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Archie, a Chinese Crested, is seen here prior to winning World's Ugliest Dog competition at the Sonoma-Marin Fair in Petaluma, Calif. in 2006.

A humorous look at the companies that caught our eye, for better or worse, this week


Things that seem to go on forever: 1) The Palestinian-Israeli conflict; 2) Any episode of The Bachelor; 3) The U.S. housing slump. With high unemployment and the stalled economy causing more U.S. homeowners to miss mortgage payments, foreclosures jumped 25 per cent in August from a year earlier, sending shares of Pulte and other home builders into the basement.

Fun: Photocopying your buttocks and sending a copy to your boss. More fun: Investing in the company that makes the machine that photocopies your buttocks. Xerox shareholders were anything but bummed out after Barron's ran a bullish story on the copier and document management company, saying the firm is making big inroads in high-margin data services.

Interest charges on $50,000 credit card balance racked up at the casino: $9,000. Divorce lawyer fees when your wife discovers you've gambled away both of your RRSPs: $35,000. Feeling you get when you sell your house and put the whole bundle on MasterCard stock: Priceless. The shares soared after the company issued an upbeat forecast and announced a $1-billion (U.S.) stock buyback. Jackpot!

Wouldn't it be great if there was a pill to cure obesity? Shareholders of Arena Pharmaceuticals may never know. The biotech company's stock plunged after a Food and Drug Administration panel recommended against approval of Arena's experimental weight-loss drug lorcaserin, citing marginal efficacy and the appearance of cancerous tumours in animals.

Kicking yourself for missing out on the rally in gold ? Just think how the Aztecs feel. The precious metal coveted by conquistadors, jewellery junkies and rap stars soared to record highs, lifted by a weak U.S. dollar and fears that the global recovery is losing steam. With investors piling into gold, there's never been a better time to pawn that wedding ring.


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