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The bottom line

Americans take stock of their finances; The new hot car color; Farm income rises; Small-business owners clock long hours; China's exports set a record

Americans take stock of their financesOnly 28 percent of Americans think their financial situation will improve in the next year, according to a Marist College poll. Fifty-two percent believe they’ll be in roughly the same shape, and 20 percent fear they’ll be worse off. DailyFinance.com

The new hot car colorThe new trend in car colors is gray scale. Black, silver, and white cars make up 60 percent of new-car sales, up from 38 percent in the late 1990s.The Wall Street Journal

Farm income risesNet farm income in the U.S. was up 27 percent last year and is expected to rise another 20 percent this year, despite the sluggish growth of the economy in general. More-effi­cient growing techniques and increasing global demand for food have created a quiet boom in U.S. farm country, fueling predictions that farming will be a better path to riches than banking for the next generation.Time

Small-business owners clock long hoursFor 43 percent of small-business owners and managers, the workweek is frequently longer than 40 hours, and for 13 percent of them it’s often twice that long. Almost a third of small-business people work right through holidays, and 15 percent through dinner.Inc.

China's exports set a recordChina’s exports reached a record level of $874 billion in the first half of the year, 20 percent more than the country exported during the same period in 2010. The surge occurred despite the economic woes in its key U.S. and European markets and the dislocations caused by the tsunami in Japan. The Wall Street Journal

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