

Here's how popular craft brewed beer is these days: On average, a new brewery opens its doors every single day in the the U.S.

Clementine Lindley says she had a great college experience, but if she had it to do over again, she probably wouldn't pick an expensive private school.

"I could actually buy a small home in Helena, Mont., with the amount of debt that I graduated with," she says.

Fresh out of school, Lindley says there were times when she had to decide whether to pay rent, buy food or make her student loan payments.

"There was a time where I defaulted on my student loans enough that I never was sent to collections, but just long enough to, honestly, ruin my credit."

They are not blue jeans. They are not slacks. They are not chinos or khakis.

"They're like a jogger," Lee Davis says of his pants, walking through an outdoor mall in Los Angeles called The Grove. He's wearing them with a professional black cardigan over a designer white tee, with a crisp fitted baseball cap and fancy tennis shoes. The pants stand out the most. They fit him impeccably, with clear, tapered lines and a high-end, light-khaki material that flows luxuriously.

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