Market Minute: Tax Change Hurts Commuters; Stocks Look Ready to Keep Rising

Many commuters who take mass transit to get back-and-forth to work each day will find the cost of their trip is about to get a lot more expensive. Once the new year begins, a mass transit tax break will dramatically decline. This year, train and bus riders can set aside up to $245 a month in pre-tax income to pay for their rides, but for 2014, that tax exemption drops to $130. The effective tax hike could encourage people to forego mass transit and opt to drive to work instead.

Here on Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average (^DJI) and the Standard & Poor's 500 index (^GPSC) start the week near the all-time highs set last week. Both gained more than 1 percent last week, as did the Nasdaq Composite (^IXIC).

The bond market is also drawing lots of attention. The yield, or interest rate, on the 10-year Treasury is above 3 percent -- the first time that's happened in more than two years.

Shares of Twitter (TWTR) have been on a roller coaster ride of late. They're up nearly 60 percent in the past month, but they plunged on Friday on fears that the stock rose too fast, too soon.

%VIRTUAL-article-sponsoredlinks%That's raising concerns that other internet-related stocks that have soared this year could be in danger of a pullback. Still, analysts say the situation is not comparable to 2000, when the internet bubble popped. The big difference between now and then is that many of the biggest names now -- Google (GOOG), Facebook (FB) and Netflix (NFLX) -- actually make money.

And finally, the drug maker Merck (MRK) is reportedly planning to overhaul its once-vaunted research and development operations. The Wall Street Journal says the company will establish four main innovation hubs around the globe -– near Boston, San Francisco, London and Shanghai. They would seek deals to license or acquire promising research done by others, while at the same time cutting back on the company's in-house research efforts.

-Produced by Drew Trachtenberg

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