Money Minute: Super-Charging Your Gadgets; Busy Week for IPOs

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A potential solution to one of modern life's most frustrating problems.

An Israeli firm called StoreDot says it has developed a prototype device that can fully charge your smartphone in just 30 seconds. It's still about two years away from being marketed, assuming the company can shrink the size of the technology. The invention came out of research being done on Alzheimer's disease.

Here on Wall Street last week, the Dow Jones industrial average (^DJI) fell 167 points Monday, the Nasdaq slid 48 and the Standard & Poor's 500 index (^GPSC) lost 20 points. The Nasdaq composite (^IXIC) has tumbled 177 points in three days -- its worst showing since August of 2011. All three major averages are now back in negative territory for the year.

With the market in turmoil all of the sudden, this may not be the best time for a company to bring its initial public offering to the market. %VIRTUAL-article-sponsoredlinks%But this is shaping up to be the busiest week for IPOs since late 2007. Dealogic says 14 new stocks are set to debut. The best-known names in the group are Ally Financial, the online bank and auto loan company, and the La Quinta hotel chain. Some market bears say this deluge of IPOs is a sign the market is near a top.

A judge in Delaware is being asked to stop Walmart Stores (WMT) from sending out its annual proxy to shareholders. At issue, according to a New York church, is the company's refusal to include its proposal on gun sales in the proxy statement. The famed Trinity Church, which is right across the street from the New York Stock Exchange, wants to limit the sale of certain weapons, claiming they are offensive to community and family values.

Are you a jerk? Or at least have you been labeled as one online? If so, you're not alone. Federal regulators allege that "improperly obtained" information from Facebook (FB) as part of its "Post a Jerk" feature. Millions of people, including some children, were tagged.

-Produced by Drew Trachtenberg.

7 Tax Tips for Investors
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Money Minute: Super-Charging Your Gadgets; Busy Week for IPOs
The 1099 forms you received from brokerages and other financial institutions might not be the last ones they send. It's common for them to issue corrected versions a little later. Consider getting your tax return ready to go, then waiting until close to April 15 before submitting it. That way, you can incorporate any last-minute changes and avoid having to file an amended return.
Pay attention to when you sell any holding, because the capital gains tax rates differ for long-term and short-term holdings. Short-term capital gains are taxed at your ordinary income tax rate, which could top 30 percent. Long-term gains (those held for more than a year) get preferential rates, which are zero percent for those in low-income brackets and 15 percent for most of us.
If you own underwater stocks, consider selling them for a loss. You can use those losses to offset gains from other sales, reducing your taxes owed. You can always buy back the asset later, if you still believe in it -- just be sure to wait for 31 days to pass, to observe the "wash sale rule."
If you're planning to sell one or more holdings that will give you a really big gain, submit an amended W-4 form to increase your withholding, or send the IRS an estimated tax payment. Underpaying your taxes significantly during the year can lead to a penalty at tax time. You may be protected by a "safe harbor" provision, though, which can save you from having to jump through those hoops.
If you're planning to buy shares of a mutual fund, determine when it will distribute its dividends. Many funds do so near the end of the year, and when that happens, the fund's share price will drop by the amount of the distribution -- which is taxable to shareholders. It's better to just wait until after that payout to buy in.
Mutual funds with high turnover ratios (reflecting a lot of buying and selling in a fund) have expenses for these trades. It's worth favoring funds with low turnover ratios, especially index funds and index-tracking ETFs, which simply hold onto the mix of securities in a given index, without a lot of trading activity. (Index funds generally outperform their higher-turnover counterparts, too.)
Boost the power of your Individual Retirement Accounts by making your annual contributions early in the year, giving the funds more time to grow. Over decades, it can make a significant difference.
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