Money Minute: Chocoholics Spend Big on Halloween; Facebook's Teenage Angst

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Halloween candy facts-and-figures, and possible trouble for Facebook with teenage users. Those and more top money stories you need to know Thursday.

Caucasian girls in Halloween costumes eating candy
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This is the day we earn our reputations as chocoholics. A candy trade group says nearly $3 out of $4 spent on Halloween candy will involve chocolate. And for the full year Americans spend nearly $4 billion on chocolate bars. The five most popular candy bars are: M&M's, Snickers, Kit Kat, and Hershey Co.'s (HSY) Reese's and Hershey's confections.

American Airlines and US Airways (LCC) are preparing concessions to win government approval of their proposed merger. The Wall Street Journal says the companies may offer to give up some slots at Washington's Reagan National Airport. The Justice Department has blocked the merger on antitrust grounds, arguing that it would harm consumers. Combined, the two airlines control two thirds of the flights going in and out of Washington National.

The Dow Jones industrial average (^DJI) fell 61 points Wednesday and the Standard & Poor's 500 index (^GPSC) lost 8 -- both backing away from Tuesday's record highs. The Nasdaq composite index (^IXIC) dropped 21 points. Investors were a bit surprised by the Federal Reserve's optimistic assessment of the economy, reigniting concerns the Fed could start to cut back on its stimulus program sooner rather than later.

Two of the most high profile, trendy companies -- Facebook and Starbucks-- posted strong quarterly results. Facebook (FB) beat expectations on a number of key measures: a better-than-expected profit, a 60 percent revenue jump, and an 18 percent increase in the number of active users. The company also says mobile ads, considered the key to future growth, accounted for nearly half of its revenue. But, in a potential danger sign, Facebook says use by younger teens declined.

And Starbucks (SBUX) profit perked 34 percent higher as its new loyalty program helped boost traffic at its stores.

Speaking of coffee, McDonald's (MCD) is teaming up with Kraft Foods (KRFT) to test grocery store sales of McCafe branded packaged coffees. Kraft had a distribution deal with Starbucks that ended two years ago.

And Weight Watchers International's (WTW) stock is slimming down after the weight loss company suspended its quarterly dividend.

-Produced by Drew Trachtenberg.


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