Here’s a quick rundown from the world of business and economics this morning: the things you need to know, and some you’ll just want to know.
o. Shareholders in Mondelez (MDLZ) can only be pleased with this news: Researchers at Connecticut College have discovered that Oreo cookies are as addictive as cocaine — at least to lab rats. We’re sure they’ll have plenty of volunteers if they ever decide to advance the study of America’s most popular cookie with human trials. (We’re not sure Kellogg could offer snackers quite the same rush from Pecan Pie flavored Pringles. But we’re curious.)
o. There’s an old joke about the businessman who prices his wares so cheap, he loses money on everything he sells. “But what I lose on margin,” he says, “I make up on volume.” No shock, the punchline doesn’t work any better for Twitter. The microblogging giant raked in $168.6 million in revenues last quarter, more than double the $82.3 million it took in a year ago. But Twitter’s net loss was $64.6 million — more than triple the $21.6 million it lost a year ago. Yes, its revenue per user is up. But this is the IPO that’s got Wall Street all abuzz?
o. The robots’ war on humanity is apparently well under way — and we’re losing. But never fear. When the Terminator shows up, he won’t be coming to kill us. The machines are coming for our jobs.
(No, of course we’re not going to ignore the elephant in the room … Let’s talk Washington.)
o. Tuesday’s GOP House proposals to end the budget and debt ceiling standoff were dead on arrival after Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) was unable to rally Republicans and Tea Partiers behind them. That shifts the last-minute effort to avert a federal debt default back to the Senate, where Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) worked late into the night to craft a deal.
o. For the sake of argument, let’s say Congress can’t get its act together today and raise the debt ceiling. After Thursday, the government will have only what money comes in each day to pay that day’s bills. That’ll amount to about $7 coming in for every $10 owed. Now, if that happens to a family, they can prioritize their bills — pay the mortgage, let the cable and cellphone bills go past due, etc. But the massive Treasury computer system — which handles 80 million payments a month — isn’t designed for that, and even if modifications to prioritize some payments over others were possible, they may not be technically legal.
o. You can always count on Warren Buffett to be a straight shooter. On Wednesday, the Oracle of Omaha said allowing the U.S. to default would be a “pure act of idiocy.” He then said the threat to not raise the nation’s debt limit “after you’ve already spent the money” is a “political weapon of mass destruction” comparable to poison gas, and shouldn’t be used by either party.
o. And, finally, the Nobel Prize in Economics goes to … WAIT! Don’t let your eyes glaze over. We know economics is “the dismal science,” but seriously, the three guys who won this year have some genuinely interesting things to say about how money behaves in our complex and imperfect real world. Miles Kimbal over at Quartz did a great article explaining what they did to earn the Nobel, and why it matters to you.
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