Market Minute: GM, AIG Rejoin S&P Indexes; Microsoft Eyes Restructuring

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Two companies that received huge government bailouts make big strides toward vindication. That and more are what's making news Tuesday.

Another late day rally lifted stocks Monday. The Dow industrials (^DJI) jumped 138 points, while the S&P 500 (^GSPC) and the Nasdaq (^IXIC) both rose 9 points.

GM AIG logos
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Two well-known companies that nearly went out of business during the financial crisis are back in a big way. General Motors (GM) is being added back to the S&P 500 and American International Group (AIG) is being added to the S&P 100. That often gives a quick boost to the stocks, as all of the mutual funds that track the indexes need to start buying. Taxpayers still own about 16 percent of GM. And AIG's stock had dropped below 50 cents a share in 2009. It closed yesterday at nearly $45 a share.

AIG is also one of several companies that say financial regulators have identified them as "systemically important," and should be subject to greater government oversight. Others include General Electric's (GE) GE Capital unit and Prudential Financial (PRU).

Microsoft (MSFT) is working on a plan to restructure its operations and focus more heavily on devices and services. According to several news reports, the plan could also involve a management shake-up.

Intel (INTC) says it plans to invest in what it calls "perceptual" computing projects, such as voice and gesture control.
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Lululemon (LULU) has begun restocking store shelves with two of the three styles of yoga pants it recalled back in March because they were too sheer. That cost the company tens of millions of dollars, but its stock price has actually increased 16 percent since the problem was announced.

Shares of Canadian Pacific Railway (CP) are set to skid on word a big investor plans to sell 7 million shares during the next year.

G-III Apparel Group (GIII) posted a profit that surprised Wall Street. The company makes clothes for well-known brand names such as Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger, as well as for pro sports teams.

And Dollar General (DG) reported slightly higher earnings, but lowered its forecast for the full year.

Check back after the market closes Tuesday for the new Daily Finance closing bell report.

86 Percent of Americans Can't Ace This Simple Personal Finance Quiz. Can You?
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Market Minute: GM, AIG Rejoin S&P Indexes; Microsoft Eyes Restructuring

A. More than $102

B. Exactly $102

C. Less than $102

A. More than $102

You’ll have more than $102 at the end of five years because your interest will compound over time. In other words, you earn interest on the money you save and on the interest your savings earned in prior years. Here’s how the math works. A savings account with $100 and a 2 percent annual interest rate would earn $2 in interest for an ending balance of $102 by the end of the first year. Applying the same 2 percent interest rate, the $102 would earn $2.04 in the second year for an ending balance of $104.04 at the end of that year. Continuing in this same pattern, the savings account would grow to $110.41 by the end of the fifth year.

Imagine that the interest rate on your savings account is 1 percent a year and inflation is 2 percent a year. After one year, would the money in the account buy more than it does today, exactly the same or less than today?


A. More

B. Less

C. Same

B. Less

The reason you have less is inflation. Inflation is the rate at which the price of goods and services rises. If the annual inflation rate is 2 percent but the savings account only earns 1 percent, the cost of goods and services has outpaced the buying power of the money in the savings account that year. Put another way, your buying power has not kept up with inflation.

True or false: A 15-year mortgage typically requires higher monthly payments than a 30-year mortgage but the total interest over the life of the loan will be less.





Assuming the same interest rate for both loans, you will pay less in interest over the life of a 15-year loan than you would with a 30-year loan because you repay the principal at a faster rate. This also explains why the monthly payment for a 15-year loan is higher. Let’s say you get a 30-year mortgage at 6 percent on a $150,000 home. You will pay $899 a month in principal and interest charges. Over 30 years, you will pay $173,757 in interest alone. But a 15-year mortgage at the same rate will cost you less. You will pay $1,266 each month but only $77,841 in total interest—nearly $100,000 less.

A. Rise

B. Fall

C. Stay the same

D. There's no relationship to bond price and interest rates.

B. Fall

When interest rates rise, bond prices fall. And when interest rates fall, bond prices rise. This is because as interest rates go up, newer bonds come to market paying higher interest yields than older bonds already in the hands of investors, making the older bonds worth less.




In general, investing in a stock mutual fund is less risky than investing in a single stock because mutual funds offer a way to diversify. Diversification means spreading your risk by spreading your investments. With a single stock, all your eggs are in one basket. If the price falls when you sell, you lose money. With a mutual fund that invests in the stocks of dozens (or even hundreds) of companies, you lower the chances that a price decline for any single stock will impact your return. Diversification generally may result in a more consistent performance in different market conditions.

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