Data points

Published July 8, 2024
A man walks past the Samsung logo displayed on a glass door at the company’s Seocho building in Seoul, South Korea. Samsung Electronics said it expects second-quarter operating profits to rise more than 15-fold on-year as chip prices bounce back and demand for generative AI continues to grow.—AFP
A man walks past the Samsung logo displayed on a glass door at the company’s Seocho building in Seoul, South Korea. Samsung Electronics said it expects second-quarter operating profits to rise more than 15-fold on-year as chip prices bounce back and demand for generative AI continues to grow.—AFP

Finance courses for teens

Personal finance courses that teach pupils best practices for managing their money are spreading across America, propelled by recent state laws requiring such instruction. Since 2020, 17 states have adopted mandates that make taking a financial literacy course a requirement for high school graduation, bringing the total up to 25. And that figure will probably grow. Pupils in these classes learn not only how to buy and sell shares, but how to save their earnings in order to have something to invest in the first place. Courses teach how to properly bank, budget, manage credit and pay for college. They cover comparison shopping and the basics of how to plan and track daily expenses. Young people badly need these courses. According to one international survey, only 10pc of 15-year-olds in the OECD, a club of mostly rich countries, score highly on financial literacy assessments.

(Adapted from “America Is Educating A Nation Of Investors,” by The Economist, published on June 20, 2024)

Ice cream & politics

Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield are about as well known for their progressive politics as they are for quirky ice cream flavours like Chunky Monkey and Phish Food. Their experiment in melding business with social justice for years seemed like a model to which many in the corporate world were warming up. And then attitudes cooled. Some businesses have started to put less emphasis on the kinds of social and political issues that Ben & Jerry’s has championed. Certain investors have urged corporations to stick with what they know best. For their part, the lifelong friends, both now 73 years old, say their style of corporate activism isn’t bad for business — just the opposite. Most companies aren’t comfortable engaging with social issues because “they don’t want to potentially alienate customers,” says Greenfield. “The irony is for Ben & Jerry’s, that is what makes the company successful.”

(Adapted from “Go Woke, Go Broke? Not A Chance, Say Ben And Jerry,” by Saabira Chaudhuri, published on June 26, 2024, by The Wall Street Journal)

Crypto hacks double

The amount of cryptocurrency stolen in hacks globally more than doubled in the first six months of 2024 from a year earlier, driven by a small number of large attacks and rising crypto prices, blockchain researchers TRM Labs have said. Hackers have stolen more than $1.38bn worth of crypto by June 24, 2024, compared with $657m in the same period in 2023, TRM Labs said in a report. The median theft was one-and-a-half times larger than the year before, the report said. “While we have not seen any fundamental changes in the security of the cryptocurrency ecosystem, we have seen a significant increase in the value of various tokens — from bitcoin to ether and Solana — compared to the same time last year,” said Ari Redbord, global head of policy at TRM Labs. This means that cybercriminals are more motivated to attack crypto services, and can steal more when they do.

(Adapted from “Crypto Hacking Thefts Double To $1.4bn In First Half Of 2024, Researchers Say,” by Elizabeth Howcroft, published on July 5, 2024, by Reuters)

Amazon’s future

Amazon, which turned 30 on Friday, has changed the world of online shopping. This year its websites will sell an estimated $554bn worth of goods in America, reckons JPMorgan Chase. That gives it a 42pc share of American e-commerce, far beyond the 6pc captured by Walmart. And the company did not stop its pioneering at retail. It invented the Kindle, Alexa and, more consequentially, cloud-computing. It also runs Prime Video, America’s fourth-most-watched video-streaming service. Amazon recently got an early birthday present, when the market value of its tech empire surpassed $2tr for the first time. As with all such milestones, however, Amazon’s 30th anniversary is not just a moment to celebrate its achievements but also to look ahead. The big question that hangs over the company as it enters its fourth decade is how to deal with its increasing sprawl.

(Adapted from “What Next For Amazon As It Turns 30?” by The Economist, published on July 1, 2024)

Published in Dawn, The Business and Finance Weekly, July 8th, 2024

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