MarketWatch's top stories of the week
The Dow Jones Industrial Average (.DJI) rose 65.67 points or 0.6% to close at 10,471.50 on Friday and mark a 0.8% gain for the week. The broader Standard & Poor's 500 Index (.SPX) rose 4.06 points or 0.4% on the day to close at 1,106.41. For the week, the index added less than 0.1%. The Nasdaq Composite Index (.COMP) fell 0.55 point to close at 2,190.31 on Friday. For the week the index fell 0.2%.
Stay tuned to MarketWatch through the weekend. You'll find all the news you need. Our weekend feature looks back and offers 10 investing lessons from the lost decade.
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Europe's Week Ahead: Cadbury and H&M in Focus
Asia's Week Ahead: Central Banks in Action
-- Christopher Noble , assistant managing editor
After a decade under Time Warner's (TWX) umbrella, AOL Inc. (AOL) once again stands on its own after being spun out from its big media parent. The Internet pioneer faces several questions as it regains its independence. Can the company survive on its own in a brutally competitive marketplace dominated by the likes of Google (GOOG)? Will shareholders simply dump the stock, rather than bet on what would be an astounding reversal of fortune? Read more about the challenges facing an independent AOL .
U.S. retail sales rose an encouraging 1.3% in November, marking the third increase in the past four months, according to Commerce Department data released Friday. Excluding the 1.6% rise in auto sales, sales rose 1.2%. Economists surveyed by MarketWatch expected total sales to rise 0.5% and sales excluding autos to rise 0.4%. Read more about the surprisingly strong report .
Investment bank Goldman Sachs Group (GS) unveiled compensation changes in the wake of pressure from some shareholders. Goldman said its 30-person management committee will get bonuses in the form of "shares at risk" in 2009 instead of cash. The shares cannot be sold for five years. The five-year holding period includes a bulked-up provision that lets Goldman take the shares back if employees conduct "materially improper risk analysis" or fail to voice concerns about risks enough. Read more about Goldman's new policies .
The British government said banks would pay a one-time, 50% tax on bonuses worth more than 25,000 pounds ($40,700) in an effort to encourage banks to rebuild their capital bases and continue lending to individuals and businesses. Chancellor of the Exchequer Alistair Darling delivered the blow in his annual pre-budget report, which also laid out the government's plans to cut the deficit over the next four years. Read more about Britain's plan .
If there's any place among the industrialized Western economies where disappointment and dread outstrip the U.S. gloom, it's the U.K. The Brits share many of our problems: high debt, unemployment and a wrecked financial system. But where the U.S. has a mix of anger and optimism, the U.K. is more gloom and despair. It also has a longer, steeper road back. The trademark good cheer isn't gone, but it's faint. Read more of David Weidner's column about Britain's woes .
Apple (AAPL) is on track to launch a much-anticipated, tablet-sized computing device early next year, according to brokerage reports this week. The end-of-the year business period has become known as the "iPod quarter" for Apple, due to the historically strong sales of the company's digital-media players. But with iPod sales showing signs of leveling off, Apple is believed to be working on a new, tablet-style device that will help the company continue with its multiyear streak of hit products. Read more about Apple's potential plans .
U.S. Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar told reporters Thursday in Copenhagen that his country stands on the cusp of a renewable-energy revolution and that clean-energy legislation will trigger massive new investment in the sector. Large-scale renewable energy projects are a hot topic in Copenhagen, and concrete political initiatives that arise out of the climate summit in Denmark could further galvanize investors' interest in the renewable-energy sector. Read more coverage of the Copenhagen summit .
United Airlines parent company UAL (UAUA) said it ordered 50 new wide-body, long-haul jetliners from Boeing (BA) and Airbus in one of the largest commercial aircraft orders by a U.S. carrier in more than a year. It signals that after nearly two years of demand erosion followed by heavy industry losses, airlines are beginning to see signs of recovery and financial stability. Read more about what United's move means for the industry .
Another decade is behind us, meaning a new crop of newsmakers has burst onto the scene, from the boardrooms of Corporate America to the hearing rooms of Washington. What follows is a look at five of the most significant forces in the financial world of the past 10 years. It's actually eight people in all, three individuals, one duo and a trio -- all with one thing in common: They managed to keep their heads above water, for the most part, during a difficult decade and remain major financial newsmakers. Some even thrived under tough circumstances. Find out who they are .