When a Penny Is Worth $2.5 Million

Monday Morning Memo:

You may want to pinch those pennies, literally! You never know when you might get lucky and land a 1792 Birch penny, valued at a whopping $2.5 million. A California-based coin collector reportedly spent the paltry sum on the celebrated coin, of which only 10 are known to exist. The collector reportedly had attempted to buy the coin in 1981, where it sold for a fraction of its current value; just $200,000 at the time.

U.S. markets are looking up today, after a negative day on Wall Street Monday. The Dow was up 235 points this morning, at the same time as the sell-off of crude continued to drop oil prices significantly. Brent crude fell below $50 per barrel Monday after OPEC's decision to leave oil output unchanged; WTI crude has subsequently dropped below $45 this morning. The downturn in oil prices has meant major savings at the pump for U.S. drivers, who are now paying $2.12 on average for a gallon of regular gasoline; down 45 cents in the past month, and $1.37 per gallon since this time last year. Meanwhile, European markets were overwhelmingly positive this morning, while Asian markets also saw a slight uptick in most indices.

Several major banks are furthering the fight against identity theft. JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America and Ally Financial will now provide consumers with free access to their FICO credit scores, joining a White House initiative to combat cybercrimes. Discover and Citigroup have also taken part in this service.

Business travel is booming. Corporate travel increased to a record $292 billion last year, and is expected to top $300 billion in 2015, according to forecasts from the Global Business Travel Association. Spending on business travel dipped in each of 2012 and remained neutral in 2013; the strengthening economy and efforts to further capture global business are being credited for the turnaround.