MARY REICHARD, HOST: Today is Monday, September 24th. Thank you for turning to WORLD Radio to help start your day. Good morning. I’m Mary Reichard.
NICK EICHER, HOST: And I’m Nick Eicher. Coming next on The World and Everything in It, the Monday Moneybeat.
We start today with two new Wall Street records: Both the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the Standard & Poor’s 500 indexes of stocks hit record high levels last week. The two finished a 10th winning week out of the last 12. Meantime, the two stock indexes enjoying even better years finished last week down. The smaller-company stock index, the Russell 2000, lost six-tenths of a percent, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq fell three-tenths on the week.
All those gains on Wall Street helped drive up household wealth in April, May, and June of this year to a record-high level $106.9 trillion. The United States Federal Reserve reported the second quarter was 2.1 percent better than the first. That is the 11th straight quarter in which American household net worth went up.
REICHARD: Meantime, global poverty is continuing to trend down. The World Bank reports on the global poverty rate every other year, and last week released its report on the year 2015. Overall global poverty fell to 10 percent. It dropped in every corner of the world except the Middle East and North Africa. The most extreme poverty is in sub-Saharan Africa, where 41.1 percent of the people there live on the equivalent of $1.90 or less per day.
EICHER: Next Sunday is the deadline for Canada and the United States to come to new terms on free trade. At the end of August, U.S. and Mexican negotiators agreed on a new trade pact to replace NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement. Under law, the administration must make public the text of the agreement by September 30th. That has given U.S. and Canadian officials time to work out a deal to make Canada part of the new agreement. Canada says it’s been working “24/7” to try to come to terms.
REICHARD: American realtors reported sales of existing homes was flat in August. Over the past year, sales have fallen 1-and-1/2 percent. What’s prevented growth is a lack of homes on the market priced at $250,000 or less. Which is to say, affordable to middle-income buyers. The government reported last week that new home construction grew in August by 9.2 percent.
EICHER: And finally, Congress is considering a bill that would begin to re-regulate the airline industry. Lawmakers are responding to public complaints that legroom is shrinking on American air-carriers. Not only that, but also complaints about extra fees on checked bags and to change travel plans. Right now, the typical charge is $200 if you need to change your ticket. Legislation would require those fees to be more closely based on actual costs to the airlines. For its part, American Airlines says it’ll just stop offering changes to nonrefundable tickets. If you buy one and need to change it, you’d be out the ticket and have to purchase new travel or just go without.
And that’s today’s Monday Moneybeat.