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Originally published Sunday, September 7, 2008 at 12:00 AM

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Dating service caters to "successful" singles

If you're looking for a well-heeled mate, you need to be extra careful during economic downturns. That's the contention of Prestige Speed Dating, a new service catering to "successful" singles, launched by dating firm FastLife.com and Honestly Online, an identity-verification service. Speed dating is designed to allow face-to-face meetings with a large number of new people in one shot by imposing time limits on each encounter.

If you're looking for a well-heeled mate, you need to be extra careful during economic downturns. That's the contention of Prestige Speed Dating, a new service catering to "successful" singles, launched by dating firm FastLife.com and Honestly Online, an identity-verification service. Speed dating is designed to allow face-to-face meetings with a large number of new people in one shot by imposing time limits on each encounter.

FastLife says it has identified an increase in concern among its members about finances, as opposed to appearance and age. All Prestige members will meet minimum financial criteria.

"Recessions cause people to alter their behaviors, and dating habits are no exception," says FastLife founder Justin Parfitt. He doesn't think the phenomenon is about "meeting wealthy people" per se, but about removing financials from the equation.

Crystal blogs

Bloggers are getting off the fence when it comes to their outlook for the market.

Each week, Birinyi Associates polls about 30 of "the most prominent financial bloggers" to find out where these Web commentators think the Standard & Poor's 500 index will be in 30 days. It's based on a prediction of a 1 percent change, with a call for less than 1 percent considered "neutral."

In last week's poll, neutral votes fell 10 percentage points to 15 percent. Bearish sentiment rose more than 3 percentage points to 45 percent, while bulls accounted for 40 percent of responses, up from 33 percent previously.

Small caps still lead

August marked the fourth straight month that small-capitalization stocks outperformed large caps, with the year-to-date difference approaching 10 percentage points, according to Russell Investments. The small-cap-focused Russell 2000 index fell 2.6 percent, while the large-stock Russell 1000 index had a 12.2 percent decline.

The Associated Press

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