A Week's Worth: Quick takes on the world of work and money

Alcoa bid pushes Dow higher, affluent investors look overseas for better returns, and vacationers prepare to spend more this summer.

That $27 billion bid by Alcoa Inc. for rival aluminum giant Alcan helped to push the Dow Jones Industrial Average ahead by 0.5 percent last week, its sixth straight gain and the longest such stretch since 2004.

Despite the record surge in stock indexes, many affluent Americans aren't satisfied with the return on investments in domestic stocks, says the Spectrem consulting group. It polled 507 households with $500,000 or more in "investable assets" and found 2 in every 5 already investing overseas or "likely to." The region with the greatest appeal: China.

No matter where you're employed, your workplace is vulnerable to ethical lapses that can "negatively impact performance," according to LRN, a consultant to business on legal, compliance, and governance issues. Drawing on results of a recent study, it says 73 percent of respondents who work full time reported knowing of lapses, sometimes occurring as often as once a week. Almost 40 percent said they'd allowed themselves to be distracted by them.

Enough people apparently have confidence in the economy that they plan to vacation somewhere this summer that they haven't visited before, the tourism industry evaluation service TripAdvisor reports. It surveyed almost 3,000 people worldwide and found that, despite the latest currency fluctuations and rising airfares, 63 percent plan to go abroad and 31 percent are ready to spend more during their time away than they did last year.

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