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IN AUGUSTA

TUESDAY: Augusta Metro Chamber of Commerce Women in Business; speaker is Vera Stewart of Very Vera Inc.; 11:30 a.m.; Augusta Marriott Hotel & Suites, 2 10th St., Augusta; $25 for members, $30 for nonmembers; (706) 821-1318

WEDNESDAY: 2010 CSRA Diversity Summit, "Bridging the Gap Between Employees and Employers"; 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Augusta Marriott Hotel & Suites, 2 10th St., Augusta; $125; (706) 854-6184.

THURSDAY: Augusta Metro Chamber of Commerce Business After Hours; 5:30-7:30 p.m.; Augusta Exchange Club Fairgrounds; free for members, $20 for nonmembers; (706) 821-1318

THURSDAY: Succeeding in Tough Economic Times: The Power and Importance of the Relationships in our Lives, with author George C. Frasor; 6:45 p.m.; Paine College, Gilbert-Lambuth Memorial Chapel, 1235 15th St., Augusta; $25, no tickets at the door; (706) 267-0579

THURSDAY: National Association of Purchasing Management-Augusta Area presentation of Success with Etiquette by Eleather Williams, a leader in etiquette and protocol services; 6 p.m.; Wachovia Bank Building, 699 Broad St., Augusta

IN WASHINGTON

TUESDAY: Federal Reserve releases minutes from September interest rate meeting

WEDNESDAY: Treasury releases federal budget for fiscal year 2010, 2 p.m.

THURSDAY: Labor Department releases weekly jobless claims, 8:30 a.m.; Labor Department releases the Producer Price Index for September, 8:30 a.m.; Commerce Department releases international trade for August, 8:30 a.m.; Freddie Mac releases weekly mortgage rates.

FRIDAY: Commerce Department releases September retail sales, 8:30 a.m.; Labor Department releases Consumer Price Index for September, 8:30 a.m.; Commerce Department releases business inventories for August, 10 a.m.

ON WALL STREET

Companies have amassed a serious chunk of change in their bank accounts, raising expectations of higher dividends, more stock buybacks and reinvigorated merger activity. But the cash stockpiles might not be used to reignite a hiring boom.

As third-quarter earnings season picks up pace this week, companies' cash holdings will be an area of interest. Some of this cash is being put to work, though not directly handed back to shareholders.

According to Standard & Poor's, companies that make up the S&P 500 stock index are spending more on buying their own stock than they are on shareholder dividends.

The summer ended with a host of takeovers concentrated in technology. Over a week and a half in August, Intel went on a buying binge, spending more than $9 billion of its cash on two separate deals: software security firm McAfee and the wireless semiconductor unit of German firm Infineon. Intel reports earnings Tuesday.


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