MF Global gets fined, consumer spending is on the rise, but home sales dropped.
ACA Website Ills Not Likely to be Completed Cured by Deadline
The promised target date of Nov. 30 to have the glitch-plagued HealthCare.gov website fully functional may not be met, Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius indicated Tuesday. "The 30th of November is not a magic go, no go date,” she told The Associated Press. It is a work of constant improvement. We have some very specific things we know we need to complete by the 30th and that punch list is getting knocked out every week.” The Obama administration’s credibility has been badly shaken by the fumbling of the Affordable Care Act rollout. Last week, federal health officials revealed that just 26,794 people enrolled for health insurance through the federal website during the first month of operations. Sebelius told the AP it would work for most users by the end of the month, but would still require fixes because of the magnitude of the first-of-its-kind project, the AP reports.
Consumer Spending Higher Than Expected in October
The U.S. Commerce Department reports that U.S. consumer spending moved higher than expected in October, giving hope for a further rise in the fourth quarter. Retail sales excluding automobiles, gasoline and building materials increased 0.5 percent in October after advancing 0.3 percent in September. Reuters’ poll of economists produced a prediction of a 0.3 percent rise. The increase in core sales suggests spending will continue to accelerate from the two-year low that was reached in the third quarter. The Commerce Department reports there were significant gains in clothing, furniture, electronics, and sporting goods sales. The rise in sales of electronics and appliances was the highest since April. Automobile and parts dealers had sales increases of 1.3 percent after dropped 1.2 percent in September.
Americans Workers Hate Their Jobs More
A survey sponsored by job search website Monster.com shows that Americans hate their jobs more than workers in any of seven developed countries around the world. The survey found that 15 percent of American workers said they disliked or hated their jobs, the highest level of dissatisfaction among workers surveyed in seven countries. The other countries surveyed were Canada, France, Germany, India, Netherlands and the United Kingdom. Just over half of the Americans surveyed said they liked or loved their job. Twenty-two percent of Americans said they liked their job so much they would do it for free, the highest such percentage in the survey.
MF Global to Pay More Than $1 Billion to Customers
MF Global is ordered to pay more than $1 billion to customers harmed in the brokerage’s October 2011 collapse. U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero of the Southern District of New York ruled Nov. 8 that MF Global must pay an additional $100 million penalty as part of the civil settlement with U.S. derivatives regulators. The decision was announced by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission this week. The litigation was initiated in June following the company’s collapse and loss of more than $1 billion in customer money. The civil case against former Chief Executive Jon Corzine and former Assistant Treasurer Edith O’Brien are still ongoing.
Home Sales Dropped in October
The National Association of Realtors report fewer Americans bought existing homes in October as a result of higher mortgage rates, the government shutdown and a limited supply of available homes caused lower sales numbers. The NAR said home re-sales fell 3.2 percent in October to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.12 million, down from 5.29 million in the previous month. It is also the slowest sales pace since June. Sales of existing single family homes declined 4.1 percent. Condominium sales did go up 3.3 percent. The NAR reports the median sales price of an existing home was $199,500 in October, an increase of 12.8 percent from October 2012. It was also the 11th consecutive month of double-digit annual increases.
Trader Sentenced to Jail for Apple Transaction
David Miller was sentenced to 2 ½ years in prison Tuesday for an unauthorized purchase of about $1 billion in Apple Inc. stock, a transaction that eventually led to the demise of financial services firm Rochdale Securities. Miller was sentenced by a U.S. District Judge in Hartford, Conn., and the decision came seven months after Miller pleaded guilty to wire fraud and conspiracy. The charges were that Miller conspired with another individual to buy 1.625 million Apple shares last October on the same day the company planned to report third-quarter earnings, hoping that the share price would rise. Miller falsely told Rochdale the trade was for a customer who had, in fact, only asked to buy 1.625 shares, not 1.625 million shares.