Data-Watching, Toyland Watchdogs
Bank shares weighed down markets in Asia and Europe, and U.S. investors started the day cautious. The Toy Industry Association is asking the government to set safety-testing standards.
NEWS AT A GLANCE
Waiting, watching, hoping
Bank shares weighed down markets in Asia and Europe this morning (Bloomberg), and U.S. investors started the day cautious as they waited to see more data. Some were hoping for bad news, to up the chances of a rate cut. (CNNMoney.com) Early today, Harley-Davidson lowered its motorcycle shipment target and warned on lower profits, saying “this is a difficult time for the U.S. consumer.” (MarketWatch) “Markets are very nervous of course because nobody knows how much this credit crisis will affect the economy,” said economist Ralf Wiedenmann at VP Bank in Zurich. (Retuters)
Toy makers seek a little oversight
The Toy Industry Association is asking the government to set safety-testing standards for all toys sold in the U.S., in a bid to restore consumer confidence. U.S. toy makers are worried that anger over recent recalls of dangerous toys will hurt sales in the crucial Christmas season. “If the consumer is aware that the government has some responsibility and is holding companies responsible, it will set their minds at ease,” said toy executive Jeff Holtzman. (The New York Times, free registration required) Congress is investigating Mattel’s policies for informing regulators about hazardous toys. (Reuters)
Lehman, National City cut mortgage jobs
Lehman Brothers and National City bank said they were cutting a combined 2,150 mortgage-related jobs, in another sign of fallout from the subprime mess. (Reuters) Home mortgage foreclosures reached a record high, the Mortgage Bankers Association reported yesterday, led by California, Florida, Nevada, and Arizona. About 6.5 percent of homeowners with mortgages are not keeping up with payments. And with many adjustable-rate mortgages resetting upward, notes Ellen Schloemer of the Center for Responsible Lending, “it’s going to be worse than we’ve seen in the history of the modern mortgage market.” (The Washington Post)
Two-Buck Chuck and wine’s antisnob
Winemaker Fred Franzia is much hated in Napa Valley, and one reason is his super low prices. Franzia’s Bronco Wine is the fourth-largest U.S. wine company, and it is best known for its award-winning Charles Shaw brand, which retails for $2 at Trader Joe’s stores in California. Franzia says his budget wines are partly aimed at exposing pretentiousness in the industry. “What Franzia is doing, more than creating outrageous quality, is exposing a lot of mediocre people,” says wine critic Gary Vaynerchuk. “There are so many fools in the wine industry who are overpriced.” (Business 2.0 in CNNMoney.com)
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
MOST POPULAR ON THE WEEK
- 31 TV shows to watch in 2014
- Why would a young person today be religious?
- The world's dumbest idea: Taxing solar energy
- He said he was leaving. She ignored him.
- Israel and Russia are getting along. Have the neocons noticed?
- Why Good Friday is so important to Christians
- Why we can't stop procrastinating, according to science
- The 6-year-old who woke up from a coma with a different personality
- 14 wonderful words with no English equivalent
- 100 orgasms a day: One woman's agonizing and rare medical disorder
Subscribe to the Week