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Cheery News: The Market, Earnings and Holiday Toys

By Maxine Shapiro, KERA 90.1 business commentator

Dallas, TX – It's a jovial kind of day today, maybe because it's the one-year anniversary when the stock market hit the bottom; maybe because the Cubbies won last night. So keeping with the spirit of the day, here's the brighter, lighter side of the news. I'm Maxine Shapiro with KERA Marketplace Midday.

That's right - it was one year ago today when the stock market looked like a bottomless pit. Then lo and behold - a rally began, never to look back. Nobody knew it then, including those residents of Wall Street that might brag otherwise. Still, the market is waiting for the smaller investor to return. Jobless claims were down for the week. And I'll save my cynical comments on the economist inaccurate predications for another day - sure it will be soon. Wal-Mart, Target, Sears, Federated and the Gap all reported higher than expected September same-store sales. If you're a fan of pharmaceuticals, you'll be happy to know Abbott Labs posted a nice gain in its third-quarter net income. Why just here in the U.S., sales soared 20 percent. Of course they did.

But enough on the market - on to the real news you care about. The 2003 hottest toys for the holiday season. This "official" list is brought to you by Toy Wishes magazine and was announced yesterday in conjunction with the Toy Industry Association. Here are a few names you'll recognize from years gone by: Hokey Pokey Elmo sings and now dances for $30. For $40, Hasbro brings back My Little Pony in a Celebration Castle with all kinds of bells and whistles, for hopefully more than minutes of entertainment. Barbie is on the list twice - once for her Barbie "Cook With Me" Kitchen. I'll quote CNN/Money here: "Chef Barbie's voice guides kids through all kinds of make-believe cooking fun in this fully electronic kitchen." Maybe next year they'll come out with Barbie "Care For the Sick With Me" Operating Room. I won't hold my breath. Then there's Barbie as Odetta in Swan Lake. And forgive my candor, but I've never seen a ballerina with a figure like hers. But that's why they call 'em toys. For KERA Marketplace Midday, I'm Maxine Shapiro.


Marketplace Midday Reports air on KERA 90.1 Monday - Friday at 1:04 p.m.

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