The MoneyWeek Christmas quiz

The UK nearly broke up. Russia advanced on Ukraine. The oil price plunged, and the US dollar surged. It’s been a busy year – how much of it passed you by? Test yourself with the MoneyWeek Christmas quiz. Compiled by Will Martin.

How much?

1. In August, the stars of an American sitcom signed new contracts worth $1m per episode, equalling the record amount paid to the actors on Friends. What was the show?

2. In February, private equity firm BetterCapital sold magazine Reader’s Digest for how much?

3. At £45,000 per week, a London apartment became the most expensive rental property in Britain. Where is it located?

4. In December, the world’s largest white truffle sold at auction in New York. How much did it fetch?

a) $61,250 b) $105,000 c) $1.2m.

5. Sotheby’s broke its in-house auction record in November with a sale that raised $422.1m in total. The biggest single item sold for $101m. What was it?

6. The world’s largest initial public offering (IPO) was made in September, and raised more than $25bn. Who made the offering?

7. In October, the International Monetary Fund released figures showing that China had finally managed to do what (at least by certain measures)?

8. In November, Miami Marlins pitcher Giancarlo Stanton signed the most lucrative contract in American sports history. But just how much was the 25-year-old baseball star’s deal worth?

a) $180m b) $325m c) $500m.

9. What kind of car was sold by Bonhams for $34.65m in August, making it the most expensive car of all time?

10. US shopping phenomenon Black Friday (where retailers discount prices heavily ahead of the Christmas shopping season) came to Britain this year. But how much did Asda sell widescreen TVs for on the day?

a) £99 b) £139 c) £169.

11. Estate agent Savills – unsurprisingly – rated London as the world’s most expensive city to live and work in, at an average cost of around £73,000 per year. What was the cheapest city on its list?

People

12. Travis Kalanick was a controversial figure in the world of business this year. Of which company is he the CEO?

13. Jack Ma, boss of Alibaba, became China’s richest man in September. But what did he do before founding the e-commerce company?

14. In May, a former professional boxer became mayor of a major European capital city. Who is he, and where was he elected?

15. John Lewis managing director Andy Street was forced to apologise after he described which country as “sclerotic, hopeless and downbeat”?

16. Which former Yahoo employees sold WhatsApp to Facebook for $22bn?

17. Which CEO justified his choice of a grey T-shirt by saying: “I’d feel I’m not doing my job if I spent any of my energy on things that are silly or frivolous about my life?”

18. Who was mocked for eating (or failing to eat) a bacon sandwich?

19. In February, which footballer signed a contract for a reported £300,000 per week, making him the world’s best-paid player?

20. Which politician hit the headlines after a decidedly awkward encounter with a koala bear?

21. Which major Wall Street executive was treated for throat cancer this year?

22. Which public figure, who has allegedly single-handedly boosted the British economy by up to £240m, found out this year that he is expecting a baby brother who will likely do the same?

23. Complete this sequence – Miller, Volcker, Greenspan, Bernanke…

24. A Vauxhall van, DJ equipment and numerous football shirts were among the items auctioned to raise money by which bankrupt star?

25. Who said: “I’m proud to be gay”, thus becoming the first Fortune 500 chief executive to formally acknowledge his homosexuality?

Faces of 2014: match the photo with the quote

1. “I’m not going to pretend everything I did was right.”

2. “I guess I’ll shake your hand but I have only one thing to say to you: ‘You need to get out of Ukraine.’”

3. “I do the dishes every night – other people volunteer but I like the way I do it.”

4. “At this point it’s worth noting that the economy is not a real thing.”

Companies

26. Warren Buffett admitted that he had made a mistake by investing in which company?

27. In September, which multinational brewer saw an approach to buy Heineken flatly refused?

28. Which company issued its first ever euro-denominated bond, raising €2.8bn?

29. In May, American telecoms giant AT&T agreed a deal to purchase which company?

30. Which company is expected to earn ¥36.8bn this year, thanks largely to an Italian plumber and lots of go-karts?

31. Sainsbury’s angered customers after accidentally displaying a poster asking staff in one store to do what?

32. Who was involved in the biggest merger of the year (worth $69.8bn)?

33. Which supermarket saw its profits fall by 91.9% in the first half of the year?

34. Joseph Safra and Jose Luis Cutrale joined forces to fight tooth and nail to buy which banana company?

35. Which bank appointed 78 new partners on 12 November?

36. In December, Mike Jeffries, famous for making controversial comments about “fat” people, stepped down as chief executive of which company?

37. Which pharmaceutical and medical-equipment supplier was voted America’s happiest company this year?

38. With which pop star did music-streaming service Spotify find itself in a high-profile row over the future of the music industry?

39. Which brand of beer did 926 pubs in the UK and Ireland stop serving this year due to a dispute between its brewer and the pub chain JD Wetherspoon?

Markets

40. What was the best-performing stock on the FTSE 100 this year (as of mid-December)?

41. And what was the worst-performing FTSE 100 stock this year?

42. What was the best-performing equity market in the world? And what was the worst?

43. Which European country finally got rid of its domestic capital controls?

44. Which currency fell to a record low against the dollar?

45. Ethiopia became the poorest country ever to do what this year?

46. The British government did something new in the international debt market this year. What was it?

47. Oil prices (Brent) dropped to $59 per barrel in December, a five-year low – but what was its highest price this year?

48. What were the best and worst-performing metals on the commodity market this year?

49. Six banks were fined over their roles in the global forex-fixing scandal, including British banks HSBC and RBS. Who were the other four?

Economics

50. “The old normal is not the new normal.” What was Bank of England governor Mark Carney talking about when he said this?

51. Estimates from the World Bank suggested that what could have cost upwards of $32bn by the end of 2015?

52. Hungary saw mass protests after Prime Minister Viktor Orban tried to introduce a tax on what?

53. In March, the Royal Mint announced the creation of a new 12-sided £1 coin. What reason did it give for doing so?

54. Who won a Nobel Prize “for his analysis of market power and regulation”?

55. On New Year’s Day, which country became the 18th nation to formally join
the eurozone?

56. Which American city officially came out of bankruptcy in December?

57. In October, 24 banks failed a Europe-wide “stress test”, but which country performed the worst?

58. In which country did the “buckwheat panic” occur, thanks to a shortage of the staple food?

59. Chancellor George Osborne’s new “diverted profits tax” is better known
as what?

60. The Scottish independence referendum may have ended with a No vote, but which economic disaster led Scotland to unite with England in 1707 to form Great Britain in the first place?


 

Answers

How much?

1.The Big Bang Theory.
2. £1. 3. One Hyde Park.
4. $61,250.
5. Alberto Giacometti’s sculpture “Chariot”.
6. Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba.
7. Overtaken the US as world’s biggest economy (in PPP terms).
8. $325m.
9. A 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO.
10. £139.
11. Rio de Janeiro.

People

12. Uber, the rideshare and taxi firm.
13. He was a university lecturer.
14. Former world heavyweight champion Vitali Klitschko; Kiev.
15. France.
16. Jan Koum and Brian Acton.
17. Mark Zuckerberg.
18. Labour leader Ed Miliband.
19. Wayne Rooney.
20. Vladimir Putin.
21. Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan Chase.
22. Prince George.
23. Yellen. Janet Yellen became chair of the US Federal Reserve Board in February, the first woman to take the post.
24. Former England goalkeeper David James.
25. Apple CEO Tim Cook.

Faces of 2014

A4: Russell Brand.
B3: Bill Gates.
C1: Jose Manuel Barroso.
D2: Canadian PM Stephen Harper.

Companies

26. Tesco.
27. SABMiller.
28. Apple.
29. DirecTV.
30. Nintendo (on sales of Super Smash Bros and Mario Kart 8).
31. Encourage people to spend an extra 50p when they shop.
32. Comcast and Time Warner Cable.
33. Tesco. 34. Chiquita. 35. Goldman Sachs. 36. Abercrombie & Fitch. 37. Johnson & Johnson. 38. Taylor Swift. 39. Heineken.

Markets

40. Pharmaceutical company Shire (up 60%)
41. Oil explorer Tullow Oil (down 53%).
42. Argentina (up 67%); Greece (down 24%).
43. Cyprus.
44. The Russian rouble.
45. Issue an international sovereign bond.
46. Issue the first sovereign bond denominated in China’s currency, the renminbi.
47. Prices peaked at $116 per barrel in June.
48. Nickel (up 19.7%) and copper (down 13.2%).
49. Bank of America Merrill Lynch, UBS, Citigroup and JPMorgan Chase.

Economics

50. Interest rates.
51. The Ebola virus outbreak.
52. Internet usage.
53. The current version is too easy to forge.
54. French economist Jean Tirole.
55. Latvia.
56. Detroit.
57. Italy, where four major banks were affected.
58. Russia.
59. The “Google” tax.
60. The Darien Scheme, an unsuccessful attempt to establish a colony in Panama.