A Week's Worth

Worry about the uncertainty in the Middle East and the possibility of another damaging hurricane in the oil-producing Gulf of Mexico sent crude prices higher last week and the Dow Jones Industrial Average lower. For the week, the Dow fell 0.9 percent.

The power of the purse will be about 60 percent in the hands of women by 2010, a new study by Allianz, the insurance giant, has found. Yet, it maintains that 90 percent of women describe themselves as at least somewhat insecure financially. Even among those with annual incomes in six figures, almost half said they fear becoming "a bag lady."

Do you bother to read supermarket circulars when they turn up in your mailbox? And if so, have they lured you from the store where you usually shop to a competitor? Since grocery retailers spend $8 billion a year on such ads, Stanford University's Graduate School of Business researchers decided it was time to gather data on those questions. Their finding: At least 10 percent of shoppers do choose supermarkets based on the specials advertised in such circulars – especially when discounts are offered on cereals, cookies, chips, hot dogs, and pizza.

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