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Stocks Inch Lower; S&P 500 Slips From 5-Year High

Stocks edged lower on Wall Street Friday, pulling the Standard & Poor's 500 index below a five-year high reached the day before. The S&P 500 fell two points to 1,470 as of noon Eastern. It closed at 1,472 Thursday, its highest level since December 2007. The Dow Jones industrial average fell a point to 13,469. The Nasdaq composite index dropped three points to 3,119.

Obama and the Bayonets: Who's Right on the Defense Debate?

President Obama's snappy comeback about bayonets and horses put Mitt Romney on the defensive on defense spending ... but do his arguments hold water? Is Washington being a good steward of your tax dollars, as it spends them on aircraft carriers, nuclear subs, and other gear for our smaller, high-tech Navy?

Stocks Dip After Disappointing Manufacturing Data

The Commerce Department says orders for long-lasting factory goods, such as computers and industrial machinery, fell in July. That excluded gains from the transportation category, which is volatile and rose largely because of orders at Boeing.

Psst! Buddy! Want to Buy an Airplane ... Cheap?

Boeing has been announcing a significant number of multibillion dollar deals lately. But the aircraft maker's excellent news comes with a caveat: All of its customers have been scoring hefty discounts to the planes' sticker prices. What gives? Read on ...

How Conservatives Are Making Life Harder for U.S. Businesses

Republicans tout themselves as friends of business. Yet when it comes to many of industry's top priorities, the GOP's tea party lawmakers and far-right lobbying groups are putting roadblocks in the way of legislation that U.S. businesses really want to see passed.

30 Top Companies Spent More on Lobbying than Taxes

Thirty large American corporations -- all of them profitable -- spent more money on lobbying than they paid in federal taxes from 2008 to 2010, according to a report from the nonpartisan reform group Public Campaign.

Resentment Builds Ahead of Bank Transfer Day

On Saturday, tens of thousands will march, protest and move their money out of big banks. But plenty of Americans haven't waited for Bank Transfer Day. For Frank Sheldon of Seattle, his journey to a credit union started in 2008 when his old bank was absorbed by J.P. Morgan Chase.

Despite a Profit Blip, Ford's Strong Recovery Continues

Are things really that bad at Ford? You'd think so after its third-quarter earnings report drove its share price down sharply. But despite the tough economic conditions Ford faces, the larger story is that the automaker has become very strong, thanks to its focus on a surprisingly simple plan.

Why We Have a Lack of Corporate Leadership

What makes a truly great leader? Attention to detail, a vision for the future, or maybe a strong personality? How about an education from Harvard or another top business school? Maybe the formula for superior leadership is much simpler; maybe the best way to spot a great leader is simply to look for someone who doesn't focus on profits.

Red Star Rising: Is U.S. Losing the Space Race?

On Sept. 29, 2011, the first module of a new space station blasted into orbit, initiating an era of space exploration different in one key respect: We didn't launch this station; China did. And while China's ascendance to space superpower confirms changes in the global economy, you shouldn't count the U.S. out of space just yet.

9 CEOs Who Need to Be Fired

Last year, 24/7 Wall St. put together a list of CEOs who need to retire, basing its judgment on quarterly earnings, stock price, and innovation. Now, with most large public companies having reported their second quarter results, 24/7 is back with a list of nine CEOs who are performing so poorly that they ought to be removed immediately. Read on to find out who, and why.

How to Profit from a Declining Dollar

Several signs seem to point to a downward trend in the value of the dollar, which pundits would have you believe means financial catastrophe for Americans. But it doesn't have to be like that. There are ways to make money if our currency falls. Here are three things to look for.

Debt-Ceiling Law: States Brace for Another Hit

The debt-ceiling discussions may be over, but the fallout for states is just starting. Many states, still struggling to recover to pre-recession levels, have depended on federal money to make up their shortfalls. As the flow of money slows, which states will take the biggest hits?

Defense Cuts to Clip Lockheed's Wings?

Following Congress's debt deal, the Pentagon faces up to $600 billion in cuts, on top of $400 billion previously demanded by the president. What might this mean for Lockheed Martin, the contractor whose F35 Joint Strike Fighter -- intended to be a "cost effective" project -- has already become a fiscal and logistical disaster?

Layoffs Are Back as Public Sector Workers Get the Ax

Massive layoffs were both a cause and a symptom of the recent recession, but job creation began to revive late last year. Unfortunately, in May, the U.S. added only 58,000 jobs, and layoffs may be on the rise again. This time, they're taking a particular toll on state and local government workers.

Boeing Flies Past Expectations With $586 Million Profit

The airplane maker and defense contractor's first-quarter profit topped expectations by 8 cents a share. Boeing also said its profit and revenue expectations for the full year are unchanged. And it still expects to deliver the new 787 during the third quarter.

737 Cracks: Boeing Can't Suffer Any More Black Eyes

Boeing says cracks in the skins of its older 737s have appeared sooner than expected. The aerospace company reported that the planes require detailed inspections of their skins after 30,000 flights -- not the 60,000 specified in earlier maintenance guidelines.

Why Fly? The Case Against Air Travel

It's bad enough that air fares and extra fees have been rising as fast as a plane taking off -- now, travelers must wonder if aircraft have been properly inspected. Are the costs, pains and risks of flying reaching the point where frequent fliers should reconsider their transportation choices?

Stocks Fall as Oil Prices Rise and Tech Weighs

Increasing violence in Libya caused oil prices to rise and stocks to fall 80 points to close at 12,090 on Monday. It didn't help that a Wells Fargo analyst also downgraded the semiconductor industry, sending shares of Intel down by 1.6%.

It's All-Out War in the Aircraft Industry

Aerospace is an intensely nationalist business. But not only do aircraft makers get tied up in international political battles, such battle lines are drawn between states as well. Witness the just-completed competition between blue state Boeing and red state Airbus.

The Trade Deficit's Untold Story: Rising Exports

The trade deficit's rise to just under $500 billion in 2010 obscures an impressive rise in global sales of U.S. goods, and the outlook for 2011 is even better. But to reach a trade surplus, the U.S. must solve two serious problems.