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Oil companies make do with breaking even

Oct 27, 2017

A few years ago, oil prices were hitting record highs. A barrel of West Texas Intermediate went for $107 dollars in the summer of 2014. Then, there was a fracking boom in the U.S., a worldwide oil supply glut and prices collapsed. Many oil producers went out of business. But oil prices are now picking up. Prices are hovering around $50 dollars a barrel and oil companies are adjusting to the new normal.

Click the audio player above to hear the full story.

Is Amazon finally poised for a complete retail takeover?

Oct 27, 2017

CVS is reportedly offering $66 billion to buy health insurer Aetna, and there's a lot at play here. But one reason behind the bid may be concern that Amazon is eyeing the prescription drug market. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported Amazon has approval to be a wholesale drug distributor in at least 12 states. Earlier this year, Amazon jumped into the grocery market, buying up Whole Foods. It also wants to drop packages inside your house.

Reining in federal regulation has been on lawmakers minds for decades. President Donald Trump and Republicans in Congress are just the latest to promise economic growth through deregulation.

But how did we become a regulatory state in the first place? On this season of "The Uncertain Hour," we traced it back to Ruth Desmond, a D.C.-area homemaker turned powerful consumer activist. By the 1970s she was the so-called Peanut Butter Grandma, the Terror of Washington who "spit in the corporate eye."

Thierry Gouegnon/Reuters

The contenders facing off in Liberia's presidential vote on Tuesday are a diverse group. 


There's a former professional soccer player, a Coca-Cola executive and a vice president who isn't on speaking terms with the current head of state. 

And then there are the two former warlords known for committing atrocities in Liberia's 14-year civil war. 

Republicans in Congress are moving toward a tax overhaul. On Thursday, the House approved a budget resolution that opens the door for a tax bill. There are a number of areas of focus, including corporate tax rates and retirement accounts. Congress has suggested capping the 401(k) annual contribution limit to just $2,400. With that in mind, this week's 5 Things You Need to Know looks at 401(k)s. Laura Adams, a personal finance expert and host of "The Money Girl Podcast," provides her advice below:

On this episode, we discuss the Affordable Care Act, get the lowdown on 401(k) plans and go inside the world of mature beauty tutorials on YouTube. Plus, stories on fashion subscription services and the unregulated business of donating a body to science. Weezer takes the Marketplace Quiz. 

Can subscription fashion services survive?

Oct 27, 2017

There's a type of retail that blends e-commerce with old-school, mail-order services: subscription boxes. 

At this point, there's not much you can't subscribe to — a box of meals. Collectibles. Snack foods. And, of course, apparel from services like Stitch Fix, which recently filed to go public.

It's one of the first subscription box companies to do so. Stitch Fix works simply: You fill out an online style profile, a human stylist looks it over and sends you several outfits the company hopes you'll love. 

CVS-Aetna merger would help the drugstore take on Amazon

Oct 27, 2017

CVS is in talks to buy Aetna, the health insurance company, for more than $66 billion, according to multiple reports. Combined, that company would be one of the largest health care companies in the country, with about $240 billion in yearly revenue. 

10/27/2017: U.S. economy grows at 3 percent rate

Oct 27, 2017

(Markets Edition) The House of Representatives has passed a budget blueprint that paves the way for an overhaul of America's tax system. But there are many, many unanswered questions about tax reform. Marketplace's Kimberly Adams is here with a monster list of the devils that lurk in the details. Afterwards, we'll chat with Christopher Low, chief economist at FTN Financial, about the U.S. economy's growth. Then, we'll discuss CVS attempt to merge with Aetna in a $66 billion deal — a move that CVS may need to stay competitive since Amazon may enter the pharmaceutical industry (again).

Children in Juchitán sing the national anthem and onlookers cry before bulldozers rake at what was once the largest school in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec in Oaxaca, Mexico's narrowest point. 

The area suffered the brunt of the damage from the 8.2 magnitude earthquake on Sept.7, the most powerful seismic event registered in Mexico in a century. A powerful 6.1 magnitude aftershock that hit the same region weeks later dealt a death blow to other buildings that had remained standing.

Amazon might go Canadian for its second headquarters

Oct 27, 2017

The applications are in, but we won't know until next year which of the 238 towns, cities, regions, provinces and territories will become the location for Amazon's second headquarters. That distinction could also bring along 50,000 jobs to the winning location.

While big U.S. cities like New York are major contenders, one Washington Post columnist has a very different region in mind. And that region isn't even in the U.S. 

Allan Sloan, a Marketplace regular, stopped by to discuss why he thinks Amazon will set up shop north of the border. Below is an edited transcript.

Oil earnings bubbling up

Oct 27, 2017

Exxon and Chevron report earnings today. Yesterday ConocoPhillips reported income that beat analysts’ estimates. Earlier in the week oil services firm Halliburton delivered strong earnings, with revenue up 10 percent. The earnings indicate the energy industry is in a minor rebound — after years of slump.

Click the audio player above to hear the full story. 

The English Avenue neighborhood on Atlanta’s Westside has struggled with crime and neglect for years. The street where John Ahmann stands is still dotted with vacant boarded-up houses. “When you look around here, you can see a lot of abandonment,” Ahmann said.

But Ahmann, who leads the Westside Future Fund, a nonprofit working to revitalize this neighborhood and the area around it, said change is coming.

(U.S. Edition) You go to CVS for shampoo, Tylenol and, maybe soon, your health insurance. The company is in talks to buy the health insurance company Aetna for more than $66 billion. We'll take a look at why someone would want a health insurance company these days, and the obstacles in the way of this merger. Afterwards, we'll look at how the energy industry is in a minor rebound. Then, to cap off today's show, Washington Post columnist Allan Sloan joins us to discuss his guess for Amazon's second headquarters. Hint: He doesn't think it'll be in the U.S.

At dusk on Oct. 17, a helicopter hovers above a candle-dotted landscape at the convergence of two of Barcelona’s central arteries. A pair of bespectacled women in their 70s, their furrowed brows illuminated by their votives’ flickering flames, tilt their heads skyward and brandish their middle fingers at the craft, joining a chorus of some 200,000 protesters as they intone, “Fora les forces d'ocupació” (“Out with the occupation forces”).