A Week's Worth

By , Work & Money editor

Solid economic reports - from tame inflation to rising industrial production - plus strong corporate earnings pushed the stock market to new peaks last week - a four-year high, in the case of the Standard & Poor's 500 index.

Dividend rise: More companies have boosted their dividends so far in 2005 than in the first half of any year since 1998, reports Standard & Poor's.

Automatic enrollment in retirement plans would help millions of Americans get started saving and make their post-working years more comfortable, according to a study. Two-thirds of workers already choose to sign up for 401(k) plans. But if they were automatically enrolled - and had to opt out - participation would rise to 92 percent, forecast the Employee Benefit Research Institute and the Investment Company Institute. Low-income workers would be helped the most, saving enough to replace about half their salary at retirement, rather than 23 percent.

Recommended: A week's worth of activities for kids to fend off the winter blahs

Gender balance: An overwhelming majority of men - 95 percent - say life outside work is at least as important as their job, says a study by the Simmons School of Management in Boston and Bright Horizons Family Solutions.

Down time: When does the least amount of work get done? Between 4 and 6 p.m., according to a third of executives surveyed by Accountemps. Noon to 2 p.m. came in second, with 29 percent calling it the least productive period.

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