Money Minute: College Grads' Debt Up as Job Market Improves

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The job prospects for this year's college grads have improved slightly, but they're starting their careers with more debt than any other class.

Thirty-three thousand dollars. That's the amount owed by the average new graduate who needed loans to pay for school. Edvisors says that's the highest debt load of any class ever, even after adjusting for inflation. In addition, more students than ever -- more than 70 percent -- are leaving college with loan debt. And the prospect for next year's grads isn't any better. They're expected to have even more debt.

As expected, AT&T (T) has agreed to pay nearly $49 billion to buy DirecTV (DTV), the nation's leading satellite-TV provider. It's the second gigantic media deal this year, coming just a few months after Comcast (CMCSA) agreed to buy Time Warner Cable (TWC) for $45 billion. The hope of these Goliaths is that their size will give them more power to negotiate with content providers, and to dominate the consumer market for Internet, telecommunications and pay TV.

Meanwhile, Pfizer (PFE) once again raised its bid to buy rival drug maker AstraZeneca (AZN), and the British company quickly rejected the sweetened offer, which was valued at about $118 billion. The proposed deal has also sparked a political debate in the U.S. because Pfizer would move its headquarters to Great Britain to avoid paying higher U.S. corporate taxes. Pfizer said its latest offer is it's final one. We'll see.

The numbers here on Wall Street were mixed last week. The Dow Jones industrial average (^DJI) lost 0.6 percent, the Nasdaq composite (^IXIC) gained half a percent, and the the Standard & Poor's 500 index (^GPSC) was virtually flat.

Finally, Facebook (FB) is developing its own video chat app. According the Financial Times, the app is designed to compete with Snapchat, which Facebook tried and failed to acquire. Snapchat is popular among teenagers, an increasingly tough market for Facebook to draw many 'likes' from. CEO Mark Zuckerberg is said to be directly overseeing the project to create a short video messaging service.

-Produced by Drew Trachtenberg.


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