FROM Felix Salmon
Mark Zuckerberg and "Impact Investing" At the age of 31, Facebook Founder Mark Zuckerberg is one of the richest men in the world. Now he wants to invest in the future. He and his wife have pledged $45 billion to improve education, cure disease, connect people and build strong communities. It's a form of "impact investing" that supporters call the future of charity. Skeptics say it's a way of escaping taxes and increasing political power. We hear from both sides and look at what happened to Zuckerberg's earlier effort to reform public schools in Newark, New Jersey.
Ousted Yahoo Exec Gets $58 Million 'Golden Parachute' When Marissa Mayer became Yahoo's CEO, she lured her former colleague at Google, Henrique De Castro, to join her as Chief Operating Officer. Fifteen months later, she fired him, saying he was not a good "fit" after all. His severance package: $58 million. Did he earn his "golden parachute" after just 15 months of work? What does it say about the health of Yahoo, a major player in the high-flying world of communications technology? Felix Salmon, who blogs on finance for Reuters , picks up the story.
Is the Bitcoin a Boom or a Bubble? The price of a Bitcoin has jumped from $13 at the start of this year to more than a thousand, and it's still rising. Congress and federal regulators are beginning to pay attention. There already are Bitcoin millionaires — and Bitcoin criminals -- even though most people don't understand what a Bitcoin is. We hear about digital currency, controlled and stored in computers and traded across the Internet as a way to make payments. How does it work? Is it really safe? Is the value of Bitcoins subject to the old adage: what goes up must come down?
The Paradox of Rising Indicators in a Troubled Economy In 2009, the Dow Jones Industrial Average bottomed out at 6,500. Since then, it's more than doubled, with another record closing last week at 15,354. Standard & Poor's and other market indexes are also setting records and housing construction is showing signs of a restoration. But eight million people are still out of work, and a smaller percentage of people own homes than a decade ago. Is it time to feel good again about the economy or not? Are we in for increased prosperity or bursting bubbles? We get a reality check.
A Deal for Cyprus, but Upheaval May Not Be Over Last week, the parliament in Cyprus turned down a bailout proposed by Eurozone bankers. Today, the Cypriot government struck a new deal that does not require parliamentary approval. The country's economy could decline by 10 percent but the big short-term losers are Russian billionaires. The banks of Cyprus have been tax havens, with billions of uninsured deposits from Russian billionaires. Now at least one bank that got too big to fail is being allowed to — and those Russians will being paying the bills. Felix Salmon is a finance blogger for Reuters .
Federal Government Sues Standard & Poors for Fraud For the first time, the ratings industry is being held accountable for its role in the financial crisis. The Justice Department has charged Standard and Poor's with fraud. America's largest credit ratings agency earned record profits by making complex bundles of home mortgages look safer than they actually were, paving the way for the financial crisis. That's according to the Justice Department, which is accusing Standard and Poor's of knowing the ratings were wrong — and committing fraud. Felix Salmon is a finance blogger for Reuters .
Knight Capital and High Speed Trading on Wall Street The Wall Street market maker Knight Capital is back in business today, at a much-reduced value, despite the chaos caused by a computer malfunction last week. This latest incident reveals how computerized algorithms control the financial markets. What's their role in retail customer service — and choosing the next pop music star?
Algorithms on Wall Street and in the Rest of Our Lives Knight Capital is a so-called "market maker," using high-speed computers to keep Wall Street fair and orderly. Last week it created chaos instead. It's the latest in a series of computer malfunctions that are giving some investors the jitters by trading stocks faster than the human brain can function. Have the benefits of fast trading reached their limits? What's the role of computer algorithms in other parts of our lives? You may be surprised.
Markets Plunge Anew on Existential Worries about the Eurozone Are the leaders of Europe refusing to do the only things that might save the Euro and the European economy? As markets plunged again today, one finance blogger called for a "plain-English explanation of what the root of the problem is." Felix Salmon is financial blogger for Reuters .
NYSE Merges with the Bourse Last week, the London and Toronto stock exchanges announced a merger . Today, the New York and Frankfort Stock Exchanges have agreed to merge in a deal worth some $10 billion. What will that mean for the financial world and American shareholders? Felix Salmon is a finance blogger for Reuters who says, despite some big numbers, the deal itself isn't all that important.
Goldman Sachs Friends Facebook Goldman Sachs is investing $450 million in Facebook , with another $50 million from a Russian firm called Digital Sky Technologies and a billion more from so-called "high net-worth clients." The deal values Facebook at $50 billion — more than eBay, Yahoo or Time Warner. Felix Salmon is finance blogger for Reuters .
The Bank Bailout Is Over but the Fallout Continues The Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP , officially ended last Sunday. It was rolled out two years ago in the midst of a worldwide financial panic by George Bush’s Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson. He said $700 billion to bail out the banks, and Congress gave it to him. Now Senators and Representatives members of both parties, and the Obama Administration are playing an enormous political price.
The Bank Bailout Is Over but the Fallout Continues The Troubled Asset Relief Program was rolled out two years ago in the midst of a worldwide financial panic by George Bush's Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson. Introduced as a $700 billion bank bailout, it only spent a bit over half that much before officially ending last Sunday, and it might end up costing just $29 billion. Cheap at the price if it staved off a Depression, why is it one of the most unpopular programs in history? TARP saved Wall Street, AIG, General Motors and Chrysler, but failed to keep homeowners out of foreclosure and banks still are not lending. Now Senators and Representatives members of both parties, and the Obama Administration are playing an enormous political price. Do bankers getting bigger bonuses than ever think the government will bail them out next time? What are the prospects of that?
UK Government on the Warpath against Hefty Bank Bonuses In the aftermath of the TARP bailout, Wall Street firms have gone back to paying large bonuses without much complaint from Washington. In Britain today, Finance Secretary Vince Cable told BBC Radio that banks paying “unjustified” bonuses risk “very serious action.” He promised action against what he described as “an industry that has been bailed out by the taxpayer when these same taxpayers are now having to make very serious sacrifices in their own lives.” Financial journalist Felix Salmon is blogging editor for Reuters News .
An Endgame in Sight for Finance Reform As the Senate gets ready to vote on finance reform, The Financial Times has headlined, “Wall Street lobbyists braced for defeat.” Banks are highly unpopular this election year, and some conservative Republicans may join forces with liberal Democrats to crack down. But--even if Goldman Sachs could lose a big chunk of its profits—critics say the reforms deal more with symptoms than causes. Should states get back the authority they once had to protect consumers?
Trump plays scolder-in-chief with NATO allies At the opening of NATO’s dramatic new headquarters in Brussels today, President Trump acknowledged that Article 5 — promising that “an attack on one nation is an attack on all” -- has only been invoked one time: in the aftermath of September 11. But the President failed to provide what 27 other Alliance members have been waiting for: a re-commitment by America’s new leader to Article 5. Instead, they got a scolding.
The longest US war: Will Trump send more troops to Afghanistan? The Trump White House is divided over the Pentagon's request for more troops in Afghanistan—where the US has been fighting for the past 16 years. Is there a formula -- either for "victory" or a political settlement? Is there an end in sight for America's longest war?
White House budget proposal slashes and burns President Trump's first budget request is considered dead on arrival in Congress — a familiar development in Capitol Hill. We hear what it reveals about the priorities of the new administration. What's likely to die… and what might survive?
Human Rights in the era of Donald Trump President Trump’s UN Ambassador, Nikki Haley, said today the US might pull out of the United Nations’ Human Rights Council. Serious violators of human rights are members of the Council itself–and a US resignation could make things worse. Later on today’s show, now that he’s into his second term, comedian turned US Senator Al Franken is telling jokes again.