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  • Save that piggy bank! A no-spend challenge can help you make more of your nickels and dimes. (Thinkstock)Save that piggy bank! A no-spend challenge can help you make more of your nickels and dimes. (Thinkstock)

    No-spend challenges are remarkably common. From Ad Buster’s annual Buy Nothing Day to No-Spend Month, to one blogger’s well-titled Fiscal Fast, there is no shortage of options for anyone looking to challenge themselves to save a few bucks.

    Just because no-spend challenges are common, though, does that mean it will truly change anything? We asked people who had completed no-spend challenges and financial advisors for their takes, and for any tips they may have for those who wish to complete a challenge of their own.

    Lasting effects

    Hemal Patel is founder of KB Studio, a marketing consultant firm in Tallahassee, Fla.  As a business owner and recent homebuyer, he decided to take on a no-spend challenge as a way to store extra change from work so that he and his wife could better furnish their new home. 

    To start, Patel listed out all of his expenses to help him more clearly visualize just what the challenge was going to look like. He then went through each expense and reduced or

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  • The middle class is feeling better, but the wealthy are feeling worse

    There are temperature inversions and tax inversions. Now there may be a confidence inversion, as well.

    Consumer confidence surprised economists in January, with an index of consumer moods maintained by the Conference Board improving from 96.1 in December to 98.3. The cutoff for the survey was Jan. 14, but that was still long enough for a tumbling stock market (as measured by the S&P 500 index) to have fallen by more than 4%, which in theory should have made consumers gloomier.

    It certainly put some Americans in a sour mood. Confidence fell among households with $75,000 or more in income. But confidence rose among families earning between $25,000 and $75,000, which is a pretty good estimation of the range for “middle class.”

    The divergence probably comes directly from economic developments. The tumbling stock market affects wealthy Americans more because they’re more likely to own stocks and other securities. A lot of middle-class Americans have a 401(k) plan or other retirement fund,

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  • Super Bowl commercial aims to get Americans financially fit

    With its first Super Bowl ad this year SunTrust Bank (STI) is making a bid to get Americans talking about money. Or more specifically -- their lack of it.

    Forty percent of Americans don't even have $2,000 saved for an emergency, according to a recent study by SunTrust, and CEO William Rogers said its Feb. 7 "Hold Your Breath" ad is aimed at sparking a conversation about this troublesome statistic.

    "We want to engage in an optimistic but yet frank discussion about financial stress," Rogers said. "Forty percent of Americans really wouldn't know what to do if they had a $2,000 emergency -- and that gets worse for millennials at 60%. One in three Americans don't have anything saved for retirement. Eighty percent in a survey told us they stay awake at night thinking about financial issues."

    The Atlanta-based bank's "Onward and Upward" slogan is a catalyst to inspire people to make a personal commitment to improve their financial health. And the Super Bowl ad will direct viewers to onUp.com,

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  • Stocks move on oil rebound; Fed meeting begins; Disney sued by tech workers

    Stocks (^DJI^GSPC^IXIC) move up along with the price of oil on indications OPEC and non-OPEC nations may be looking at ways to reduce the glut in crude that has sent the price sinking...dragging equities down with it.

    But Kathy Boyle, President of Chapin Hill Advisors, says don't be fooled by these positive market hints.

    "We're going to see escallator up, elevator down," she argues.  "That's what happens in bear markets. There is a lot of volatility in bear markets and you'll have these big bumps."

     Get the Latest Market Data and News with the Yahoo Finance App

    Strong dollar impacts Dow earnings

    Here are some of the stocks the Yahoo Finance team will be watching for you today. It's a big day for earnings from Dow components...and the key phrase is--  the strong dollar.

    Procter & Gamble (PG)  The consumer products giant beating second quarter earnings estimates...but revenue came up short. P&G blames the strong dollar for reducing sales by 9% from the same period last year.  And it

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  • Strong dollar hits P&G, J&J and Dupont; Apple earnings tonight

    Here are some of the stocks the Yahoo Finance team will be watching for you today. It's a big day for earnings from Dow components...and the key phrase is--  the strong dollar.

    Procter & Gamble (PG)  The consumer products giant beating second quarter earnings estimates...but revenue came up short. P&G blames the strong dollar for reducing sales by 9% from the same period last year.  And it also took a hit from the deconsolidation of its Venezuelan operations and some brand divestitures.

    Johnson and Johnson (JNJ) The story the same at the health care products and pharmaceutical firm,  which topped forecasts on the bottom line but missed on the top line. J&J says the currency issues pulled down its sales by 2.4% from last year...even though domestic sales jumped 8%.

    Get the Latest Market Data and News with the Yahoo Finance App

    Dupont (DD) Hit repeat. The global sciences company reporting fourth quarter profit topping analysts estimates...while revenue came in light.  Dupont says

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  • Time for your daily dose of trending tickers, the stocks you're following based on your Yahoo Finance ticker searches.

    Coach

    Coach (COH) shares are moving higher in early trading after the company reported improving sales. The luxury handbag maker’s total sales rose for the first time in 10 quarters, climbing 7% while revenue increased 4.4% to $1.27 billion. Coach posted double-digit sales growth in China, despite a slowdown in the region that is hurting other U.S. companies.

    Sprint

    Sprint (S) is soaring following its quarterly results. Investors cheered after the wireless carrier reported a smaller than expected loss, helped by cost cuts. Sprint posted a net loss of $0.21 per share while its net operating revenue dropped to $8.11 billion.

    Get the Latest Market Data and News with the Yahoo Finance App

    Lockheed Martin

    Lockheed Martin’s (LMT) stock is taking a hit today. Shares are lower after the company announced it will separate its government IT business and combine it with national

    Read More »from Coach shares soar; Sprint rises on narrower loss; Lockheed Martin, Leidos agree to $5B deal
  • Stocks move with oil; Fed meeting; the confidence gap; cardless ATMs

    Stocks (^DJI^GSPC^IXIC) get a boost from oil as optimism builds that crude producers may cut back on production, and investors prepare for tomorrow's Fed announcement.

    To discuss some of the other stories that Yahoo Finance is keeping an eye on today, Alexis Christoforous is joined by Yahoo Finance's Rick Newman and Bobbi Rebell, television and multimedia reporter at Reuters.

    Get the Latest Market Data and News with the Yahoo Finance App

    The Confidence Gap

    We had some solid economic reports today. In housing, the FHFA House Price Index increased 0.5% in November, while the S&P Case-Shiller Home Price Index rose 0.9%. Meanwhile, Consumer Confidence upticked to 98.1, beating expectations. But it's a different story for the wealthy. Why are the 1% not feeling the wealth effect?

    Cardless ATMs at JPM

    Need money from an ATM? Yep, there's an app for that! The New York Post says JPMorgan Chase (JPM) will install hundreds of new "e-ATMs" later this year that let you use a smartphone app

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  • Donald Rumsfeld is giving advice, again

    “The absence of evidence is not necessarily evidence of absence; nor is it evidence of presence.”

    That pearl was one of “Rumsfeld’s Rules,” a collection of sayings and insights compiled over decades by former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. The cerebral and controversial polymath—who was a CEO, board member, Congressman, ambassador and Cabinet secretary during his long career—shared his list informally with presidents, politicians, business colleagues and journalists, and formally published a book of rules in 2013.

    Rumsfeld, 83, is sharing his wisdom with the public once again, this time in a more modern, digital format. Rumsfeld has collaborated with an app developer to offer a mobile game he calls “Churchill Solitaire,” named after Winston Churchill, the World War II-era British prime minister, whom Rumsfeld greatly admires.

    The prime minister’s version of the game involves two decks of cards rather than one, and some additional complexities that give the game Churchillian depth.

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  • Why traders are really bearish on oil

    After bouncing back last week, oil prices took a steep dip on Monday. And there may be more downside ahead.

    Last week’s high inventory numbers didn’t take down oil (CLH16.NYM). Yet on Monday, Iraq announced its crude production is at record highs.

    The difference a week ago, said Scott Shellady, senior vice president at Alpha Modus, is that oil received a boost from European Central Bank (ECB) president Mario Draghi. Last week, the ECB head hinted that increased monetary stimulus could be on the way in March.

    And it was also technically very oversold,” Sehllady said. “The weak shorts got squeezed out late last week."

    But with little fundamentally changed for crude, traders got jittery about the rebound’s strength and resumed selling this week. Shellady sees that underlying theme continuing.

    Get the Latest Market Data and News with the Yahoo Finance App

    “The story has been the ‘oil price plunge,’” he said. “Just like in interest rates, I think the story is lower oil prices for a lot

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  • 3 ways Apple can beat low expectations

    Ahead of Apple's (AAPL) all-important holiday quarter report this afternoon everything looks bleak. The company's stock price is down 12% over the past year, including a 6% drop so far in 2016. Analysts have been slashing estimates for weeks, reports out of Asia from Apple suppliers indicate slowing orders and the press is almost entirely negative.

    No doubt there are some real challenges for Apple, which may be reaching the end of easy growth in the smart phone market. But as far as the stock is concerned, piles of one-sided negativity and low expectations often are set up for a big reversal. It's happened before. The present moment looks a lot like April 23, 2014.

    Analysts are expecting Apple to report earnings per share of $3.23, according to Factset, up from $3.06 a year ago. Total revenue is expected to be $76.6 billion, up less than 3% from $74.6 billion a year ago. On the iPhone specifically, analysts estimate Apple sold 75 million units to bring in $51.3 billion. And looking

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  • Dow will reach 25,000 because QE4 is coming: analyst

    The Federal Reserve has a big problem on its hands. It hooked U.S. stocks on six years of ultra-cheap liquidity, and it now faces blowback after removing the proverbial punch bowl.

    Today, the Federal Reserve commences its two-day meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee, which decides U.S. monetary policy. While no one expects the Fed to announce another rate raise, analysts will be parsing the announcement for clues as to the pace of future rate raises.

    The problem is that when the Fed has begun to raise rates in the past, the economy was growing at a much more rapid pace than it is now. An expanding economy can absorb a series of rate increases—at least for a time. Today, year-over-year GDP growth is stagnating at 3.0%. The last time the Fed commenced a rate hike cycle in 2004, GDP growth was over double the current amount.

    Source: Federal ReserveSource: Federal Reserve

    Accordingly, many analysts doubt the ability of risk markets to absorb future rate increases. They blame the current weakness on the Fed either acting too

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  • Organic food CEOs see growth ahead for industry

    With two-thirds of the country overweight or obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one of the most powerful trends driving consumer market dollars today is health and wellness.

    Restaurants, grocery stores and fitness studios are all trying to capitalize on healthy food, the fastest growth sector among defensive consumer staples companies.

    Yet some of the names most exposed to the healthy-living trend have gotten hit hard in the last year. Whole Foods (WFM) sank 30% in 2015 on declining same-store sales and pressured margins. In its fourth quarter, the supermarket chain saw its first same-store sales decline, down 0.2%, since 2009.

    Despite some outside pressures, though, the potential in the organic food category remains strong, says Irwin Simon, founder, chairman and CEO of Hain Celestial (HAIN), who joined Yahoo Finance at the ICR Conference in Orlando, Fla., this month.

    Hain, which manufactures and sells natural "better for you" products like Celestial

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  • Slumping oil leads to a rocky Monday for stocks

    A slide in the price of crude leaked into the equity markets, prompting a rocky start to trading after the first positive week of 2016.

    Winners and losers
    Stocks slipping today include Chesapeake (CHK), Mircon Technology (MU), and Caterpillar (CAT). The industrial equipment manufacturer took a hit after Goldman Sachs (GS) downgraded the stock, citing expectations of slowing industrial machinery sales.

    On the other hand, today's big winners include Mattel (MAT), Wynn Resorts (WYNN), and Tyco (TYC). The security systems company is jumping on plans of a merger with Johnson Controls. The combined company will be based in Ireland, taking an estimated $150 million off its annual tax bill.

    Twitter in trouble?
    Another stock in focus today was Twitter (TWTR). Troubles continue for the social media company as four top executives are reportedly leaving the company. And Twitter is facing increasing pressure as other social networking sites slowly chip away at its real-time news platform, particularly

    Read More »from Slumping oil leads to a rocky Monday for stocks
  • It was just over five years ago that tennis star Andre Agassi published his autobiography "Open." The book is widely regarded as one of the greatest sports memoirs ever. It also shocked many with its honesty on deeply personal topics like Agassi's marriage to Brooke Shields and his experimentation with crystal meth.

    Now the experience of writing that book (with the sportswriter J.R. Moehringer) and sharing his stories has prompted Agassi to invest in Unscriptd, an athlete-video site that re-launched last week with proprietary technology allowing athletes to film their own video.

    Unscriptd first launched in 2013 as a content aggregator that housed sports video clips from across the web, but now its focus is using software to offer fans "an unfiltered view" from athletes, told entirely through videos that show "the real side of athletes, and the real view into their world," according to co-founder and CEO Brent Scrimshaw, former CEO of Western Europe for Nike (NKE).

    Scrimshaw launched

    Read More »from Why Andre Agassi and former Nike, BuzzFeed execs launched a sports video site
  • These charts show why investors should be worried

    The market’s recent bounce back from a brutal selloff may have some investors complacent. But one technician sees more trouble ahead for the markets.

    “Indices are trying to carve out a bottom,” said Mark Newton, chief technical strategist at Greywolf Execution Partners. “The lows are near. However, the damage that's been done makes it look like there's a lot more volatility in store in the months ahead and we could have more downside into the fall.”

    Newton bases it outlook on several charts, including those of the NYSE Composite (^NYA) Index, the Shanghai Composite (000001.SS) Index, and the Dow Jones Transportation Average (^DJT).

    Source: Mark Newton, Greywolf Execution PartnersSource: Mark Newton, Greywolf Execution Partners
    Unlike the S&P 500 (^GSPC), which is comprised of the largest publicly-traded U.S. companies, the NYSE Composite Index is made up of all the stocks trading at the New York Stock Exchange. “Why this is interesting is because this is very much a much more broad-based index than just looking at the S&P,” said Newton.

    Both indices saw a bull market starting in

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