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A Week's Worth

The Dow Jones Industrial Average last week climbed to heights not seen since June 2001, although it closed down 0.1 percent Friday, at 11,061.85. "We're ... dealing with very healthy numbers," one analyst said, predicting, "You're going to see the market break out." Others, however, said they're bracing for yet another round of interest rate hikes by the Fed to keep the economy from overheating.

The new federal bankruptcy law is not working as intended, a new study has found. The National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys (NACBA) analyzed the first 61,355 cases screened by authorized credit counselors under the measure and concluded that 4 in 5 filers are in dire straits due to uncontrollable circumstances, such as the loss of a job or the death of a spouse. The law aims to crack down on alleged deadbeats who abuse the bankruptcy system because they could pay what they owe but don't. NACBA found, however, that 97 percent of filers lack the means to repay any debt.

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Let's say you have the opportunity to leave your job for one that pays more. Would your employer fight to keep you? Maybe - if you're good and you happen to work in marketing or advertising. Sixty-three percent of executives in those fields surveyed by a Menlo Park, Calif., placement service, the Creative Group, said they'd be likely or "very likely" to make a counteroffer. Only 11 percent said "no way." Now, if you have received one, the service advises that you weigh the following before accepting: Did it come because of the value you represent ... or just to keep your employer from being left in the lurch? Will he or she guarantee you interesting new challenges to go with the extra pay? And would the extra bucks and challenges have been offered if you hadn't forced the issue?

Pennies don't often come in handy, right? Still, 84 percent of women and 74 percent of men who responded to a new poll said they stoop to pick up a one-cent piece when they spy it on the ground or floor. Sixty-six percent told counting-machinemaker Coinstar Inc. of Bellevue, Wash., they hope pennies will be kept in circulation. On the other hand, 27 percent claimed they don't like and don't use them.


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