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It's Only Money

By Maxine Shapiro, KERA 90.1 business commentator

Dallas, TX – It's Friday so "It's Only Money," a review of the big and not-so-big stories of the week. I'm Maxine Shapiro with KERA Marketplace Midday.

Bye-bye, February. It will take quite a rally in the market today to make up for the ground we lost this month. As of yesterday's close, the Dow was down 169 points for the month - 133 of those were lost this week. But with today's good news, we just might recover some of it. The economy grew at double the pace that was originally anticipated for the fourth quarter. And another consumer confidence number reported today that we are not as unconfident as we were earlier in the week. Besides our frightful weather on Tuesday, the consumer confidence number scared the wits out of the rest of the nation. "THEY" had expected a small decline, but not the 14 points that brought the index to an almost ten-year low. But explain this if you would - today's University of Michigan number showed an improvement in confidence. I guess the consumer is a little manic this week.

So you're in one of those minimum-security jails for securities fraud. It's in Florida, your tan is lookin' good and you have to serve 41 months. But what's happening to your company that bares your name? Steve Madden Limited just reported a 34% increase in yearly sales thanks to its trendy platform shoes. Why, in honor of the man serving time, a new line is being introduced: "Steven." The shoes will be geared more to the adult - less platform. No one knows if Madden will return to designing at the company when he's out. The company is visibly doing fine without him.

And what would you do if you had the chance to rent, for four months, a Picasso, Goya, Matisse, Dubuffet or Chagall, not to mention dozens of contemporary artists, for $5? Would you stand out in a snowstorm for 29 hours while the temperature dropped to 8 degrees? If you're an Oberlin College student, yes. Twice a year, the university rents these masterpieces to students. In the fall, it's a fun campout. In the winter, it's work. There are two stipulations: no transporting it via bike, and no hanging it in the bathroom. For KERA Marketplace Midday, 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