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A Week's Worth: A roundup of economic and business briefs

Record Dow close; employers take workers' retirement funds more seriously; most women want a beautiful life more than beautiful physique.

Better-than-expected economic news across a broad front of industries sent the Dow Jones Industrial Average to a 2.8 percent gain for the week and another record high.

More and more employers apparently are becoming aggressive at prodding their staffs to invest for a secure retirement. Buck Consultants of Secaucus, N.J., sampled 255 workplaces across a broad range of businesses and found that almost two-thirds plan major changes by next year in the way they "engage" employees in retirement planning. Eighty percent said their employees don't pay close enough attention to retirement needs.

E-mail, it seems, is becoming the equivalent of a cellphone call at dinner. In a survey for Robert Half Management Resources, 86 percent of executives from some of the nation's largest companies reported that their colleagues, when alerted to a new message, commonly interrupt meetings to respond.

Diets, day spas, workout clubs: For all the attention women supposedly pay to them, an overwhelming majority (93 percent) have told pollsters they'd rather live a beautiful life than have a beautiful physique. The survey of 1,000 females aged 18 to 54 for lingerie manufacturer Bali found that for more than three-quarters of respondents, beauty derives from self-acceptance. Which, they said, can come from such factors as doing a good turn for a friend and being able to laugh at oneself.

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