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On finance and practice

To get fraud protection right, follow this advice


Do-it-yourself loans

With this ring, I thee annoy

Do you know what you're covered for?

Four in 10 homeowners don't know if they're covered for earthquake damage, and one-third aren't sure about hurricane destruction, says a survey released by Travelers. Nearly three in 10 don't know if their homeowners policy will cover the replacement cost of rebuilding their home, and 37 percent aren't sure if their insurance company would pay their hotel bills if their home is damaged.

Not all stock values go up the old-fashioned way

More than 40 percent of S&P 500 companies boosted their stock values by buying back shares in the second quarter, says Standard & Poor's. Share buybacks reached a record $116 billion, rising by 43 percent over a year ago. Information technology firms, which lost 9.8 percent during the second quarter, spent the most, accounting for 25 percent of all buybacks during the three-month period. The sector accounts for less than 15 percent of the total market value of the S&P 500.

Ethanol = lousy fuel economy

Cars running on ethanol emit less smog-producing pollutants, but they get fewer miles to the gallon than gasoline-fueled vehicles, says Consumer Reports. A 2007 Chevrolet Tahoe fueled with E85 managed only 15 miles per gallon in highway driving, compared to 21 mpg with gasoline; it dropped from 9 mpg to 7 mpg in city driving. Ethanol, which is made from corn, has a lower energy content than gasoline, so you have to burn more fuel to generate the same amount of energy.