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Updated: 49 min 11 sec ago

Just in time for Valentine's, a shortage of chocolate

Wed, 2015-01-14 02:00

Valentine's Day is a month away, but stores have been hawking hearts and stuffed animals since the day after Christmas. But lest you forget, here's a friendly reminder that the holiday is actually about showing your appreciation for the one you love ... by giving them chocolate. 

But is our increasing demand for chocolate, paired with a shortage of resources to grow it, endangering the sweet treat? Mark Schatzker thinks so. He's a contributing writer for Bloomberg Pursuits magazine, and author behind "Chocolate: can science save the world's most endangered treat?"

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After big game, NCAA grapples with student-athlete pay

Wed, 2015-01-14 02:00

The NCAA—college-sports’ governing body—has its big annual convention in Washington, D.C., this week. Now that Ohio State has won the first-ever national college-football championship against the University of Oregon, and the new post-season playoffs have proven to be a ratings hit on ESPN, the NCAA will be talking about ways to let some schools increase financial support for scholarship athletes.

The NCAA is facing increasing pressure from a college-player union, and antitrust lawsuits, to loosen the rules that limit direct compensation to student-athletes, and guarantee instead that a big share of revenue from top-earning sports teams flows to university athletic departments and the million-dollar-plus coaches they employ.

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The NCAA—college-sports’ governing body—has its big annual convention in D.C. this week.  Now that the college-football championship between Oregon and Ohio is over, and ESPN’s enormous ratings are in one of the things the NCAA will be talking about is whether to increase benefits to college athletes. The NCAA IS facing increasing pressure from a college-player union at Northwestern,  and antitrust lawsuits to increase financial benefits to players in the most lucrative sports.   

Wall Street's earnings report parade

Wed, 2015-01-14 02:00

The volatile energy sector is causing some headwinds for banks right now, which lead some to wonder if it would rain on the earnings reports due from major banks this week for the fourth quarter of last year.

For the big banks, there’s no storm yet, but there are clouds on the horizon. 

Here’s the problem for the JP Morgans of the world: they made loans to oil producers, and their suppliers. 

If oil prices stay low, “The effect will come in two waves,” says Charles Peabody, a banking analyst and partner at Portales Partners. “The first wave will be a slowdown in loan growth.”

Then, if oil prices don’t rise over the next year, Peabody says, there’ll be a wave of loan defaults.

But here’s the thing: the low oil prices will help the consumer banking business. Consumers will have extra cash on hand, while gas prices are low.

“They may be able to spend more, or just have the money to pay back their loan,” says Brian Klock, a bank analyst and managing director at Keefe, Bruyette & Woods.

And Klock says we may very well see a bulge in big bank earnings from consumer spending, before the losses from the oil patch kick in. 




An unexpected drop ends a strong year for JPMorgan

Wed, 2015-01-14 01:30
7 percent

That's how much JPMorgan Chase's profit dropped in the fourth quarter, as reported on Wednesday. The decrease was unexpected, but they still finish 2014 with a reported $21.8 billion, the highest ever annual profit for the company.


That's how low the price of Brent Crude got Tuesday. Goldman Sachs predicted the freefall will finally stop at $42 a barrel, but Quartz says it's possible we might hit the $32 low point of December 2008.

$300 million

That's how much online craft and vintage market Etsy is looking to raise in its upcoming IPO. That's a lot of hand quilted tea cozies. It could be the largest IPO for a New York tech company since 1999. 


The average tuition and fees students at two-year colleges for the 2014-2015 academic year, or about a fifth of those students total budget, when transportation, supplies, housing and other costs are considered. According to the Washington Post's Wonkblog, those additional costs will create a much higher barrier to entry for students than President Barack Obama's free community college plan suggests.

5,700 rupees

That's how much Samsung's smartphone, the  Z1 handset, goes on sale for in India on Wednesday. As the BBC reports, the phone is a notable departure from Android, as this is the first phone that uses Samsung's own operating system called Tizen.

16 billion

The total page views Buzzfeed got in 2014. Let that sink in for a second