And for the past few months, global stock markets appeared to be on an escalator going up, relentlessly reaching new highs. This week, that ride seems to be over - or maybe not. To find out, we turn, as we often do, to David Wessel, he's the economics editor of The Wall Street Journal.
DAVID WESSEL: Good morning, Renee.
MONTAGNE: David, put the stock markets into perspective for us. Apart from the day-to-day ups and downs, which we have been seeing, how have the markets been doing?
In Massachusetts, what's been a relatively lackluster campaign to fill the U.S. Senate seat vacated by Secretary of State John Kerry is heating up. Veteran Democratic Rep. Ed Markey is running against Republican Gabriel Gomez, a businessman and former Navy SEAL. Gomez is a political newcomer.
Monday's tornado in Moore, Okla., killed 24 people and caused an estimated $2.2 billion worth of damage. As the community reflects on what happened, one question is: How did so many manage to survive such devastating destruction?
Lifelong Oklahoman Kristi Freeman has seen her share of tornadoes, but she says the twister that tore through her neighborhood Monday was something else.
"This tornado was like a monster. It was like something that was alive. It destroyed your peace, your comfort," she says.
More, now, on the new federal health care law. States are preparing for that law to take effect. In California, officials have now unveiled plans - and prices - for millions of residents who will be using a new health insurance exchange to purchase their coverage next year. This is a key test of the federal health law's ability to draw competitive bids from insurance companies. Sarah Varney reports.
The collapse sent people and vehicles into the water Thursday night. Authorities say there were no fatalities. The bridge, about an hour north of Seattle, lost its northernmost span — taking out all lanes in both directions.
As predicted, abortion opponents on Capitol Hill are wasting no time in their efforts to turn publicity over the recent murder conviction of abortion provider Kermit Gosnell to their legislative advantage.
The Boy Scouts of America has agreed for the first time to allow openly gay boys as members, but a vote of the organization's National Council left in place a ban on gay Scout leaders.
The Associated Press reports that of the local Scout leaders voting at their annual meeting in Texas, more than 60 percent supported the proposal. The policy change approved by the 1,400-member National Council would take effect Jan. 1, 2014, the organization said.
Everybody itches. Sometimes itch serves as a useful warning signal — there's a bug on your back! But sometimes itch arises for no apparent reason, and can be a torment.
Think of the itchy skin disorder eczema, or the constant itching caused by some cancers. "A very high percentage of people who're on dialysis for chronic kidney disease develop severe itch that's very difficult to manage," says Dr. Ethan Lerner, an associate professor of dermatology at Harvard Medical School.
Scientists now say they've got a much better clue as to how itch happens.
Under cloudy skies and through intermittent showers, 4-year-old Kamrin Ramirez holds in her little hands two cards, one addressed to Ms. Patterson, the other for Ms. Johnson, her two preschool teachers at Plaza Towers Elementary School in Moore, Okla.
Quite a few medical school students have something against obese people, and most of those who have such a bias are unaware of it.
That's the conclusion of study appearing in the July issue of Academic Medicine. It was conducted at the Wake Forest School of Medicine in Winston-Salem, N.C. The study's author says the subconscious judgments could affect how patients are treated.
The state of Texas is turning down billions of federal dollars that would have paid for health care coverage for 1.5 million poor Texans.
By refusing to participate in Medicaid expansion, which is part of the Affordable Care Act, the state will leave on the table an estimated $100 billion over the next decade.
Texas' share of the cost would have been just 7 percent of the total, but for Gov. Rick Perry and the state's Republican-dominated Legislature, even $1 in the name of "Obamacare" was a dollar too much.
It's not every day that a 9-year-old girl chastises the CEO of one of the world's biggest fast-food chains.
Yet that's exactly what young Hannah Robertson did Thursday morning at McDonald's annual shareholders meeting in Chicago. When the meeting opened up to questions, Hannah was first up at the mic with a pointed criticism.
"It would be nice if you stopped trying to trick kids into wanting to eat your food all the time," she told McDonald's CEO Don Thompson.