Toyota Recalls Cars Over Spider Problem, & 5 More Things You'll Want to Know Today
• Toyota (TM) is recalling 870,000 late model Camrys, Venzas and Avalons, due to a Rube Goldberg-style problem that starts with a clogged drainage tube in their air conditioners and can end, eventually, with airbags to deploying randomly. According to Toyota, the only common denominator in the blockages was spiders building their webs in the tubes.
• Welcome back, school segregation: Across a wide swath of the American South and West, middle-class families have abandoned the public school system in such numbers that low-income students now make up a majority of public school students in 17 states. That's a huge demographic shift over just a few years, and one with serious public policy and social ramifications.
• Before the debt ceiling crisis was resolved this week, a host of pundits and experts were sounding the alarm, certain that a U.S. default would cause the dollar to plunge in value. %VIRTUAL-article-sponsoredlinks%Yet instead, as the nation approached the precipice, the dollar's value climbed. So what's happening now that Congress has at last done its job? The dollar has fallen to its lowest value since February, thanks to expectations that the Fed will keep its massive stimulus program going at full steam for significantly longer, to balance out the economic damage done by the government shutdown and debt ceiling battle.
• Bank of America (BAC) is considering offering a clever innovation to its retail customers: A checking account that won't let you overdraft your balance when taking money out of an ATM or making automatic bill payments, thus saving you from being hit with overdraft fees. (Bank accounts that won't let you withdraw more than your balance? Didn't we have those everywhere, once upon a time?)
• Morgan Stanley enjoyed a 50 percent revenue jump in its third quarter, thanks to higher income from equities sales and trading, which more than balanced out a decline from its fixed-income business. Makes you wonder why Morgan's (MS) clients are trading so much more than those at Goldman Sachs (GS), which reported this week that its revenue plunged by 20 percent last quarter due to its clients pulling back on their trading activities.
• And finally, top executives of Monsanto's (MON) Indian subsidiary, Mahyco, are among those being prosecuted in a major biopiracy case in that nation. Their alleged crime: Creating a genetically modified eggplant.