Money Minute: Soda Sales Fizzle; FBI Probing High-Speed Trades

Soda sales have lost their fizz.

It's a trend we've been following for years -- the steady decline in soft drinks sales -- and it only worsened in 2013. According to Beverage Digest, soda sales in the U.S. as measured by volume fell by 3 percent last year. It's the ninth straight decline. Many consumers are increasingly concerned about the health impact of soda, including diet brands that include artificial sweeteners. There was a new report out over the weekend linking diet colas to higher blood pressure, diabetes and other problems in post-menopausal women.

On Monday we told you about author Michael Lewis' charge that high-speed traders are ripping off most investors. %VIRTUAL-article-sponsoredlinks%Now the FBI is reportedly investigating these algorithm-based operations for possibly trading on nonpublic information. High-speed trading isn't against the law, but trading on inside information is a crime.

Here on Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average (^DJI) rallied 134 points Monday, the Nasdaq composite (^IXIC) rose 43, and Standard & Poor's 500 index (^GPSC) gained 14 points.

The three averages ended little changed for the first quarter. Among the Dow 30, Merck (MRK) was the best gainer, up 13 percent; Boeing (BA) was the big loser, down 8 percent.

Some analysts say the market could settle into a holding pattern until Friday morning, when the monthly jobs report for March comes out. Investors want to see if the economy shook off the affects of the horrible winter weather that was blamed for sluggish gains earlier in the year.

Finally, it's April. Spring training is over, and the first pitch of the baseball season has been thrown. So how much can you expect to spend for a day at the ol' ballpark? Team Marketing says the cost of the average ticket edged up by 2 percent from last year to nearly $28. The world champion Boston Red Sox charge the most, while the Arizona Diamondbacks charge the least, and the Kansas City Royals imposed the biggest increase from a year ago.

-Produced by Drew Trachtenberg.

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