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BC-US--Business Features Digest, US

The business news enterprise package planned through May 13. For comments or questions, call Joseph Pisani at 212-621-1975. For questions about photos, call ext. 1900. For questions about graphics, call ext. 7636. Repeats of stories are available from http://apexchange.com or the Service Desk, 1-800-838-4616.

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Note: SMALLBIZ-REALITY SHOWS stands for SMALLBIZ-SMALL TALK. Small Talk will return next week.

WALL STREET WEEK AHEAD

NEW YORK â¿¿ When the price of gold plunged $200 last month, many investors thought they caught the sound of the gold bubble finally popping. What Peter Schiff, the CEO of Euro Pacific Precious Metals, believes he heard was the stampede of fair-weather speculators hitting the exits. Schiff and other champions of gold weren't shaken by the metal's sudden plunge. To them it was just a short breather before another long climb. Here are the reasons they give for buying gold. By Business Writer Matthew Craft.

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HOUSING-WHERE ARE THE JOBS?

U.S. builders and the subcontractors they depend on are struggling to hire fast enough to meet rising demand for new homes. Builders would be starting work on more homes â¿¿ and contributing more to the economy â¿¿ if they could fill more job openings. The worker shortage ranges across occupations â¿¿ from construction superintendents and purchasing agents to painters, cabinet makers and drywall installers. More than six years after the housing bust stalled construction and led many companies to slash payrolls, the labor shortage is holding back the housing market's rebound. By Real Estate Writer Alex Veiga.

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AP photo.

SMALLBIZ-REALITY SHOWS

NEW YORK â¿¿ There's no business like small business. Mix the high stakes of running a small business with a dash of family drama and throw in a camera crew and you get hit reality television shows such as "Pawn Stars," ''Welcome to Sweetie Pie's" and "Duck Dynasty." Turning small business owners into stars has become a winning formula for television producers, but the businesses featured in the shows are cashing in, too. Sales explode after just a few episodes have aired, transforming nearly unknown small businesses into household names. Some small-business owners also are benefiting financially from opening gift shops that sell souvenirs or getting involved in other ventures that spawn from their newfound fame. By Business Writer Joseph Pisani.

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