A Week's Worth

For the week, the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.7 percent as it closed Friday, adding to a 2.32 percent jump for the month of April. This, despite the fact that in congressional testimony earlier in the week, new Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said the central bank may only pause - rather than bring to a halt - its relentless raising of interest rates.

Paying $3 a gallon yet for gasoline? No, average prices haven't quite reached the levels of last September, in the wake of hurricane Katrina. But they're close. The AAA reported Sunday that a gallon of unleaded regular averaged $2.923 nationally. As it rises, however, keep in mind that 18.4 cents of that goes to the federal government in taxes. And that doesn't count state - or, in places - local levies that tack on another 45.8 cents in New York, 32.7 cents in Wisconsin, and a mere 7.5 cents in Georgia, according to the American Petroleum Institute. Oh, and if you're upset at those record oil company profits, Department of Energy statistics show that they're not just coming from gasoline. The average US barrel of crude yields 44 gallons of refined products. Less than half (19.6 gallons) becomes gasoline.

When asked about their personal finances, 51 percent of respondents to an annual survey by the Gallup Poll were comfortable enough to rate them as "excellent" or at least "good." As for their No. 1 financial concern, without any prompting 18 percent identified healthcare, with what they pay for energy a distant second in a tie with "lack of money/ low wages." The sample size: 1,005 adults. Gallup conducts the survey each April.

Send an e-mail to a colleague at work and if he or she is on roughly the same rung of the corporate ladder as you, the results of a new survey suggest that it will be answered even if the recipient is away on vacation. If, on the other hand, your message (or voice mail) is directed to a senior manager or executive, you're not likely to hear back except in case of emergency, according to FPC, a leading executive search firm based in New York.

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