CNN Money: Top business headlines for Jan. 13

    6:15 AM, Jan 13, 2014   |    comments
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    NEW YORK (CNN) -- CNN Money's Maribel Aber has your top business and financial news on this Monday, January 13.

    Fayetteville Shale sustainable through 2050
    The Fayetteville Shale will continue to be a "major contributor" to production of natural gas in the country, according to a study. Researchers at the Bureau of Economic Geology at the University of Texas at Austin completed the study and similar ones at the Barnett, Marcellus and Haynesville Shales in other states. The analysis was built on data collected from wells drilled between 2005 and 2011. At current gas prices - around $4 per million British thermal unit - production is expected to plateau between now and 2015, then gradually decline. Potential price changes did not drastically affect this prediction. That decline will mean that current peak production, around 950 billion cubic feet of gas per year, will drop to 400 bcf by 2030. But there is technically 38 trillion cubic feet of gas available in the shale, and of that, 18 tcf can reasonably be extracted, and the study said that could last until 2050.

    Help! I can't use my healthcare benefits
    Jeanne Patterson really needs to see a doctor but had to cancel her appointment last week. Why? Because her new Obamacare benefits were not in order, forcing her to spend hours and hours on hold with her insurer, Independence Blue Cross. Many folks who signed up for coverage through the state and federal exchanges are running into roadblocks now that they are trying to use their new benefits. And though exchange officials and insurers have urged consumers to call their insurers if they encounter problems, many say they either wait endlessly on hold or get the runaround. Coverage for the first wave of Obamacare applicants took effect Jan. 1.

    Technology profits expected to surge this year
    So where will many of those snazzy handheld devices and new Internet commerce platforms seen at International CES last week end up this year? One answer: padding the income statements of tech companies. On the eve of earnings-reporting season, when public companies will release full-year 2013 results and share their initial forecasts for this year, the outlook for the tech industry is a rosy one. In 2014, technology companies in the S&P 500 index are expected to earn net income that's 9.3% higher than last year, according to FactSet, which compiles Wall Street earnings estimates. While that's slightly lower than the 10.5% rise expected for the index as a whole, it's much better than the tech industry's profit growth last year, which is expected to have been 1.9% after all reports are in.

    Banks say no to marijuana money, legal or not
    Legal marijuana merchants like Mr. Kunkel - mainly medical marijuana outlets but also, starting this year, shops that sell recreational marijuana in Colorado and Washington - are grappling with a pressing predicament: Their businesses are conducted almost entirely in cash because it is exceedingly difficult for them to open and maintain bank accounts, and thus accept credit cards.




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