A week's worth

For the first time in almost two years, the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed out a quarter with a loss. The index completed the downturn last week with a 1 percent drop as General Motors said its subprime mortgage lending practices will cut into earnings this year.

Quick, what type of home mortgage do you hold? Don't know? You have lots of company, according to the Internet portal Bankrate.com. For all the talk about the merits of fixed rates versus ARMs (adjustable rate mortgages), more than 3 Americans in 10 say they aren't sure which they're paying, it says. With interest rates stabilizing, Bankrate.com says, now would be a good time to consider whether you should refinance.

You probably think you're equally productive, no matter what the weather. But in a poll of more than 6,000 employees, CareerBuilder.com says 10 percent of respondents reported allowing gloomy days to affect their efficiency. Those who said so blamed rain more than any other condition.

If you're going to need a new lawn mower this spring, don't be surprised if the woman of the house wants a say in which one you buy. (By the way, that can apply to any other home improvement item as well.) Results of a survey by power-equipment maker Troy-Bilt show a significant increase over the past decade not only in women's purchasing power but also in decisionmaking authority. Husbands or fathers should note that women especially want products that are "easy to start, simple to use, and provide versatility," Troy-Bilt says.

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