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EconNews Online

EconNews Online is South-Western's service to provide summaries of the latest economics news stories. Review the brief summaries and, for stories of interest, select the full summary.
PRODUCT MARKETS  
Title  Brief Summary 
Heroin Still a Strong Market in Some Parts of the World
Full Summary 
The trade in opium, the main ingredient in production of heroin is remaining stable in Afghanistan, despite the government’s attempts to reduce the trade. Nowhere else is the market as concentrated than in Helmand province, which produces over half of the total in Afghanistan, which produces 92% of the global supply. And it appears that there will be another record crop this year.
(Updated July, 2007)
DutchFlowerAuctions.Com Not Far Away
Full Summary 
It used to be that flowers were grown near markets. Transport costs were high, and with such a fragile commodity as roses, the nearer to the market the grower was, the more profitable the operation. Now, logistical advances are changing all of that.
(Updated June, 2007)
Would You Like Fries With Your Antibiotics?
Full Summary 
Health care has a new player in the market: quick clinics designed to serve people who want common ailments diagnosed at a lower cost than a visit to the doctor. RediClinic and MinuteClinic, two of the most prominent chains in the US, expect to rapidly increase the number of clinics over the next few years. Why are they so popular?
(Updated May, 2007)
People are Discovering that They Can Make Money off of Other People's Desire to be Fit
Full Summary 
Surveys document that 25% of Americans want to feel more "in balance" with their lives. And a 35 year-old is more likely to feel this way than a 65 year-old. Can we say, new industry? Yes, we can.
(Updated January, 2007)
The Internet, the Post Office, and FedEx-New Best Buds
Full Summary 
Last year, the U.S. Postal Service saw its revenue from first-class mail fall by 1%, most likely the victim of email, fax and other forms of online communication. So why is it embracing the Internet? Because last year its revenue from package delivery rose 2.8%, as it handled over 3 billion packages of items sold over the Internet.
(Updated August, 2006)
Can you stop at the corner—I Need a Burrito, a Big Gulp, and a Flu Shot
Full Summary 
Now! In stores near you, clinics are beginning to pop up, offering walk-in health services at a fraction of the cost of visiting emergency rooms or your doctor's office. Approximately 100 such clinics around the country are already in business; parent companies hope to expand to over 2,000 mini-clinics in the next three years.
(Updated May, 2006)
Is Wal-Mart good for you?
Full Summary 
Wal-Mart earned over $312 billion in revenues last year, employed 1.3 million workers in the U.S. alone, and had 3,800 stores in the U.S.-and counting. So is it doing any good?
(Updated March, 2006)
Lining up buyers and sellers can start to look a lot like antitrust activity
Full Summary 
Economists and government regulators alike are beginning to look at “two-sided markets:” economists because we don’t understand such markets very well, and regulators because these transactions can begin to look anti-competitive.
(Updated February, 2006)
China...the New Steel Magnate
Full Summary 
The United States, Britain and Germany were once the kings of steel, dominating worldwide production. They were dethroned by Japan in the 1970s. There’s about to be a new king...China.
(Updated February, 2006)
Maybe we’ll like having advertisers up in our face and on our phone
Full Summary 
Marketers are discovering the potential of sending advertising messages to individual cellular phones, arguing that it’s a way of further refining their target audiences.
(Updated February, 2006)
The Nine-Blade Razor Can’t Be Far Behind…
Full Summary
Gillette is convinced that men continually seek a better, closer shave. In the first quarter of 2006, it will launch the Fusion, the first five-blade razor, in both manual and battery-powered versions.
(Updated October 2005)
Broadband Just Keeps Getting Cheaper And Cheaper
Full Summary
SBC Communications has announced a move to lower the price of broadband Internet access for only $14.95 a month, sharply undercutting competitors, and putting it below the cost of some dialup plans. The move is putting significant pressure on competitors to follow suit and lower prices.
(Updated August 2005)
Wireless Users Find They Can't Completely Cut The Cord...
Full Summary 
The percentage of wireless-only households increased to 6% last year, an increase over the previous year. But the increase isn't as large or as dramatic as experts predicted it to be.
(Updated August, 2005)
Kodak Struggles To Learn From Its Past Mistakes
Full Summary 
Around 5 years ago, Kodak decided to move away from its core business of working with silver halide film, and enter the world of digital photography. It's learning that these may have been smart steps taken a little too late.
(Updated August, 2005)
Whole Foods makes any condo nicer...
Full Summary
Texas-based grocery chain Whole Foods believes it has the answer to the scarcity of urban grocery stores: locate stores in new skyscraper condo complexes.
(Updated July 2005)
Hey, Hon! Get me a Happy Meal while you get one for the kids!
Full Summary
In response to changing consumer trends toward healthier eating, McDonald's announced that on May 6, 2004, it would roll out Adult Happy Meals, called "Go Active!" meals, in all 13,600 U.S. domestic McDonald's restaurants.
(Updated June, 2004)
Yeah….Um…. I Want to Return $1.6 Billion in Planes?
Full Summary
As consumers shift away from air delivery of goods to less-expensive ground delivery, UPS is negotiating with Airbus to cancel up to US $1.6 billion in A300-600 aircraft orders.
(Updated April, 2004)
Aging Becomes Even Less Appealing
Full Summary
Becoming older used to mean senior discounts. But now, because seniors are often wealthier than younger people, and as the number of seniors swells, price breaks are disappearing.
(Updated October 1, 2001)
Water Ads and the Rising Tide in the Bottled Water Market
Full Summary
In the fast-growing bottled water market, PepsiCo's Aquafina's ads are very simple, to match its mineral-free water. Coke's ads for Dasani emphasize its wellness benefits. Both companies hope to create powerful brand images that will help consumers recognize differences between the bottled waters.
(Updated September 1, 2001)
Do Discounts and Gifts Portend a Free-For-All in German Product Markets?
Full Summary
German law helps businesses by restricting competition through rebates, discounts and free gifts. However, Internet competition is bringing imminent changes in the law that should help consumers.
(Updated May 1, 2001)
Ignorance is Not Blissful
Full Summary
Prices of similar products vary between the UK and European countries nearby. Consumers appear to put up with these differentials because they are confused about prices. This leads to higher prices and lower quality. More information is needed.
(Updated March 1, 2001)
E-Commerce Software Portends Hard Times for Producers
Full Summary
The Internet makes it easy for shoppers to compare prices. Now software produced by companies such as ClickTheButton and Dash shows comparisons while on the web page of an individual company. Non-participants may lose out.
(Updated January 1, 2000)
Coffee is Now Served - In Inner City Shops
Full Summary 
Starbucks is bucking the trend of retail outlets avoiding inner-city locations. It is partnering with Magic Johnson to open several new coffee shops in black neighborhoods. Early sales are good. Other companies may be encouraged to follow suit. (Updated August 12, 1998)
Oil’s Well That Ends Well...
Full Summary 
In an uneasy alliance, Venezuela, Mexico, and Saudi Arabia have agreed to reduce their oil production. Oil prices had fallen to historically-low levels. They have now begun to rebound. (Updated August 12, 1998)
Summer Seasonal Shortage
Full Summary 
Labor shortages in seasonal markets which use summer help have led to various strategies, ranging from reducing business hours, to recruiting nontraditional workers and extending overtime, to raising wages and benefits. (Updated August 12, 1998)
AirTran's Formation 
Full Summary 
Following the Valujet crash, the airline is improving its image through equipment enhancements, employee training and appearance, reserved seating, and a change of name. Profits may well re-emerge but AirTran still faces suspicion from consumers and competition from other airlines. (Updated June 5, 1998)
Chrysler Crisis
Full Summary 
In the face of overcapacity in the auto industry, producers including Chrysler are giving substantial incentives to consumers. However, Chrysler anticipates that new models will reduce the need for incentives, and that the oversupply will not worsen. In other news, Chrysler is hoping that regulators will approve its merger with Daimler-Benz. (Updated June 5, 1998)
Class Divisions Become More Pronounced
Full Summary 
The airlines are making flying much more pleasant for business-class passengers and those paying full coach fare. Economy fliers are suffering a worsening of conditions in some cases. Airlines explain that they are merely giving high-paying customers what they have paid for. (Updated June 5, 1998)
Higher Prices a Theme at Parks
Full Summary 
The major theme parks have increased their admission fees in the wake of cost increases. New and better rides are being constructed, and there has been an increase in the minimum wage. Although people complain, they continue to visit the parks in record numbers. (Updated June 5, 1998)
Will Air Fares Go Sky High? 
Full Summary 
The airlines are attempting to increase fares, prompted in part by the fact that flights are nearly full. In contrast, hotel rates continue their climb... (Updated June 5, 1998)
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