National News

Small investors still skipping stocks

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2014-12-31 08:41

Every year, Bankrate.com takes the pulse of average Americans with a survey, called the financial security index. And every year since the financial crisis, people have said they’re staying away from stocks, even as the markets rose.

“Risk aversion among individual investors still remains very, very high,” says Greg McBride, Bankrate’s chief financial analyst. 

Seventy-three percent of the people interviewed for the 2014 survey said they were not more inclined to invest in stocks. McBride says usually at this point in a financial recovery, small investors do flock back to the markets, but not this time.

“They bought in right before the market peak in 2000, they sold out at the bottom, got back in and then got burned again," McBride says. "And a lot of those individual investors simply have never come back to the equity markets.”

There can be consequences for investors who stay out of stocks, because, historically, the markets have been your best investment for retirement. 

“You’ve got two choices" if you skip stocks, says Stuart Ritter, a senior financial planner with T Rowe Price. "One, you need to save more to make up for the earnings you’re not getting, or two, you need to recognize you’re going to have a smaller balance, and a lower lifestyle in retirement.”

Ritter says over every 15-year-period since 1926, the S&P 500 has gone up.

He says your best strategy is to ride out the short-term ups and downs, and invest for the long term.

A Son Is Lost Without His Mother. So Is A Country

NPR News - Wed, 2014-12-31 08:37

Dr. Ameyo Adadevoh is hailed as a hero in Nigeria. She and her team refused to release an Ebola patient who was demanding to leave the hospital. But her dedication came at a cost.

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Fallen Heroes: A Tribute to The Health Workers Who Died Of Ebola

NPR News - Wed, 2014-12-31 08:31

The virus has taken a tragic toll in their ranks. At hospitals and clinics, their photos are displayed along with messages from their friends and family: "May you rest in perfect peace."

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Obama's Iran Remarks Labeled Conciliatory, Naive

NPR News - Wed, 2014-12-31 08:11

In an interview with NPR, the president left open the door to reopen the embassy in Tehran, called Iran's defense concerns "legitimate" and said it could become a "successful regional power."

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Md. Governor To Commute Sentences Of State's Remaining Death Row Inmates

NPR News - Wed, 2014-12-31 08:11

Martin O'Malley said it didn't make sense to allow this play out in the judiciary when the legislature had already decided to outlaw the death penalty.

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10 Final Thoughts Of The Protojournalist

NPR News - Wed, 2014-12-31 07:13

As the sun sets on The Protojournalist storytelling project, I reflect on the question: What have I done?

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A Look Back At The Top 5 Shots Posts In 2014

NPR News - Wed, 2014-12-31 06:46

In a year filled with gripping health stories, here are the ones that were the most popular with Shots readers. Think beauty pageant queens, pronouns and Ebola.

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Happy New Year! Now, Look Back At The Most Popular Stories Of 2014

NPR News - Wed, 2014-12-31 06:28

Beauty queens and baseball videos, as well as hard news on Ebola and the Michael Brown case in Ferguson were the stories of biggest interest to NPR.org visitors. There were also cats, of course.

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Quiz: The most popular Advanced Placement classes

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2014-12-31 04:49

There are more than 30 AP courses, but not all of them are widely offered.

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Cuban Authorities Detain Artist, Dissidents, Thwarting Performance

NPR News - Wed, 2014-12-31 04:14

Cuban artist Tania Bruguera asked people to use a microphone to outline their vision of the country. Bruguera, however, was detained before the performance even started.

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PODCAST: AirTran gets grounded

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2014-12-31 03:00

The perils of predicting interest rates on New Year's Eve. And more than marking the new year, tonight will also be the most expensive night to take an Uber. More on that. Plus, for nearly two decades, AirTran Airways has been the "scrappy" airline. It consistently did more with less, kept airfares in check, and thrived even when other airlines went bankrupt. AirTran flew for the final time Sunday night. It's been a slow process merging with Southwest Airlines; almost five years now. So what will Southwest do to keep the AirTran-spirit alive?

PODCAST: AirTrans gets grounded

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2014-12-31 03:00

The perils of predicting interest rates on New Year's Eve. And more than marking the new year, tonight will also be the most expensive night to take an Uber. More on that. Plus, for nearly two decades, AirTran Airways has been the "scrappy" airline. It consistently did more with less, kept airfares in check, and thrived even when other airlines went bankrupt. AirTran flew for the final time Sunday night. It's been a slow process merging with Southwest Airlines; almost five years now. So what will Southwest do to keep the AirTranspirit alive?

U.S. Transfers Five Guantanamo Detainees To Kazakhstan

NPR News - Wed, 2014-12-31 02:50

The transfer is part of a plan to close the detention facility in Cuba. The Pentagon says there are still 127 detainees at Guantanamo.

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AirTran Folds its wings

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2014-12-31 02:02

It’s taken nearly four years, but Southwest Airlines Sunday completed its $1.4-billion acquisition of AirTran Airways with one last flight.

Cheers erupted as AirTran’s Boeing 717 took off Sunday from Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport bound for Tampa. AirTran Flight 1 was long sold out, and more than 800 hopeful travelers added their names to the standby list. 

Southwest’s Bob Jordan has been running AirTran’s operations for the past few years.  Over a scratchy PA system, he thanked AirTran’s employees. 

“This is awesome. It’s a fantastic way to commemorate this last flight, and a fantastic way to move forward as one awesome company,” he said. 

The journey traced ValuJet’s 1993 inaugural flight. After a deadly crash in the Florida Everglades in 1998, ValuJet struggled to survive. It eventually re-emerged as AirTran. 

Trish Krider worked as a flight attendant under both names. She says AirTran’s final moment is a proud one. 

“The fact we fought from ValuJet all the way to where we are, to be a company that Southwest wanted to own, is just the most amazing, amazing experience,” Krider said after the flight landed in Tampa. 

By airline standards, Southwest’s merger with AirTran was smooth. For one thing, there were no layoffs. 

AirTran flight attendant Tana Thomas says the airlines’ family-like corporate cultures were a lot alike. And that helped. 

“I see their scrappiness being one and the same,” she said. “It’s like they’re on full-throttle.” 

The merger allowed Southwest access to key markets, like Washington-National and Atlanta. The merger also opened up international routes for the first time. 

And although it’s been a long merger, it’s proving to be a profitable one. Air Transport World just named Southwest its airline of the year. And the Dallas-based carrier’s stock was the year’s best performer on the S&P 500.

Catching an Uber on New Year's Eve? It'll cost you.

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2014-12-31 02:00

Uber expects to be busy New Year's Eve, and its policy of raising rates when demand is high, or surge pricing, is economics 101. Low demand leads to lower prices. Higher demand means a company can jack up prices and customers will still pay.

Defenders of the surge pricing policy say Uber is transparent, warning riders that getting from point A to point B will cost them more. Still, the concept is a new one for many people,so even if there's no trickery involved, there's still likely to be pushback from frustrated users whocan't understand why their car delivery service raises prices, right when they most need a ride.

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Uber surges for New Year's Eve

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2014-12-31 02:00

Uber expects to be busy New Year's Eve, and its policy of raising rates when demand is high, or surge pricing, is economics 101. Low demand leads to lower prices. Higher demand means a company can jack up prices and customers will still pay.

Defenders of the surge pricing policy say Uber is transparent, warning riders that getting from point A to point B will cost them more. Still, the concept is a new one for many people, and so even if there's no trickery involved, there's still likely to be pushback from frustrated users who just can't understand why their car delivery service raises prices, right when they most need a ride.

Click the media player above to hear more.

American Apparel closes a challenging year

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2014-12-31 02:00

American Apparel once stood for some combination of sexy, creepy, and made-in-the-USA. But after a year of flat sales, the company is making some changes, at least at the top. As of January 5, the company will have a new CEO, as its infamous self-proclaimed "dirty guy" was fired after a long string of harassment allegations (and flat sales). And now hedge fund Lion Capital is reportedly pushing the company to find a new owner. But can a change at the top alter the brand's bottom line? 

Marshal Cohen, chief retail analyst at the NPD Group, says it faces new competition in the "fashionable basics" category. And Jennifer Black, CEO of Jennifer Black & Associates, says to succeed in this new environment will take both low prices and to nail the next fashion trend.

Click the media player above to hear more.

Weather Hampers AirAsia Search, Sonar May Have Found Parts Of Plane

NPR News - Wed, 2014-12-31 01:37

Sonar may have located parts of the AirAsia flight that disappeared Sunday over the Java Sea with 162 people on board. Recovery teams have now pulled at least seven bodies from the choppy waters.

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Doing the numbers on New Years Eve

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2014-12-31 01:30
11,875 pounds

The weight of the ball set to drop in Times Square at midnight. This year's time ball is decorated with 32,256 light bulbs, compared to 100 on the first ball to drop in New York back in 1907.

3,000 pounds

Speaking of Times Square, that's how much confetti will be thrown out when that ball drops.

19

That's how many cities allow public drinking in some fashion, including New Orleans; Lincoln, Nebraska; Las Vegas and Erie, Pennsylvania. The Huffington Post has a map and a history of public drinking laws in the U.S.

Courtesy:Huffington Post 50x

That's Uber's maximum surge pricing multiplier. It's a ceiling they've never actually hit, save for one experiment in Sweden. Still, the car service expects Wednesday night to be among its busiest ever, and the company advises requesting a ride before midnight or after 2:30 a.m. to avoid peak rates.

71.2 percent

The portion of Jawbone Up fitness tracker users who are awake at midnight on New Year's, lower than most other countries with a high number of Up users.

$7.3 billion

That's how much ESPN is paying to broadcast seven college football playoff games a year over 12 years. The first in 2015 is the Rose Bowl, starting at 5 p.m. Thursday. 

Waiting For A Break: Obama on 'Strategic Patience' In Foreign Policy

NPR News - Wed, 2014-12-31 01:00

"I believe in diplomacy, I believe in dialogue, I believe in engagement," the president says of Iran and other regimes perceived as U.S. enemies. But he says restoring relations is a gradual process.

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