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Mar 2, 2010

MarketWatch: Personal Fuinance Daily, March 2nd, 2010


Personal Finance Daily
MARCH 02, 2010

Tuesday's Personal Finance stories

By MarketWatch

Don't miss these top stories:

Does your company offer you access to advice on how to invest for retirement? If so, the type of help being offered may change under rules proposed by the Labor Department, which aims to eradicate the conflicts of interest that may lead an investment adviser to encourage you to invest in products off of which that adviser will make money.

You might be able to guess who doesn't like the proposed rules.

Read Robert Powell's column today for more on the debate now roiling the financial-services industry, and how the end result may affect not only 401(k) savers, but IRA owners, too. Note: The government is seeking your comments on the rules.

When it comes to retirement, really the only advice we all need is how to make a small amount of money grow really, really big without any risk. Wouldn't that be nice?

-- Andrea Coombes , Personal Finance editor

Financial advisers split on whether proposed 401(k), IRA rules help or hurt investors

If the U.S. Labor Department has its way, the rules governing who can give Americans investment advice about their 401(k)s and IRAs, and how that advice gets delivered and paid for, soon will change. But financial advisers and others disagree dramatically on whether the proposed rules will help or harm investors.
See Robert Powell.

Using annuities to build a nest egg

Investors have long been wary of annuities, but a new type of product in 401(k) plans can turn a nest egg into a stream of income payments. WSJ's Tom Lauricella tells Kelsey Hubbard why investors should take a look.
 Watch Video Report.


From Buffett to Obama, the problem that won't go away

It's only Tuesday, and already Anthem Blue Cross of California is getting sued, Warren Buffett has weighed in on back-breaking health-care costs and President Obama's own health habits are under scrutiny at the same time he's trying to woo Republicans.
See Kristen Gerencher's Health Matters blog.

What the heck is reconciliation?

It's becoming more likely that Democrats on Capitol Hill will try to pass their comprehensive health-care bill without any Republican votes, using a legislative tool known as reconciliation.
See Capitol Report.

Obama 'exploring' Republican health-care ideas but reconciliation likely

President Barack Obama on Tuesday said he's "exploring" Republican ideas for health-care reform, even as he was expected to call on Congress to pass a Democratic bill using a tactic decried by Republicans.
See Capitol Report.


Plan to blow your tax refund? Join the club

Do you plan to blow your tax refund this year on TVs and furniture? More Americans say -- Yes! Domino's carves up higher sales. Credit report ads will soon change. And Caribou Coffee gets philosophical on its napkins and cups. Join John Wordock and Ann Cates and get money news on the go.
 Listen to Radio Report on tax refunds.

Frugal is the new normal

Americans are saving more and paying off debt, but will it last? Head of Schwab Advisor Services Bernie Clark explains.
 Watch Video Report.


Don't sell yourself short on the job market

Adrienne Mitchell says job seekers should explain how prior duties match up with the job you want.
 Listen to Radio Report.

The art of online networking

A short seminar with the editors of FINS from The Wall Street Journal designed to improve your online networking skills.
 Watch Video Report.

The top five ways to impress recruiters

FINS from The Wall Street Journal editors discuss effective ways to get noticed by recruiters.
 Watch Video Report.


Jobless-benefits bill again blocked as lone senator objects

A bill that would extend unemployment benefits and highway spending was again held up in the Senate on Tuesday, even as benefits expired and transportation projects were suspended.
See Capitol Report.

Commentary: Economy is running empty

The fledgling economic recovery appears to be running out of gas. The fuel for this or any other recovery has to come from the consumer. Purchases of goods and services by people like you and me account for about 70% of gross domestic product, so without our help a recovery could not last too long.
See Irwin Kellner.

AIG takes big step toward repaying taxpayers

American International Group Inc. took its biggest step yet on Monday toward repaying money it got from the U.S. government's massive bailout of the insurance giant.
See story on AIG repaying taxpayers.

Tea Party movement's risks for Republicans

Though the Tea Party movement stands to benefit Republicans in the short run, in the long term it could cause discomfort on some key issues such as the handling of the War on Terror and immigration, WSJ's Jerry Seib says.
 Watch Video Report.

Japan unemployment rate eases in January

Japan's unemployment rate fell sequentially to a better-than-expected 4.9% in January, according to government data published Tuesday.
See story on Japan's unemployment rate.

Unlikely allies in landmark Supreme Court gun case

A gun-control case before the Supreme Court has created some unlikely alliances between liberals and conservatives, over whether states can limit the second amendment right of individuals to bear arms.
 Watch Video Report.


Dodd, Corker in talks to put consumer protection agency under Fed's wing

Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd is considering a proposal offered by a key Republican to set up a new consumer protection division within the Federal Reserve, according to people familiar with the discussions.
See Capitol Report.

Commentary: Why consumers need protection from banks

Consumer protection is at or close to the heart of the financial services reform bill being hammered out in Congress. But will a new agency address the problems consumers face when they deal with banks?
See MarketWatch First Take.

Commentary: How health care sent financial reform to the death panel

Barack Obama surfed into office on a wave of financial panic. A year later, he's ended up dry but the rest of us are still looking for a life preserver. So, what happened?
See David Weidner.

Regulation déjà vu on Wall Street

The SEC enacts a new rule limiting short-selling, after finding an even stricter version ineffective in 2007. Money and Investing Deputy Editor Dennis Berman and Mean Street columnist Evan Newmark discuss the shift.
 Watch Video Report.


GM recalls 1.3 million compact cars over steering

General Motors Co. joined troubled rival Toyota Motor Corp. with some quality issues of its own on Tuesday. The Detroit-based automotive giant recalled 1.3 million compact cars sold in North America over the past five years due to problems with power-steering functions.
See Cars.

Data show Camry cars not recalled also had problems

Many of Toyota Motor Corp.'s Camry cars built before 2007, which weren't subject to recalls, have been linked to a comparable number of speed-control problems as recalled Camrys, the New York Times reports on its Web site Tuesday, citing an analysis of government documents.
See Cars.


Beep! Time to take your medicine

A new pill-container top called a "GlowCap" is equipped with a wireless transmitter that notifies patients when it's time to take their medicine. WSJ's Anna Mathews explains how it works.
 Watch Digits.

Apple sues maker of Google phone

Nick Wingfield, Peter Kafka and Stacey Delo discuss Apple's suit against HTC which makes several Google Inc.-based smart phones, saying the cellphone maker is infringing on 20 patents related to its popular iPhone.
 Watch Digits.

Laptop makers target business users with new designs

Hewlett-Packard's business computers looked so drab and dull about five years ago that Todd Bradley, then newly-named head of the company's PC group, compared them to Soviet tanks.
See story on new laptop designs.


Whole-life insurance, long derided, gets new lease

If you haven't already, you are likely to hear the pitch soon: Whole-life insurance -- the fuddy-duddy stuff your grandparents owned -- was a shining star during the financial crisis.
See story on whole-life insurance.


After long decline, dividends on the rise again

After 2009 saw companies slashing or eliminating dividend payouts left and right, many American firms are beginning to cautiously reinstate -- or even raise -- theirs in this period of assumed recovery.
See story on dividends making a comeback.

Country debt may no longer be guarantee for investors: Pimco's Gross

Bill Gross, manager of the world's largest mutual fund, believes the debt of some nations may in the future be no better than private debt issued by corporations.
See FundWatch.

Eight reasons Wall Street loses another 20% this decade

Remember Charlie Ellis' famous 1975 classic: "Winning the Loser's Game: Timeless Strategies for Successful Investing?" Like Napoleon Hill's "Think & Grow Rich," everyone on Wall Street has read it.
See Paul B. Farrell.

Commentary: Gold timers increasingly see glass half full

Contrarian analysis continues to suggest that gold will face stiff headwinds in coming weeks. This is the same conclusion I reached one month ago, when I last devoted a column to gold market sentiment.
See Mark Hulbert.

Blue-chip U.S. stocks and emerging markets are analyst's favorites

Steve Goldberg of Tweddell Goldberg Investment Management says investors should be eyeing blue-chip bargains and emerging markets, and buying mutual funds with solid long-term results and stable management to get the job done.
See Your Money with Chuck Jaffe.

CNBC: Evening Brief


»click here to see the latest top stories from

Tom Brokaw Reports: Boomers!
CNBC 360 The Epic Story of A Generation
Tom Brokaw defined the "Greatest Generation" and now he tells the story of their children - the largest, most influential generation ever. Through the eyes of boomers themselves, he chronicles an age that took us from hula hoops to healthcare. This landmark documentary documentary examines the challenges ahead for a generation 78 million strong that continues to shape our world.

» Premieres Thursday at 9p ET/PT

Speeches and Testimonies Update

March 2, 2010

Speech by Commissioner Michael V. Dunn, National Futures Association CPO/CTA Regulatory Seminar, USB Conference Center

March 2, 2010

Remarks of Chairman Gary Gensler, Over-the-Counter Derivatives Reform, Women in Housing and Finance

Real Clear Politics

Real Clear Politics Tuesday

Health Care Debate Should Be About Costs - Howard Fineman, Newsweek
Indiana's Example on Health Care - John Steele Gordon, Commentary
The True Cost of Health Care Reform - Ezra Klein, Washington Post
Public is Right to Be Skeptical of Democrats' Plans - Senator Jon Kyl
Putting Our Fiscal House in Order - Peter Orszag, The Hill
The Senator Who Dared Believe in 'Paygo' - Debra Saunders, SF Chronicle
How to Create 3 Million Jobs With Pencil, Ruler - Kevin Hassett, Bloomberg
The Reasons for Charlie Crist's Collapse - Niall Stanage, Salon
The Rahm Bomb - Michael Tomasky, The Guardian
Unthinkable U.S.-Iran Deal - George Friedman, Stratfor
RCP Blog: AR Sen Poll: Lincoln Bounces Back, But Still Trails
Politics Nation: Runoff Could Change Dynamic In Texas Gov. Rac

DAI: Wall St edges up on M&A cheer

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Good evening Fernando, TUE 02 Mar 2010 
Wall St edges up on M&A cheer
New OTC swaps rules must apply to all: CFTC's Dunn
U.S. auto sales weak
Greek PM says sacrifices vital to avert bankruptcy
Disney plays bully in dispute, says Cablevision CEO
Murdoch doubts NY Times Slim sale speculation
CF relaunches bid for Terra by topping Yara offer
FDIC seen stepping up sales of failed bank assets
Kocherlakota: Fed must be careful on tightening timing
General Growth creditors, Simon attack Ackman

Wall St edges up on M&A cheer
March 02, 2010 04:23 PM ET
NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. stocks ended slightly higher on Tuesday as mergers and acquisitions activity supported selected sectors, but investors pulled back from recent gains in big-cap technology and bank shares.

Full Article
New OTC swaps rules must apply to all: CFTC's Dunn
March 02, 2010 04:27 PM ET
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Congress should not create blanket exemptions from new rules designed to make trading of over-the-counter derivatives more transparent, a commissioner on the top U.S. futures regulator said on Tuesday.

Full Article
U.S. auto sales weak
March 02, 2010 03:25 PM ET
DETROIT/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. auto sales stalled in February as a safety crisis sent Toyota Motor Corp reeling and cleared the way for Ford Motor Co to take the industry's top spot by sales for the first time since 1998.

Full Article
Greek PM says sacrifices vital to avert bankruptcy
March 02, 2010 01:31 PM ET
ATHENS (Reuters) - Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou said on Tuesday his country was fighting for survival against bankruptcy and urged civil servants and pensioners to accept sacrifices to save the debt-burdened nation.

Full Article
Disney plays bully in dispute, says Cablevision CEO
March 02, 2010 03:49 PM ET
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Cablevision Systems Corp Chief Executive Jim Dolan blasted Walt Disney Co's "bullying" threat to pull ABC from its cable systems over a contract dispute, calling the move senseless and one that invites questions from U.S. regulators.

Full Article
Murdoch doubts NY Times Slim sale speculation
March 02, 2010 04:33 PM ET
NEW YORK (Reuters) - News Corp Chief Executive Rupert Murdoch said on Tuesday he didn't believe speculation that New York Times Co would be bought by Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim.

Full Article
CF relaunches bid for Terra by topping Yara offer
March 02, 2010 12:01 PM ET
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Fertilizer maker CF Industries Holdings Inc relaunched its hostile bid for Terra Industries Inc , betting that a higher price of $4.75 billion would help it break up Terra's planned takeover by Yara International ASA .

Full Article
FDIC seen stepping up sales of failed bank assets
March 02, 2010 02:04 PM ET
NEW YORK (Reuters) - The U.S. Federal Deposit Insurance Corp is expected to offer $3.8 billion of guaranteed securitizations backed by the residential mortgage assets of failed banks, market sources said on Tuesday.

Full Article
Kocherlakota: Fed must be careful on tightening timing
March 02, 2010 03:27 PM ET
MINNEAPOLIS (Reuters) - The U.S. Federal Reserve must be especially careful when the time comes to raise interest rates because of its bloated balance sheet, Minneapolis Fed President Narayana Kocherlakota said on Tuesday.

Full Article
General Growth creditors, Simon attack Ackman
March 02, 2010 03:22 PM ET
NEW YORK (Reuters) - General Growth Properties Inc's unsecured creditors and suitor Simon Property Group on Tuesday criticized William Ackman's role in the mall owner's restructuring plan, alleging conflicts of interest given his position as a director and largest shareholder.

Full Article