BC-US--Business Features Digest, US

The business news enterprise package planned through July 25. 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.

Eds: Adds BARBIE BLUES; OF MUTUAL INTEREST-BOND FUND OUTLOOK; SMART SPENDING-SENIOR DISCOUNTS.

Eds: The weekly personal finance column "On the Money," which is normally published on Wednesday, will be published on Friday, July 19.

CYBER ATTACKS-BANKS

It's a war game, Wall Street style. Banks large and small are girding for an elaborate drill this week that will test how they'd fare if hackers unleashed a powerful and coordinated attack against them. The exercise is being called "Quantum Dawn 2," and if the name sounds like a video game, it's also meant to convey the seriousness of a big threat. Cyberattacks on the banking industry are growing more frequent and sophisticated and the list of assailants is ever-changing. By Business Writers Christina Rexrode and Marcy Gordon.

Eds: Sent Tuesday for use anytime.

AP photos.

BARBIE BLUES

NEW YORK â¿¿ The queen has been dethroned. Barbie has long been the top doll on toy shelves. But after four straight quarters of sales declines, is Miss Popularity in danger of losing her throne? A weak toy industry in general, the success of new, edgier doll lines like vampy teen Monster High dolls and older kids turning increasingly to smartphones and tablets are all factors facing the 54-year-old fashion doll franchise. By Retail Writer Mae Anderson.

Eds: Sent Thursday for use anytime.

AP photos, video.

DIGITS

It was an oft-invoked image on last year's campaign trail: The typical American couple, sitting around the kitchen table making a budget to ensure their bills were paid and spending hadn't gotten out of control. Turns out, most Americans don't do that. A poll from Gallup shows that 32 percent of Americans put together a budget each month to track income and expenditures, and just 30 percent have a long-term financial plan laying out savings and investment goals. By Jennifer Agiesta.

Eds: Sent Tuesday for use anytime. This is the first installment of a new feature analyzing poll findings and methodology.

COLUMNS:

OF MUTUAL INTEREST-BOND FUND OUTLOOK

Investing in bond mutual funds is easy. At least, that's the way it has been for decades. Investors could count on the steady, monthly interest payments that they made. They also benefited from rising bond prices as interest rates went on a three-decade-long march downward from 1981. Each step lower made the bonds held by mutual funds more attractive, because they offered higher rates than newly issued bonds. But the tide has shifted. Many analysts say we have seen the bottom for interest rates, and the yield on the 10-year Treasury note has climbed to 2.5 percent from 1.6 percent at the start of May. By Stan Choe.

Eds: Sent Thursday for use anytime.

SMART SPENDING-SENIOR DISCOUNTS

NEW YORK â¿¿ There's a big silver lining to getting older: a bevy of discounts for you to enjoy, from free samples to discounts on car rentals. For many, you don't have to be anywhere near 65. Just be prepared to ask about them and do a little detective work, because the deals often aren't advertised. Here's how to find them. By Retail Writer Anne D'Innocenzio.

Eds: Sent Thursday for use anytime.

AP photo.

SMALLBIZ-SMALL TALK

NEW YORK â¿¿ Small business owner Sean Hilty ditched his pen for a keyboard and now he's not only getting more sleep â¿¿ he's attracting new customers. The owner of auto repair shop HBH MotorWerks used to stay up past 2 a.m. writing out customers' invoices by hand. Now that he types them up on his computer, he's getting to bed earlier. He made that change just last summer after handwriting invoices for 15 years. Hilty is not the only small business owner slow to adopt technology. Experts say many small business owners are slow to add technology and social media to their routines, and it's costing them money, time and potential customers. By Business Writer Joseph Pisani.

Eds: Sent Tuesday for use anytime.

AP photo.

With:

â¿¿ SMALLBIZ-SMALL TALK-SOCIAL MEDIA TIPS â¿¿ Tips for small businesses that want to start using Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and other social media websites.

â¿¿ SMALLBIZ-SMALL TALK-GLANCE â¿¿ A list of apps, software, websites and other digital tools made to help small businesses.

DIGITAL LIFE-TECH TEST-PEBBLE SMART WATCH

NEW YORK â¿¿ You have a cellphone, maybe a tablet. Sometimes you lug around a laptop. Do you really need one more gadget on you? Yes, you do. You need a smart watch. At least, that's what I learned after I got the Pebble, a $150 watch that connects wirelessly to iPhones and Android smartphones to notify you of incoming calls, texts and emails. The Pebble has a lot of rough edges, but it does a good job demonstrating the potential of "wearable" computing. By Technology Writer Peter Svensson.

Eds: Sent Tuesday for use anytime.

AP photo.

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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