A Week's Worth
• Christmas gift: The Dow and the Standard & Poor's 500 indexes closed at their highest levels in more than three years, despite mixed economic signals. Consumer sentiment climbed strongly, according to a University of Michigan index. US factories saw a surprisingly strong November. But sales of new homes fell at the sharpest rate in more than 10 years and the dollar reached a new low against the euro.
• Job No. 1 in 2005: Pay down credit cards. That's what people told Intuit in its survey of financial resolutions. The Federal Reserve estimates the average household owes some $12,000 on its credit cards. Next most important resolutions: saving for retirement and creating and sticking to a budget.
• Read the manual? More than half the words in corporate and government technical manuals and other documents are redundant, according to a new study by technology firm Data Conversion Laboratory in New York.
• Motor city, eh? For the first time, Ontario, Canada, has edged out Michigan as the annual leader in vehicle production, according to Ward's AutoWorld magazine, although the province probably won't hold onto the title as Michigan plants retool for new models.
• Dinner with the boss: It could help your career, said 55 percent of executives surveyed by TheLadders.com, a job-search service. Only 8 percent said socializing with superiors wasn't worth the risk. Still, 27 percent called it a necessity they would rather live without.