Money in a Minute: Headlines for Feb. 14, 2011

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In today's roundup: Love in the office, mortgages on the rise, gas prices on a record pace, Obama under heat, and Lego in a battle.

DATING: Looking for love? Try the next cubicle

Hey, it’s Valentine’s Day, so we couldn’t resist this story: “Nearly 4,000 workers, about 40 percent, say they’ve dated a co-worker at some point in their careers,” the Today show reports. “Get this: 30 percent say they went on to marry a person they dated in the workplace.”

HOUSING: Average rate on 30-year mortgage hits 5.05 pct.

Back in November, home buyers truly had much to be thankful for: Mortgage rates hit a 40-year low of 4.17 percent. But on this Valentine’s Day, today’s buyers are getting no love. “The average rate on the 30-year mortgage topped 5 percent for the first time since April,” Bloomberg reports. “Higher rates could further hamper the struggling housing market ahead of the spring’s prime home-buying season.”

GAS PRICES: Gas pump prices highest ever for this time of year

More bad news over the weekend: “The national average hit $3.127 per gallon on Friday, about 50 cents above a year ago,” the Associated Press reports. The highest ever in this country? $4.11 last July. If the trend continues, we’ll beat that handily.

GOVERNMENT: Obama’s budget would cut heat subsidies for poor

You know times are tough when President Obama says he’s cutting money that keeps poor people warm in the winter. “Obama’s 2012 budget will propose cutting $2.5 billion from a program that helps low-income people cope with high energy costs in the cold of winter and heat of summer,” CNN reports. “The reduction is steep, and might impact millions of families.”

TOYS: Hasbro pushes into Lego’s land with new blocks

If competition makes cars and smartphones better, why not building blocks? Hasbro is rolling out a new product to compete with Lego. Even better, kids can use them with Lego blocks. Why try to topple this monopoly? “While total U.S. toy revenue rose 2 percent to $21.87 billion in 2010,” USA Today reports,” building set sales jumped 13 percent.”

Stacy Johnson

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