Sales of existing U.S. homes jumped 12.3% in December over November's levels, the National Association of Realtors said. December's existing-home sales rose to a seasonally-adjusted annualized rate of 5.28 million.
This provides an encouraging end to the worst year since 1997, as the collapse in house prices and a wave of foreclosures depressed activity over the 12-month period.
AT&T Announces New Bundle Choices
AT&T announced a new AT&T “Choice” bundle that startsat $99 a month for qualifying services and provides a combination of TV, high speed Internet, home phone or wireless voice service — an option not available in most cable bundles. Bundles can include DVR and DVR service, plus a one-year price guarantee and significant monthly savings.
E*TRADE Appoints Steven Freiberg CEO
E*TRADE FINANCIAL Corporation announced its board has appointed Steven Freiberg CEO, effective April 1, 2010. Mr. Freiberg, an experienced financial services executive, has held multiple senior level positions over a distinguished 30-year career at Citigroup. Mr. Freiberg, who also will join the Company's Board of Directors, succeeds interim CEO Robert Druskin. Mr. Druskin will remain on the Board, continuing in his role as Chairman.
February CPI Unchanged
Tthe Consumer Price Index was unchanged in February, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Over the last 12 months, the index increased 2.1 percent before seasonal adjustment.
Monthly consumer price inflation hasn't been this low since March of last year
US Jobless Claims Fall By 5K
Less Americans filed first-time claims for jobless benefits last week for the third consecutive time, the Labor Department reported today. The advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 457,000, a decrease of 5,000 from the previous week's unrevised figure of 462,000. The 4-week moving average was 471,250, a decrease of 4,250 from the previous week's unrevised average of 475,500.
This is a sign the labor market is gradually improving along with the economy.
Citi's Primerica unit files for IPO
Citigroups' life insurance unit, Primerica, filed for an initial public offering of up to $252 million as part of Citigroup's plan to shed assets outside its main banking business. Citi expects to sell 18 million Primerica shares to the public and 17.2 million shares to private equity firm Warburg Pincus, plus warrants. Post-IPO, Citi's stake will be 32%-46%, while Warburg Pincus' stake will be 23%-33%.
MetLife to Pay $1.5 Billion in Policy Dividends
MetLife, Inc. announced today that its life insurance subsidiary,
Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, approved an aggregate payment amount of
approximately $1.5 billion in policy dividend payments to eligible life
insurance policyholders for 2010.
The company says the dividend payout not only reflects MetLife`s financial strength and stability, but also its commitment to its policyholders today and for the future
Producer Prices Post Largest Fall In 7 months
Producer prices fell more steeply than expected in February as energy costs fell, giving the Federal Reserve leeway to hold interest rates exceptionally low for an extended period as it has promised. The Labor Department on Wednesday said the index for prices paid at the farm and factory gate fell 0.6 percent, the largest decline since July, after increasing 1.4 percent in January. Even excluding volatile energy and food costs, core producer prices rose just 0.1 percent last month.
Price producer price pressure is pretty moderate.
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