A Week's Worth

The Dow Jones Industrial Average came oh so close to its record high of 11750.28 last week, but fell back 39 points on Friday. For the July-September period, however, it gained 4.7 percent, its most impressive quarterly advance in 11 years.

Gasoline prices are dropping again, and none too soon for many consumers, according to the American Banking Association. It reports that late payments on credit card bills rose to 4.41 percent last spring, blaming the trend in large part on the bite that $3-a-gallon fuel took out of budgets. As a result, consumers had less money left to meet other expenses, "including paying back their loans," the ABA says.

Let's say you're a senior manager at your place of employment: What would be your No. 1 priority if, suddenly, you were promoted to chief executive? The Robert Half accounting/finance staffing group asked that of managers at the nation's 1,000 largest companies. Result: a first-place tie between improving the work environment and changing nothing.

In the midst of a slow housing market, the average rate on a 30-year mortgage fell to 6.31 percent last week, its lowest level in more than six months, reports mortgage giant Freddie Mac. A year ago, the rate stood at 5.91 percent. One-year adjustable-rate mortgages averaged 5.47 percent last week. Some analysts believe rates will hover around current levels for the rest of the year.

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