Money in a Minute: Headlines for March 1, 2011

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SAVINGS: Americans earning and saving more

Maybe those New Year’s resolutions were serious: Americans saved $677 billion in January, $56 billion more than in December. And they spent less than expected, with “spending by individuals ticked up just 0.2%, compared to a 0.5% increase the prior month,” CNN reports, even though “economists were expecting an increase of 0.4% in January.”

CARS: Consumer Reports ranks Honda, Subaru as top makes

Consumer Reports, the nonprofit that puts out product evaluations for everything from computers to vacuum cleaners, has released its annual report card for automakers, with Honda and Subaru ranking best overall. In last place? Chrysler. “Its post-bankruptcy reorganization models are much improved,” USA Today reports, “but the company is hurt by a history of reliability problems.”

OIL: Noble Energy wins first post-spill deep-water drilling permit

Noble Energy was awarded the first permit since the BP mess last April for being the first to meet new safety requirements. Its stock rose nearly 4 percent to the highest point since July 2008 on the news. They will “use a containment system developed by Helix Energy Solutions Group in case of a well explosion,” Bloomberg reports.

STOCKS: Dow’s rise puts it up 2.81% for February

Looking back on the month that was, The Wall Street Journal notes “for the Dow and the S&P 500, this month represented their biggest February gains since 1998.” It’s also the third straight month in the black, though other economic indicators, as usual, were mixed.

PANCAKES: Free pancakes – get ‘em while they’re hot

Today is National Pancake Day, which means IHOP is once again giving away free pancakes “as part of a promotion to raise money for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals,” MSNBC reports. Visit between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m. for your free short stack — that’s three pancakes — but expect crowds.

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