Money Minute: AT&T Profit Rings Higher; Top-Earning Dead Celebrities

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Winners and losers in the telecom wars. That's one of the top money stories you need to know Thursday.

AT&T's quarterly profit edged up by 5 percent. The company also added more than 360,000 new contract subscribers. That's not bad, but it's less than half the number reported last week by chief rivals Verizon (VZ) and T-Mobile US (TMUS). AT&T (T) stock has also underperformed the broader market. It's up just 5 percent this year.

Also reporting today: Ford (F), 3M (MMM), Southwest Airlines (LUV) and United Continental Holdings (UAL).

And after the close we'll hear from Microsoft (MSFT). Of course, the numbers and the outlook are important, but investors want to know about the plan to succeed outgoing CEO Steve Ballmer. One of the leading candidates in the rumor mill is Ford chief Alan Mullaly. He has refused to respond to the speculation so far.

On Wall Street Wednesday, the Dow Jones industrial average (^DJI) fell 54 points, the Standard & Poor's 500 index (^GPSC) lost 8, and the Nasdaq composite index (^IXIC) dropped 22.

The World Series is now underway, but the two most valuable franchises are nowhere to be found. According to Bloomberg, the New York Yankees are worth $3.3 billion, and the Los Angeles Dodgers are valued at $2.1 billion. The Boston Red Sox, which won Game 1 last night, are tied for third at about $2 billion. But the team's opponent, the St. Louis Cardinals, is way down the list, valued at just over $800,000. On average, teams are worth about a billion dollars, up 35 percent from Bloomberg's previous estimate. Much of that increase comes from TV contracts and the ownership of regional sports networks.

Michael Jackson - File Photos By Kevin Mazur
Kevin Mazur/WireImage
And more than four years after his death, Michael Jackson is as popular -- and successful -- as ever. The King of Pop tops the Forbes list of top-earning dead celebrities, bringing in $160 million last year. In fact, that's more than any living celebrity made this year. Most of the Jackson windfall comes from a Las Vegas extravaganza that makes as much as $250,000 a show, and the "Immortal" world tour. Second on the list of dead celebrities is Elvis, at $55 million, followed by Peanuts creator Charles Schulz, Elizabeth Taylor, Bob Marley and Marilyn Monroe.


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