The Market: February 10, 2012

This week, we’ll confess we were more excited about the Super Bowl than the stock market. (Which, it turns out, could actually affect the stock market.)

The world is waiting to see what happens with a Greek austerity package that would help the troubled European nation land another bailout. In the meantime, we’ve had good jobs news, and the government has sealed a $26 billion legal settlement with major banks, which would be used to cut mortgage balances for at-risk borrowers and refinance other borrowers who owe more than their homes are worth.

Meanwhile, Apple’s stock is way up, nearing the $500 per share mark, in a “staggering run for the most valuable company in the U.S.,” in the words of an article from The Wall Street Journal. The stock market as a whole might be on its way up, too, if you believe Warren Buffett’s statement that over time stocks will be safer and more profitable than bonds or gold.

And, of course, experience has shown that listening to Warren Buffett is usually a good move.

To help you be the best investor you can be, this week in The Market we’ll focus on the “other” S&P 500—the lesser-known cousin of the important S&P 500 stock index. We’ll also dive into the encouraging employment numbers (the unemployment rate is at a three-year low!) and discuss what this really means for our long-term prospects.

The ‘Other’ S&P

If you’ve read any of our articles about investing, odds are you’ve seen some mention of the S&P 500. But what is the “other” S&P 500 index, and should you invest in that instead?

Unemployment Is at a 3-Year Low—What That Means for Us

The Department of Labor announced last week that the jobless rate fell to 8.3%, the lowest rate in three years. Hooray! And yet … that number may be a little deceiving.