The Market: February 17, 2012

The Market: February 17, 2012

The news this week gave us cause for cautious optimism, particularly about events on our shores. But there's still uncertainty in the air, namely wafting over from Europe.

Some good news: Jobless claims were at their lowest in four years. The bad: The Dow tumbled Wednesday over doubts about Greece's commitment to follow through on the conditions of an imminent bailout.

President Obama submitted the final budget request of his term, proposing tax increases on the wealthy and cuts in areas such as military spending in order to pay for programs in education, public works, research and clean energy.

While the predictably partisan Congress either commended his ideas or condemned them, the two sides did agree to extend the payroll tax cut, which was set to expire at the end of February. That means the average American will save about $1,000 in taxes this year.

Regulations intended to prevent another financial crisis are coming down the pike. The Volcker rule, now in draft form, aims to reduce conflicts of interest at banks, and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau proposed regulating debt collectors and credit rating agencies for the first time.

One bright spot in the news has been the rise of basketball phenom Jeremy Lin, whose winning streak with the New York Knicks has wowed the world ... and even had an effect in the market. We look at how Lin's on-court points could turn into profits for investors, and then reverse the situation to examine how your investing decisions affect the wider world.

Why One Type of Investor Is Loving Jeremy Lin

Jeremy Lin's winning streak has pushed Madison Square Garden stock up. Who is going to benefit in the short-term? And how exactly do dunks turn into dollars?

Want to Better the World? Try Socially Responsible Investing

We normally look at our investments as ways to make money. But they can do so much more—such as make the world a better place. Here's how you can get involved.

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