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Award-winning Marketplace is public radio's daily magazine on business and economics news "for the rest of us." The 30-minute program—with an irreverent reporting style all its own—airs weekday evenings on more than 320 public radio stations nationwide and boasts the largest audience for any business program in the United States on radio, cable or network television. In conjunction with Marketplace Morning Report and Marketplace Money, this trio of financial programming covers listeners from wallet to Wall Street.

How volatile is the market? Let's consult the VIX

11 hours ago
Kai Ryssdal

The Volatility Index (VIX) measures whether or not there’s too much fear or optimism in the markets. Robert Whaley, father of the VIX, says at the “beginning of the week it was about at a level of 12, at the end of the week it was at 28. That was the biggest percentage increase the VIX has ever had in its entire history.”

Currently, the VIX is around 34 percent. But what exactly does that mean? “It’s a measure of the volatility you expect over the next 30 days,” Whaley says. He adds that the VIX is usually around 20 percent.

No worries on China's streets

12 hours ago
Kai Ryssdal, Rob Schmitz and Hayley Hershman

The Yuan devaluation and China’s market crash has caused global chaos. But Rob Schmitz, Marketplace’s China correspondent in Shanghai, says people on the street in China really aren’t that worried. A Sichuan restaurant owner told Schmitz “that business is really good.”

“Most importantly [China’s] got a growing economy," Schmitz says. "We've seen the headlines this week about China’s market crash ... [but] China’s economy is continuing to grow at around 6 or 7 percent, faster than nearly every other economy in the world.”

No, the economy is not like a roller coaster

12 hours ago
Sam Weiner

When the market goes wild, people say the economy is like a roller coaster. And, frankly, I am sick and tired of this disgusting comparison. Someone has got to stick up for the inventor of roller coasters, my grandfather, Dr. Johann T. Rollercoaster.

And yes, laugh at his name if you must. It was changed at Ellis Island from the original Rollercoasterstein.

How Nevada could cast a shadow over solar

13 hours ago
Scott Tong

A big bet on solar energy may be about to go sour in Nevada. State regulators are considering a utility's proposal to charge owners of rooftop solar systems a monthly fee for being connected to the grid.

That kind of fee, called a demand charge, would take the savings out of solar for most homeowners, undermining the business model of solar companies. Utilities in several states are pressing for similar charges. One big solar installer, Vivint Solar, has already stopped doing business in Nevada because of the uncertainty.

Blame low wages on slack

13 hours ago
Nancy Marshall-Genzer

A new report from the Congressional Budget Office is shedding some light on why wages aren’t going up, even as the unemployment rate goes down. 

Blame it on slack, the CBO says. That is, extra workers in the labor market — people who’ve given up looking for a job. 

These extra workers aren’t officially counted as unemployed because they’re not looking for work. They might be boomers who are pushed toward an unexpectedly early retirement. Or millennials who decide to stay home with the kids.

Marketplace for Wednesday, August 26, 2015

13 hours ago

What we've learned about the market's safety nets; Apple's "Sinodependency"; and stopping the roller coaster metaphor in its tracks.

Getting caught up in Wall Street's safety nets

13 hours ago
Sabri Ben-Achour

For decades now, when stock markets have melted down for one reason or another, markets and regulators have created rules to keep it from happening again.

“We have a number of protections against fat-finger trades,” says James Angel, associate professor of finance at Georgetown’s McDonough school of business. Fat-finger trades are when someone just presses the wrong button. “This happens all the time — someone puts a decimal point in the wrong place or hits buy instead of sell.”

Brokers — or, more specifically, their computers — catch these sorts of things automatically. 

China's luxury buyers are an endangered species

13 hours ago
Mark Garrison

China’s latest economic troubles could be the last thing luxury companies need. Once the great hope for growth for American and European makers of handbags, shoes and jewelry, the Chinese luxury buyer is now a threatened species, with China’s currency losing value and stock market slumping.

PODCAST: Wall Street's rusty plumbing

16 hours ago
David Brancaccio

Stocks are rallying early in the day, but after yesterday's last-minute drop, we try and figure out what we're in for. Then: all the recent volatility is exposing some issues with the way the markets are handling exchange traded funds. Finally: we look at the winners and losers in Corinthian College's bankruptcy plan.

Abercrombie bets future earnings on a turnaround

Aug 26, 2015
Andy Uhler

Abercrombie & Fitch is reporting second quarter earnings just a week after its stock hit a more than six-year low, and the retailer announced it is restructuring its front office by bringing in a batch of new designers and executives to reinvent the brand.

Freakonomics and end-of-life health care

Aug 25, 2015
Kai Ryssdal and Stephen Dubner

Stephen Dubner admits that he and the team behind Freakonomics Radio sometimes explore ideas most sane people would leave untouched. This time, Dubner decided to look at the economics of end-of-life health care.

It’s certainly a touchy subject, but also one that most families will have to face at some time in their lives.

It's a contraction, not another Great Recession

Aug 25, 2015
Mitchell Hartman

U.S. financial markets rallied through most of the Tuesday, then fell back in the final hour of trading to close with another day of solid losses.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 204 points, 1.3 percent, to close at 15,666. The Standard & Poor's 500 index dropped 25 points, 1.3 percent, to close at 1867. The Nasdaq fell 19 points, 0.44 percent, to close at 4506. The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury bond rose to 2.07 percent.

China's struggle for a free (stock) market

Aug 25, 2015
Sabri Ben-Achour

China’s stock market was conceived with an entirely different purpose than stock markets of large economies elsewhere, says Scott Kennedy, director of the Project on Chinese Business and Political Economy at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Investors want McDonald's out of real estate

Aug 25, 2015
Nancy Marshall-Genzer

If you think things are tough for McDonald’s now, imagine what it was like when the company was starting out.  

Banks didn’t want to loan McDonald’s money. So the Golden Arches transformed itself into a business the banks would lend to.  

Sort of a real estate company. Buying land and building restaurants, then renting them to franchisees. The sales pitch became:

Marketplace for Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Aug 25, 2015

No, it's not 2008; China's stock market has a long way to go; and the tough business of steel.

In Texas, a coal mine opens to power Mexico

Aug 25, 2015
Ingrid Lobet

The coal industry is struggling as cheaper and cleaner natural gas undercuts coal, and environmental regulations push utilities to shut down their older coal-burning plants.

Yet new coal mines open and others expand. In one Texas county on the Mexican border, local officials and residents seem nearly united in their opposition to a new coal strip mine, the Eagle Pass Mine. The company that owns it, Dos Republicas Coal Partnership, says it intends to ship out the first load of coal by train next month.

The steel business is trying to stay strong

Aug 25, 2015
Kai Ryssdal and Hayley Hershman

With the economy still recovering, and the chaos with the stock markets and China, business is tough in the U.S. Lisa Goldenberg, president of the Delaware Steel Company, says things “could always be better. We’re still in recovery period…. Recovery, good recovery, takes a long time, years, 10 years.”

In addition to that, Goldenberg has to keep her eye on the ups and downs happening in China.

You have to give him a hand

Aug 25, 2015
Carrie Barber

2 days

That's the amount of time it takes to make parts for an award-winning robotic hand on a 3-D printer, the BBC reports. Joel Gibbard of Open Bionics says he can use a sensor on his tablet to size an amputee in minutes, print the parts in about 40 hours and fit them together in two hours. The prototype earned Gibbard the James Dyson engineering award, which carries a $3,500 prize and the chance to win the $45,000 international title.

10 percent

PODCAST: Looking for a rebound

Aug 25, 2015
Noel King

China tries to take control of its economy, looking for a rebound after Black Monday, and how Chicago's "zombie homes" got that way. 

Molly Wood

If all of a sudden there were a huge sale on what are normally out-of-reach, expensive goods, you'd probably go shopping, right? 

Well, that sale happened yesterday, when Black Monday became a two-fer: A massive selloff on Wall Street, and also an opportunity for bargain shopping, Black Friday style. Tech stocks had huge and high-profile markdowns, and today they're leading the rebound. That's because, in some ways, Netflix, Apple and Google are like the Chanel, Hermes and Prada of Wall Street: They never go on sale, so when they do? You get in line. 

Market Update: Is it a correction?

Aug 25, 2015
Paddy Hirsch

Here's another way the markets are not like the real world: in the markets, the B word is worse than the C word. So much worse!

C is for Correction, a sharp drop in prices, with a defined ending and a recovery.

B, on the other hand, is for bear market, a long-term drop, with no obvious end.

Here's a short video explaining the difference: 

Here's one reason bank-owned homes sit vacant

Aug 25, 2015
Dan Weissmann

This summer, a group of Chicago men were arrested for taking over 14 vacant, foreclosed homes in prosperous neighborhoods — living in some and renting out the rest. How do foreclosed houses stay vacant so long?

One of the houses, a brick three-bedroom on the corner of 98th and Damen, went into foreclosure in five years ago.

How is Best Buy's turnaround going?

Aug 25, 2015
Annie Baxter

In 2012, Best Buy was reeling from a management scandal and stiff competition from the likes of Amazon and Wal-Mart.

“The general consensus was that Best Buy was on the road to bankruptcy,” says analyst Anthony Chukumba with BB&T. 

Housing market is one upbeat note right now

Aug 25, 2015
Mitchell Hartman

A key asset class for many American households that is not suffering from a crisis of investor confidence and wild volatility is the U.S. housing market.

After the recession, housing was the missing leg of the recovery, beset by depressed prices, extremely tight credit, millions of homeowners underwater and a large percentage of properties in default, foreclosure or bank-owned. Home construction ground to a halt. 


Airing on Tuesday, August 25, 2015:  The latest on China's move to cut interest rates to quell the market plunge. As stocks tumble, there is one number that’s going up — the price of your home. Plus, with Best Buy's earnings report, we look at its turnaround campaign, which includes moving to private-label electronics. 

Marketplace Tech for Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Aug 25, 2015

Airing on Tuesday, August 25, 2015: On today's show, how swings in the stock market impact startups and investors. Also, a look at how Windows 95 compares to Windows 10 on the day of the operating system's 20th birthday. 

Kai Ryssdal

You've heard by now that the stock market took a pretty steep downturn, but not everyone is concerned. Click below to hear our survey of listeners from across the country to see how they're feeling about all the chaos:

Joke stealing is no laughing matter

Aug 24, 2015
Kai Ryssdal and Adrienne Hill

When the self-titled internet comedian the Fat Jewish, aka Josh Ostrovsky, got picked up by a talent agency, people took note.

“This guy basically built a career around aggregating/stealing, depending on how you want to call it, other people’s content … often without attribution,” says Marketplace's Adriene Hill. "The news that he got picked up by CAA sort of made everybody’s head explode a little bit.”

The larger issue around this is whether or not jokes fall under copyright law.

As 911 outages increase, FCC considers new rules

Aug 24, 2015
Nova Safo

Imagine this scenario: You have an emergency. You pick up the phone and dial 911. And no one answers.

It seems unthinkable. But a year ago, more than 6,600 emergency calls went unanswered in an outage that affected 11 million people. Officials say there were no deaths as a result.

The cause of the outage was a software glitch. And outages like it are happening more often, as the nation's 911 system transitions from analog to digital.

Marketplace for Monday, August 24, 2015

Aug 24, 2015

OK, let's just step back a minute and break this all down. We've got China correspondent Rob Schmitz explaining the Shanghai meltdown; Scott Tong fills us in on the end of the commodities producers' party; and Sabri Ben-Achour tells us how vulnerable the U.S. really is.