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Strange Business: Smelly 'Rock' Fetches Over 100 Grand


Plus, Super Bowl ads really don't cost many companies that much.

What's That Smell?

Source: The Province
If you're walking on the beach and encounter a terrible smelling rock, don't avoid it because it may be worth over $160,000. A man and his dog in the UK found such a rock, and it turned out to be ambergris from the digestive system of a sperm whale. The perfume industry prizes this substance for the musky fragrance it develops as it ages and will pay large amounts for fresh, pungent specimens of the whale vomit.

Super Bowl Advertisements Don't Cost Much

The cost of running an advertisement during the Super Bowl has increased by more than 10 times since the first championship game in 1967, even after adjusting for inflation. Companies like Coca-Cola (NYSE:KO) and Pepsico (NYSE:PEP) will pay between $3.7 million and $3.8 million for 30-second spots. The investment is well worth it, though, as many of the companies that advertise earn an average profit of more than $1 million in 3.5 hours, the length of the game. Coca-Cola earns over $3 million, Pepsico and Walt Disney (NYSE:DIS) earn over $2 million, and Anheuser-Busch (NYSE:BUD) earns over $1 million.

English Gives China a Taste of Its Own Stuff

The descendants of Lord Charles Grey, whom Earl Grey tea is named after, have started something new for the English tea industry. The East India Company first sold tea from China in England in the 17th century, but now the Tregothnan estate in southwest England, owned by Evelyn Boscawen, sells its tea in Chinese markets. According to Boscawen, no one else grows tea in England and sells it on the market.

The Big Mac as a Currency Indicator

Due to the global reach of McDonald's (NYSE:MCD), The Economist has found it fun to use the Big Mac as a means of analyzing foreign exchange rates. According to the theory of purchasing-power-parity, prices and exchange rates should adjust over time so that an identical basket of goods shares the same cost in different countries. Using this premise and the US cost of the Big Mac as the reference point, The Economist created the Big Mac Index. The index shows the Norwegian krone is overvalued the most by 80% and the Indian rupee is undervalued the most by about 60%.

The Gray Market for Baby Formula

Parents in Hong Kong are facing a baby formula shortage before the Lunar New Year holiday when stores close for a week starting on February 10. Mainland Chinese parents and smugglers have bought different brands of tax-free baby formula in Hong Kong to bring back to China because of their higher quality and lower health risks for infants. Since the 2008 melamine milk powder scandal that sickened close to 300,000 children in mainland China, demand for other brands of formula has risen dramatically in China. The resulting higher prices have parents in Hong Kong feeling disgruntled; cans of Frisolac Gold 1, for example, sell for 260 Hong Kong dollars, or $33.52.

Twitter: @ChrisWitrak
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