Money Minute: Mulally Sticks with Ford; Money Pours into Mutual Funds

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Ford's top executive say "no thanks" to Microsoft.

CEO Alan Mulally to stick with Ford
Rainer Jensen, dpa/APFord CEO Alan Mulally.
Ford Chief Executive Officer Alan Mulally had been considered the leading candidate to replace Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, but Mulally says he will stay in the driver's seat at Ford (F) at least through the end of this year. Meanwhile, Reuters reports that Microsoft (MSFT) has narrowed its list to a "handful" of possible candidates.

Investors poured record amounts of money into stock mutual funds last year, as the market rallied to all-time highs. The previous record came in 2000, just before the Internet bubble went pop. Most market pros say stocks still have room to run, but there are a few prognosticators saying another big selloff is looming. The research firm TrimTabs also says investors pulled a record amounts out of bond funds last year.

Here on Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average (^DJI) and the Standard & Poor's 500 index (^GPSC) start the day within striking distance of the record highs set just over a week ago. The Dow rose 105 points Tuesday, the S&P 500 gained 11 and the Nasdaq composite (^IXIC) rallied 39 points.

Weight loss companies deceive consumers.
Shocking, right? Well federal regulators are cracking down. They've fined three companies -- Sensa Products, L'Occitane (LCCTF), and a company that's already out of business, LeanSpa -- a total of $34 million. An FTC official said the science behind their products, which include food additives and skin creams, "just isn't there."

CEC Entertainment (CEC), the parent company of the Chuck E. Cheese restaurant and entertainment chain, is apparently up for sale. Reuters reports the company -- which hosts an endless number of kids' birthday parties -- is fielding interest from private equity firms.

And speaking of cheese, an American food icon may be hard to find on grocery store shelves. Kraft Foods (KRFT) says its Velveeta cheese product is in short supply, mostly because of high demand. This is, after all, a big season for cheesy dips and sauces with the pro football playoffs underway and the Winter Olympics on the way.

-Produced by Drew Trachtenberg.


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