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Stock Market Game Week in Review

The Stock Market Game is a curriculum-based teaching tool that allows students to invest a hypothetical $100,000 online stock portfolio to learn about long-term saving and investing.

From the disturbing chimp story to the disappointing news regarding A-Rod, Americans are in need of some good news for a change (especially after former Fed Chairman Greenspan called for an overhaul of the entire financial system earlier this week). It appears the bond market may provide just that. (Don't miss "Kass: Choosing Bonds Over Equities.")

According to MarketWatch columnist Mark Hulbert the spread between yields on Treasuries and municipal bonds (or "munis") is narrowing, which may be good news for the broader economy. Hulbert feels investors are slowly moving away from Treasuries (which many investors flock to in a down market) and are assuming more risk by testing out the waters with munis. Hulbert writes, "If this trend continues, it would signal the market's return to its 'normal' function of pricing various securities according to their intrinsic worth, in which it properly discriminates between securities of higher and lower quality."

The positive news continues with an additional boost from President Obama's economic stimulus package, as it includes measures to expand the use of municipal bonds. They would be used to fund the transportation, housing and education projects the stimulus seeks to start. The Wall Street Journal reported this week that high-yield bonds (a.k.a. junk bonds) are gaining favor with investors after a poor showing in 2008. Individual investors have invested $4 billion in mutual funds that hold high-yield bonds since November of last year. Trading of corporate bonds is also on the rise as of late. The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) reports an average of $17.1 billion of corporate bonds is being traded daily this month, an increase from the $9.4 billion low in August of last year.

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