A Week's Worth

With another meeting of the Federal Reserve's Open Market Committee looming this week – and the distinct possibility that a 17th straight hike in interest rates will be announced – the Dow Jones Industrial Average lost more ground, falling 0.2 percent last week.

That salary increase you may be expecting this year probably won't exceed 3.5 percent. At least, so concludes the Conference Board, based on a new survey. That will be the case in 2007, too, it projects, because "moderate inflation" is enabling employers to hold down payroll costs. Other than for senior executives, the pattern is predicted to hold true in all industries.

Despite all the available professional sources of investment advice and information, more than half of all Americans who make trades end up relying on their own instincts, a new report says. Scottrade's 2006 American Investor Study found 55 percent of participants chose to "trust their gut," as chief Rodger Riney put it, versus 24 percent who took their guidance from the pros.

Over lunch or around the office water cooler, which consumer giant commands the most respect when the subject comes up in discussion? According to an analysis of 11,000 conversations by the marketing research group Keller Fay, it's ... Toyota. Wal-Mart ranked second.

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