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A Week's Worth

• Jobless no more!: Businesses added 288,000 workers to their payrolls last month - the eighth straight month of gains. With unemployment down to 5.6 percent, at least one economist proclaimed the recovery was no longer jobless. The economic pickup is also helping to reduce projected deficits, according to Congress's nonpartisan budget analyst. Still, without a major pickup in hiring, President Bush risks becoming the first president since the Great Depression to have lost jobs under his watch.

• "Star" funds: Top-performing mutual funds may help their fund families pull in more money. But beware of companies that employ "star-creating" strategies. They're usually used by fund families with poor investment abilities, according to three researchers at the University of Michigan Business School.

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• Is your adviser smiling? Almost three-quarters of financial advisers are feeling good about the stock market, according to an online survey by Select Sector SPDRs. Some 57 percent of them look forward to general gains this year, although not at the pace of 2003.

• Refinancing drops: Only 8 percent of Americans plan to refinance their mortgage in the next year, half the total who expected to refinance in October 2002, according to the Cambridge Consumer Credit Index.

• Same pay, fewer hours: Sweden plans to test whether people who work 30 hours a week, but get full pay, will stay healthier, thus lowering healthcare costs. Critics call the two-year, $13 million study an unfair pay raise for some.


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