Money Minute: Microsoft Releases Bug Fix; Rent Is Too Darn High

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After a tense week of waiting by many computer users, Microsoft finally has a fix.

Many of us have been afraid to use Internet Explorer this week after a warning from Homeland Security, but now Microsoft (MSFT) is out with a fix for its Web browser. The company says most computers have automatic updates and the fix has been downloaded and installed without users having to do anything. Microsoft says the fix even applies to its outdated Windows XP software, which the company said it stopped supporting early last month. There are an estimated 300 million computers still using that platform.

The computer security firm FireEye (FEYE) says attacks against Internet Explorer have been aimed at government networks, as well as defense, finance and energy companies. It says the attacks seem to be coming from in or near China.

A growing number of people are spending way too much of their income on rent. According to RealtyTrac, many low income renters in New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Miami spend as much as half of their income on rent. That's partly because rents have increased significantly in recent years, as fewer people buy their own homes -- while income has not kept pace with those rising costs. Many financial advisers say you should budget no more than 30 percent of income toward housing.

Here on Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average (^DJI) fell 22 points yesterday, retreating from Wednesday's record high. But the Nasdaq composite (^IXIC) rose 13 points, while the Standard & Poor's 500 index (^GPSC) was virtually flat.

Finally, General Motors (GM) is back in bankruptcy court today. It wants the court to enforce a provision of its reorganization plan that would protect GM from class action lawsuits stemming from accidents that occurred before the plan took effect nearly five years ago. That would protect the company from suits stemming from the recall of 2.6 million cars this year due to defective ignition switches. But many potential plaintiffs object, saying the company committed fraud and should not be exempt from lawsuits.

-Produced by Drew Trachtenberg.


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