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It's Only Money

By Maxine Shapiro, KERA 90.1 business commentator

Dallas, TX – So how much lower can short-term interests go? Down a point and a quarter - that's it. But the Fed is already hinting that another drop in rates is unlikely in the near future. Rates haven't been this low since John F. Kennedy was President. We all know that mortgage rates also have been on the decline moving down with short-term rates. You'd be hard pressed to find anything negative about that - except for the current trend in bankruptcy filings. According to The Wall Street Journal, the latest research in those filings indicates the number of homeowners in bankruptcy protection has risen "sharply" in the past year. Five years ago there were 450,000, today - 750,000. The same people that were using these lower rates to buy bigger and better homes or to refinance to purchase more stuff are the same people who were already juggling a lot of debt. The Harvard researcher indicated, "We're only seeing the front end of this wave."

McDonald's, the Big Mac and Very Hot Coffee people, warned this year that earnings would be weaker than expected. Since June, their stock has been plummeting. Could this mean we're eating healthier?! I didn't say tastier, I said healthier - I'm still a sucker for their fries. Anyway, 175 restaurants are closing in Latin America and the Middle East. I'm surprised they were even in the Middle East for the three people that don't believe the cow is sacred. Unfortunately, four to six hundred employees will also be laid off. I don't think Texas has to worry.

And Nike has already broken ground in Fort Worth for its new research and design facility. The Dallas Business Journal asks a legitimate question, "Why Fort Worth?" Well, it's because it would be right near the home of the lead golf club designer, Tom Stites. This way they can test their new designs with Tour pros and maybe you the average golfer. Sorry, there are no average golfers in North Texas. For KERA Marketplace Middays, I'm Maxine Shapiro.

Marketplace Midday Reports air on KERA 90.1 Monday - Friday at 1:04 p.m. To contact Maxine Shapiro, please send emails to mshapiro@kera.org.