It was a historic week, as August 31 marked the official end of U.S. combat operations in Iraq after seven years of war. President Obama made no mention of the word "victory" in his address to the nation, but instead spoke of a continued commitment to the people of Iraq. For support, 50,000 American troops will remain in the country. That minor news blip aside, what else was happening in the markets?

IN PICTURES: Top 7 Social Security Myths: Exposed

In The Markets

On September 1, automakers reported the worst August for auto sales in 27 years, according to CNNMoney. With sales just short of 1 million vehicles, the 21% drop from a year ago fell short of analysts' modest expectations. Luckily, the stock market wasn't paying attention to the cars as U.S. stocks grew the most since July, with the S&P 500 gaining 3%, according to Bloomberg. An unprecedented upswing in Chinese and American manufacturing helped push the index up.

However, volatility in the Treasury market hit a three-month high as the instruments declined for the first time in three days in response to the manufacturing increase. Are you feeling seasick yet? Hold on to your hats - September is historically the worst month for stocks. (For more, check out our FAQ on Why people say September is the worst month for investing.)

Tech Toys

In the technology sector, big dogs Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) and Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) both had news to share. Apple announced the revamping of its iPod lineup, including a new look, a touchscreen for the Nano and a more iPhone-like iPod Touch. The Touch will now be compatible with Apple's FaceTime video chat feature.

Apple TV is also getting a makeover - and a sale tag. The product will allow you to stream movies and TV shows for a small price, similar to how iTunes operates now. The box itself is now one-fourth the size of previous models, and it will cost $99 – a sharp drop from the previously announced $229.

iTunes Sings With Ping

Just in case none of that news was of interest to you, Apple also announced the launch of a new iTunes update that includes Ping, a social network feature that will allow users to follow the music preferences of friends and artists, according to USA Today.

Not one to be caught sitting idly by, Google made a social media announcement of its own. On August 30, the internet search giant acquired SocialDeck, a social gaming company. With SocialDeck, you can play games, such as Color Connect and PetHero MD, on your smartphone or on social networking sites like Facebook accessed through your PC.

BP & Buffett - WCF Essentials

If you missed hearing about the big headliners in finance, we've got you covered. BP has reported tripling its advertising spending since the oil spill, with BusinessWeek reporting BP's bill coming in at $93.4 million for television, print and web-based advertising. That's an awful lot of polish to shine up the company's corporate image.

IN PICTURES: 6 Millionaire Traits That You Can Adopt

August 30 marked perhaps the most talked about birthday in the financial world: Warren Buffett's. The Oracle of Omaha became an octogenarian this year, and many used the occasion to speculate on when he will die and who will replace him. In fact, apparently money manager Whitney Tilson used a life expectancy calculator to estimate how much time Buffett has left – apparently 12 years. I know I like to spend my birthday reading about my own mortality on the internet! In retaliation, Buffett declared he intends to work well past age 100.

The Bottom Line

The roller coaster that is the financial market continues to threaten to jump tracks, but take heart; at least Apple continues to deliver exciting, shiny gadgets for us to play with. And at least when it's my birthday, I don't have to hear the speculations of thousands as to when I will die. Hopefully Buffett's $62 billion estimated net worth eases the pain.

If you missed last week's financial news; read Water Cooler Finance: The Ups And Downs Of A Double-Dip Recession.

Related Articles
  1. Investing News

    Should You Be Betting with Buffett Right Now?

    Following Warren Buffett's stock picks has historically been a good strategy. Is considering his biggest holdings in 2016 a good idea?
  2. Financial Advisor Technology

    Top Problems with Financial Data Aggregation

    A new front in personal finance technology—data aggregation—seeks to make our financial lives easier. But here's why it may be stalling.
  3. Investing News

    Is It Time To Sell Technology Stocks? (LNKD, AAPL)

    Technology stocks have taken a drubbing in recent days. Is it time to sell them?
  4. Investing

    Does BlackBerry Have What It Takes To Succeed? (BBRY)

    The last several years have been tough for BlackBerry shareholders. With the company in the midst of an attempted turnaround, we examine their progress.
  5. Stock Analysis

    If You Had Invested Right After Berkshire Hathaway's IPO (BRK.A)

    Learn how much you would now have if you had invested right after Berkshire Hathaway's IPO, and find out the classes of shares that you could invest in.
  6. Economics

    The History of Stock Exchanges

    Stock exchanges began with countries who sailed east in the 1600s, braving pirates and bad weather to find goods they could trade back home.
  7. Economics

    How Warren Buffett Made Berkshire A Winner

    Berkshire Fine Spinning Associated and Hathaway Manufacturing Company merged in 1955 to form Berkshire Hathaway.
  8. Investing News

    What Does the Fire Monkey Mean for Your Portfolio?

    The Chinese new year this year corresponds to the monkey, a quick-witted, playful, tricky figure that means well but has a penchant for causing trouble.
  9. Investing

    5 Up and Coming Social Media Startups

    Although the days of Facebook's dominance aren't close to being over, here are some new creative platforms gaining traction on the worldwide web.
  10. Investing News

    Public Vs. Private Tech Valuations: What's Driving the Divide?

    The gross valuations over the past five years are more indicative of the market than the true value of the company itself.
  1. Is Apple Pay safe and free?

    Apple Pay is a mobile payment system created by Apple to reduce the number of times shoppers and buyers have to pay for goods ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. What is the QQQ ETF?

    The PowerShares QQQ, previously known as the QQQQ, is a widely held and traded exchange-traded fund (ETF) that gives investors ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. How did Enron use off-balance-sheet items to hide huge debts and toxic assets?

    Prior to its infamous accounting scandals and collapse, Enron used off-balance-sheet special purpose vehicles (SPVs) to hide ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. Why did Warren Buffett invest heavily in Coca-Cola (KO) in the late 1980s?

    Warren Buffett found Coca-Cola an attractive investment because it had a moat and was attractively valued. Buffett began ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. Why does Warren Buffett largely avoid investing in the technology sector?

    Warren Buffett has often said that he avoids investing in the technology sector because he does not like to own stocks in ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. Why doesn't Warren Buffett own Apple (AAPL) stock?

    Warren Buffet claims he simply does not know how to properly evaluate Apple (AAPL) and does not feel confident in his reading ... Read Full Answer >>
Hot Definitions
  1. Liquidation Margin

    Liquidation margin refers to the value of all of the equity positions in a margin account. If an investor or trader holds ...
  2. Black Swan

    An event or occurrence that deviates beyond what is normally expected of a situation and that would be extremely difficult ...
  3. Inverted Yield Curve

    An interest rate environment in which long-term debt instruments have a lower yield than short-term debt instruments of the ...
  4. Socially Responsible Investment - SRI

    An investment that is considered socially responsible because of the nature of the business the company conducts. Common ...
  5. Presidential Election Cycle (Theory)

    A theory developed by Yale Hirsch that states that U.S. stock markets are weakest in the year following the election of a ...
Trading Center