Monday, October 26, 2009

Quick Notes for the Day - October 26

National Index Rises Above Recession Level - The Chicago Federal Reserve reported that the national activity index (includes 85 separate indices) rose to -0.63 over the past three months from -0.96 in the three months ending in August. This marks the first time the index's three-month average has been above the -0.70 level since early in the recession. For September, the index slipped to negative 0.81 from negative 0.65 in August. In September, production and income indicators were positive for the third straight month, but the other three main categories (employment, sales and consumption) remained negative.

Dollar Trades Higher, Oil Falls on Dollar's Strength - The dollar has traded higher Monday by about 0.6% reversing a trend against the Euro. On the news, oil traded below $80 (stronger dollar equals lower crude oil prices). Also adding to pressure on oil was an announcement over the weekend that Nigeria's main militant group declared an indefinite ceasefire which had put some possible supply pressure into the price.

Gold, Copper Fall on Stronger Dollar - Gold and other metals futures turned lower midday Monday as the U.S. dollar rose off earlier lows. Gold for December delivery was down about $10.10 (0.9%) at $1046 an ounce. Gold, seen as a safe place to park cash in uncertain times, often trades in the opposite direction of US stocks. But lately, both have been rising together as a drop in the dollar makes hard assets like gold and oil more valuable, and at the same time, supports profits at US companies with international earnings.

Romer: Health Care Reform Is Key to Deficit - Council of Economic Advisers Chair Christina Romer in prepared remarks said Monday morning that health care reform is "the most significant act" the U.S. can take to tackle its long-term budget deficit problem. "Done correctly, health care reform can genuinely slow the growth rate of health care costs and thus put us on a path to greatly reduced budget deficits in the long run."

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