Layoffs increase, Toyota takes advantage of foreign exchange rates, and CNN ratings suffer.
Number of planned layoffs increases
The number of planned layoffs at US firms rose 13.5 percent in October due primarily to cuts in the pharmaceutical and financial sectors, according to CNBC. The monthly Challenger and Gray report indicates that employers announced 45,730 layoffs last month, up from 40,289 in September. But for the first time in five months, the October figure was lower than the year-ago tally. It is anticipated that the unemployment rate, which will be released on Friday, is likely to tick up to 7.3 percent.
Insurers urged by government to extend policies
Federal and state lawmakers are pressuring insurance companies to allow consumers whose coverage has been canceled in response to the healthcare overhaul to keep their policies beyond the end of the year. According to the Wall Street Journal, Blue Shield of California said it would relax its stance on terminated policies for about 115,000 people after receiving pressure from state legislators. Customers will now have until March to decide which plan to choose for 2014. Because new plan options generally cost more, the move could save residents as much as $28.6 million in premiums.
Toyota profit jumps 70 percent despite lower sales
Toyota’s quarterly profit jumped 70 percent and the company raised its earnings forecast despite lower sales. The Associated Press reports that profits at Japanese automakers have surged in yen terms as the Japanese currency weakened against the US dollar over the past year. A year ago, the yen was trading at about 79 to the US dollar. Now it is just under a dollar. Toyota has been the biggest beneficiary of the weaker yen, gaining 280 billion yen ($2.8 billion) in net income due to the foreign exchange impact. Quarterly sales slipped to 2.24 million vehicles, down from 2.25 million a year ago.
CNN suffers lowest ratings in over a year
USA Today is reporting that for the week of Oct. 28 to Nov. 1, the Time-Warner owned CNN network averaged its lowest viewership since August 2012 and lost viewers to both Fox News and MSNBC. Fox News, which has been openly critical of the Affordable Care Act, topped the competition with its aggressive coverage of the rollout of Healthcare.gov. It drew 2.4 million viewers.
Fed study urges low short-term rates for a longer period
A new research paper by a top central-bank staff member indicates that the Federal Reserve could help drive unemployment down faster by keeping short-term interest rates near zero for longer than currently envisioned. The Wall Street Journal reports that since last year the Fed has said it wouldn’t raise short-term rates, which are now near zero, until after the jobless rate drops below 6.5 percent, as long as inflation does not exceed 2.5 percent. The September unemployment rate was 7.2 percent. The paper urges keeping rates low until 2017.
Malibu is the priciest US housing market
Malibu is one of the nation’s most beautiful housing markets….and one of the most expensive, according to CNBC. In a survey of nearly 2,000 markets, Coldwell Banker Real Estate ranked it the highest with a $2 million divide between it and the least costly market: Cleveland. Thirteen of the country’s priciest markets are in California. In contrast, 15 of the 25 cheapest markets are in the Midwest. An average “sample-sized” house in Malibu lists for $2.15 million.
Catherine S. McBreen is President of Millionaire Corner. McBreen plans and develops content for Millionaire Corner. Catherine balances editorial content to meet the informational needs of both new and seasoned investors. She designs special monthly surveys on topical issues affecting the economic environment.
McBreen has a B.S. in speech communications from Northwestern University and a J.D. from DePail University College of Law. She is a member of the American Bar Association, the Illinois Bar Association, and the Chicago Bar Association.
Well-known for her expertise in the affluent and retirement arenas, McBreen is a frequent speaker at industry conferences. She has been quoted widely by the financial media, including The Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal, Research, Private Asset Management, On Wall Street, Reuters, Bloomberg News, The Dow Jones Newswires and Worth. Cathy has appeared as a guest on CNBC Closing Bell, First Business Morning News, Neal Cavuto at Fox Business News, ABC and CBS radio.
McBreen is co-author with Spectrem President George H. Walper, Jr. of the book "Get Rich, Stay Rich, Pass It On: The Wealth-Accumulation Secrets of America's Richest Families" (Portfolio, January 2008)
Catherine is the mother of four and is involved in many school and community events.