Friday, October 30, 2009

Quick Notes and Articles for the Day - October 30

Chicago PMI Rises Above 50 - The Chicago purchasing managers index (PMI) rose to 54.2% from 46.1% in September according to a survey of corporate purchasing managers released Friday. Readings over 50% indicate overall business expansion. Both new orders and production moved sharply higher in October. The Chicago PMI is considered a leading indicator to the national Institute for Supply Management (ISM) manufacturers' survey for October to be released on Monday.

Consumer Sentiment Improves in Late October - According to reports on the Reuters/University of Michigan index, consumer sentiment improved in late October to 70.6 in late October from 69.4 earlier in the month. Sentiment in September was 73.5.

Consumer Spending Falls After Cash for Clunkers - The Commerce Department estimated that consumer spending fell in September 0.6% (inflation, seasonally adjusted) after the government's cash-for-clunkers program ended. Real disposable incomes fell a seasonally adjusted 0.1%. In current-dollar terms (not inflation-adjusted), spending fell 0.5% in September. Current-dollar incomes were flat. With spending falling faster than incomes, the personal savings rate rose to 3.3% of disposable income from 2.8% in August.


The WellPoint Revelation - The Wall Street Journal - "At the request of Congressional delegations worried about their constituents—call it a public service—WellPoint mined its own actuarial data to model ObamaCare in the 14 states where it runs Blue Cross plans. The study therefore takes into account market and demographic differences that other industry studies have not, such as the one from the trade group America's Health Insurance Plans, which looked at aggregate national trends. In all of the 14 states WellPoint scrutinized, ObamaCare would drive up premiums for the small businesses and individuals who are most of WellPoint's customers. (Other big insurers, like Aetna, focus on the market among large businesses.) Young and healthy consumers will see the largest increases—their premiums would more than triple in some states—though average middle-class buyers will pay more too."

The House Health Reform Bill - The New York Times - "The Senate should pay attention to the health care reform bill unveiled on Thursday by House Democratic leaders. The bill would greatly expand coverage of the uninsured while reducing budget deficits over the next decade and probably beyond. It includes a public option that is weaker than we would like, but it still deserves to be approved by the House."

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