*Signs of Life: With foreclosures luring speculators and first-time buyers enjoying low interest rates, there's cause for cautious optimism in housing. *Business Outlook: Jim Cooper sees businesses and households wringing out excessive debt. *Investing: Minimizing the effects of currency swings on the dollar. *Retirement: insurance that guarantees retirement income. *How to play with it: Why GE Capital's woes will keep GE stock down. *GM: Who's in charge here? *Mendel on Economics: Americans may be spending even less than official statistics show. *India: If neither party pulls ahead, the election could bring a coalition government, stalling reform.