Must Read Money Stories, Tuesday, Nov. 18

by November 18, 2014

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Japan’s economy has taken an unexpected downturn. FiveThirtyEight writes that 18 economists predicted the country’s economy would have a third quarter upswing — instead, it contracted by 1.6 percent. Ben Casselman said Japan’s shrinking GDP, which also experienced a 7.3 percent contraction earlier this year, is indicative of a recession, and that’s bad news for everybody. If the world’s third largest economy is shrinking, those effects are likely to reverberate around the globe in some fashion.

Snapchat has another new feature: Snapcash. The ephemeral photo sharing app is teaming up with Square to allows its users to exchange money with their friends. Recode writes that Square — which is run by Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey — will be responsible for handling all debit card information and Snapchat won’t store any of that data on its servers. Handing off sensitive information to Dorsey is likely a way to reassure skeptical consumers — recently, Snapchat’s servers were hacked and thousands of personal photos were leaked.

Halliburton just bought one of its biggest rivals for $34 billion. Sweating over plummeting oil prices, the company bought Baker Hughes on Monday only four days after the media got wind of a potential deal. Businessweek says Halliburton overpaid for its rival and Wall Street has interpreted the move as an act of desperation, sending the oil company’s shares down nine percent on Monday. Meanwhile, the cost of crude continues its free fall as an OPEC meeting looms.

Spotify is integrating with another car company. In 2013, the music streaming service teamed up with Ford and Volvo, and now they’re doing the same with BMW, writes Techcrunch. The tech site also broke news last week about Spotify’s partnership with Uber, which will allow riders to listen to their own music while using the car service. Maybe this is the rebound Spotify needed after its breakup with Taylor Swift?