Friday, October 23, 2009

Quick Notes for the Day - October 23

Existing Home Sales Rise 9.4% in September - The National Association of Realtors (NAR)estimated Friday morning that sales of existing homes rose sharply by 9.4% in September to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.57 million which is the highest rate in more than two years. Sales as tracked by the NAR are up 24% from January's bottom and are up 9.2% year over year. The median forecast by economists surveyed by MarketWatch looked for a smaller gain to a 5.38 million annual rate from a downwardly revised 5.09 million in August. "Sales surged" in September, said Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the real estate trade group, who gave much of the credit for the increase to the federal government's soon-to-expire $8,000 tax credit for first-time home buyers.

Frank Opposes Consolidated Super Regulator of Banks - There was "no reasonable chance" that legislators would create a consolidated super bank regulator, House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank (D-MA) told reporters Friday. Frank reiterated his support of combining the Office of Thrift Supervision and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, but he opposed a proposal introduced by Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd (D-CT) which would create a consolidated regulator made up of all bank regulators.

Bernanke: Biggest banks will face more rules - By Greg Robb - MarketWatch - "Federal Reserve Board chief Ben Bernanke said Friday that the biggest banks will be subject to more rules and regulations in coming months in order to protect the financial system. 'With the financial turmoil abating, now is the time for policymakers to take action to reduce the probability and severity of any future crisis,' Bernanke said at a Cape Cod conference put on the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston."

Microsoft Beats Estimates - Shares of Microsoft rose 9% in pre-market trading after the software giant reported fiscal first-quarter earnings of 40 cents a share vs. 48 cents a year ago.

Whirlpool Raises Full Year Guidance - Whirlpool raised its guidance for full-year earnings to $4.25 a share compared with earlier forecasts of $3.50 to $4 a share Friday.

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