March is starting on a high note, with sunny skies in New York City and the second edition of Our Two Cents provided by Bliss PR’s Financial Services Practice Group. This week, the news highlights focus on the markets, insurance and banking.
Markets: Today, the government reported a 0.5 percent increase in January personal income spending and the labor market is being watched closely for any signs of revival as we await February’s unemployment rate on Friday, a number that is expected to rise just slightly to 9.8%. On Wednesday we can expect the Fed to release its Beige Book, which will outline economic conditions in various regions. Additionally we can expect, at some point this week, the House to take up the $15 billion jobs measure passed by the Senate last Wednesday. The bill is expected to give businesses tax incentives to hire new workers. To learn more about the bill intended to spur job creation, click here.
Insurance: Prudential of Britain (not to be confused with U.S.-based Prudential Financial) will purchase AIG’s Asian life insurance unit, AIA, in a $35 billion deal which will contribute to the repayment of AIG’s $180 billion debt to the U.S. government (more from the The New York Times). The deal establishes Prudential as the leading life insurer in several countries as well as the top foreign provider of life insurance to China and India. Back in the U.S. market, delays in federal legislative votes have resulted in the temporary suspension of several government programs, including the National Flood Insurance Program. No new policies will be issued until the Senate votes (the House has already approved the bill extending the program through March) and payment of claims could be affected. See additional details from Insurance Journal.
Banking: Today, Fed Vice Chairman Donald Kohn announced his retirement in June, when his term ends. Kohn’s retirement marks a noteworthy time in Fed history as he provided over 40 years of public service and has been a trusted advisor to Ben Bernanke regarding critical decisions during the financial crisis. Now, President Obama will have another seat to fill on the Fed board and news will likely continue regarding Obama’s plans to replace Kohn as well as features on Kohn himself. The Wall Street Journal offers a full report on the announcement and Kohn’s contributions.
What financial news is on your radar today?
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