Somewhere in the great beyond, old Henry is smiling. While bankruptcy looms for sister companies General Motors ( GM) and Chrysler, Ford's ( F) report on Friday of lower-than-expected losses had investors shooting the stock uphill like a 400 horsepower Mustang. At the time of this writing, Ford shares were up more than 15%.

Why all the happiness about a $3.7 billion loss? Ford CEO Alan Mulally told reporters that the company is "turning the tide in North America" and also announced that the company plans to increase production by 25% this summer to meet demand -- all without a government bailout. Those are good signs for the bulls with respect to both Ford and the broader economy.

In other news, FDIC Chair Sheila Bair told a financial reform conference in Washington, D.C., last week that U.S. banks are past the crisis stage, adding: "We're in the cleanup stage now." Also in Washington yesterday at the meeting of the G20, US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said that the global economic downturn is easing but significant risks remain.

Elsewhere in the nation's capital, the Commerce Department reported that new home prices fell .06%, but the new home inventory also fell. Falling home inventories are a signal to some investors that home prices may be nearing a bottom as buyers clear out the number of available homes for sale. All this not-so-bad news sent the Dow, S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite indexes higher this morning.

On to this week's topic: Compound interest and the rule of 72.

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