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Monday's Daily Pulse

Predictions from market experts for 2014

It is an understatement to say stock market investors had a good year in 2013. The Standard & Poor's 500 index soared 29 percent, its best year since 1997. Including dividends, it gained 32 percent. What lies ahead after this historic year? Read more from the AP and see also:

» South Florida’s top business stories in 2013
For 2014, 10 predictions for the new No. 3 state in the country
» Poll: Tampa Bay residents less optimistic about economic year ahead
» Space Coast economic experts look ahead to 2014
» 2014 job growth to ramp up in new and old industries

How the notion of retirement for workers took root

Work until you die — or until you can't work anymore. Until the late 19th century, that was the old-age plan for the bulk of the world's workers. The idea of providing financial security for the aged gradually caught on and expanded in Europe, the United States and other advanced economies. [Source: AP]

» The most vulnerable retirees struggle to survive
» The world braces for retirement crisis

Florida looks to a private company to sell advertisements on state trails

The state is negotiating with a private company to take over a park sponsorship program after failing to get businesses to pay for advertisements along some of Florida's prime trails. New York-based Bikepath Country has offered to give the state 30 percent of any revenue over 15 years in exchange for making signs and seeking corporate sponsors for the program. [Source: Orlando Sentinel]

Slower growth expected for South Florida home prices in 2014

The bounce-back from the bottom in 2012 and 2013 was intense, with investors fueling a resurgence in housing that saw bidding wars and fast price increases. But 2014 might be the year the market finally takes a breath. [Source: South Florida Sun-Sentinel]

More Florida college students receive Pell grants

The number of state-university students receiving Pell grants has soared in recent years — an indication that more Floridians are having trouble affording rising education costs. Almost 40 percent of public-university undergraduate students got Pell grants last year, according to the most recent data available from the university system. [Source: Orlando Sentinel]

» The Biggest Florida Education Stories of 2013


› Jacksonville company seeks to cap concussions with new helmet technology
The very nature of football has changed because of the rise in concussions for players. Now a Jacksonville company is looking to develop an “intelligent helmet” that could use technology to improve the way football helmets respond to traumatic blows in order to drive down the number of head injuries.

› Nonprofits auction novelties to raise funds
It's a hot trend in fundraising for South Florida nonprofits: auction off novelty items or special experiences that even the rich would have a hard time finding elsewhere.

› Sarasota company growing its service brands everywhere
Direct Energy Services is aiming to be the next golden arches. The subsidiary of Centrica PLC in the United Kingdom may be the largest provider of air conditioning, plumbing and electrical services in North America, but it is setting its sights higher.

› South Florida's got talent
The stars are aligning in South Florida — the kind that glimmer on stage and screen, that is. A stunning array of young performers lighting up Hollywood and Broadway grew up in Broward and Palm Beach counties, and some got their training here, too.

Go to page 2 for more stories ...

› School-grade divide leaves Florida parents puzzled
The year 2013 was a record-setting time for Florida schools — but in a way that may leave confused parents scratching their heads. The state’s controversial A-to-F grading system was kind to high schools, but much harsher in its treatment of the lower grades.

› Improving job market in Florida? No, just a glitchy website
Call it the Economic Miracle That Wasn't. Florida's ongoing claims for unemployment benefits plummeted to the lowest level in six years from mid October to early December. Yet rather than herald an improving job market, chalk up Florida's shrinking claims numbers instead to the troubled debut of the state's unemployment claims website, CONNECT.

› Citizens hopes clearinghouse helps insurance shoppers
Billed as a "game-changer" and a "new option" for a New Year, Citizens Property Insurance Corp. rolls out its ambitious Property Insurance Clearinghouse Jan. 27 with the mission of demonstrating to Florida homeowners the state-backed property insurer isn't necessarily their only or best option.

› Port Everglades saw passenger numbers decrease in 2013
Cruise passenger numbers dropped at Port Everglades in fiscal 2013, but the Fort Lauderdale port expects more business in the upcoming year. The port processed just over 3.5 million multi-day passengers in the year that ended Sept. 30, down from nearly 3.7 million the year before.