Stocks move higher: Dow starts off what could be a turbulent week on the plus side by 95 points.
Fasten your seat belts: Washington gridlock after tomorrow's elections and a less-than-robust infusion by the Federal Reserve could leave the economy in no better shape than it is today. From the WSJ:
"The idea that gridlock in Congress is good for the economy is not obvious to us," Jan Loeys, J.P. Morgan Chase's global head of asset allocation, said in a note on Friday. "Gridlock surely promotes the status quo but that is not great in a time when action is needed." In times of economic prosperity, Wall Street widely believes, limited government is good for stocks, because Washington stays out of the market's way. But in times of economic trouble, such as we face now, investors aren't sure gridlock is good.
Encouraging manufacturing data: The Institute for Supply Management's index rose more than expected in October, indicating that growth could be picking up. This is a widely-watched indicator. (Bloomberg)
Homeowners still stuck underwater: About 672,000 Californians owe 50 percent or more on their mortgages than what their homes are worth. Average negative equity in California, Florida and Illinois is $107,000 From the LAT:
They can't refinance because they owe too much. That home equity line of credit isn't going to happen. Even ordinary loans may be impossible to get. And selling the home at a huge loss is out of the question. Nor can most underwater borrowers take advantage of the Treasury Department's loan-modification program, which generally requires a job loss or another kind of hardship. In other words, they're stuck.
More Countrywide fallout: Bank of America's 2008 acquisition of the Calabasas mortgage lender is creating a monster problem in its loan servicing area. More than 85 percent of the bank's 1.3 million mortgage customers that are at least 60 days behind on their payments got their loans through Countrywide. (WSJ)
Tribune restructuring plans: Three new filings will be challenging the company's own reorganization plan. They're coming from disgruntled creditors who believe they're getting the short end of a proposed settlement. (Chicago Tribune).
Randy Michaels considers comeback: The departed Tribune CEO tells the WSJ: "I may go buy some media, I may go run some media, I don't know," he said. "My phone's been ringing. There are a lot of people who look past noise and emotions and look at results."
Pegging party with program: Republicans are more likely to buy commercial time on sports, and Democrats are more likely to buy time on talks shows and comedies. From the NYT:
"Republicans are trying to get men, who are more likely to be Republican than Democratic, especially the 35- to 64-year-old, middle-age man, who doesn't watch as much television as women do," Mr. Feltus said. "So Republicans are trying to reach Republican men and Republican-leaning men with sports. Democrats are advertising more to women."
Latest polls: Brown continues to have a comfortable lead over Whitman (high single digits), while Boxer is up over Fiorina by a smaller margin. (NYT)
Salary boost for county big-wigs: Some public servants are making more than $400,000 a year, according to the Daily News.
The analysis of a county salary database obtained through the California Public Records Act found 17,686 of the county's more than 100,000 employees make more than $100,000 annually in total pay. This includes a Coroner's Office executive secretary making $113,825 and a firefighter who collected a whopping $271,498 last year. More than 70 county employees earn more than $300,000, including six making in excess of $400,000.