Stocks open higher: More good earnings and continued optimism that Europe will cut a debt deal. Dow is up about 80 points.
New housing plan: The idea is to give homeowners with little or no equity the chance to refinance. The new rules apply to homeowners with federally guaranteed mortgages who are current on their payments. From the WSJ:
The overhaul will, among other things, let borrowers refinance regardless of how far their homes have fallen in value, eliminating previous limits. That could open up refinancing to legions of borrowers in Nevada, Arizona, Florida, California and elsewhere who are paying high interest rates and are deeply "underwater," owing more than their houses are worth. President Barack Obama is expected to tout the program in Las Vegas on Monday. The plan will streamline the refinance process by eliminating appraisals and extensive underwriting requirements for most borrowers, as long as homeowners are current on their mortgage payments, according to administration officials and an official at the Federal Housing Finance Agency.
FedEx expects record holiday: The overnight shipping service, often considered an economic bellwether, sees a 12 percent increase in business. To handle the load, the company plans to increase its work force by about 20,000. (Reuters)
NBC still in doldrums: New owner Comcast isn't having much success with turnaround efforts, at least not so far this season. From the WSJ:
Through the first four weeks of the TV season ending Oct. 16, about 3.3 million adults under 50 years old have been watching prime-time TV shows on NBC, according to the latest figures from Nielsen Holdings NV. That is down 9.3% from the same period a year earlier. Much of the decline is concentrated in NBC's entertainment shows. Leaving out National Football League games, which NBC airs on Sunday nights, the network's 18-to-49-year-old audience is 2.2 million--down 16% from a year earlier.
Chinese automaker makes slow L.A. arrival: BYD America, the electric car company that's partly owned by Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc., opens its L.A. operations today, but sales plans have been delayed. Limited availability of public chargers is being cited. From Bloomberg:
Initial goals for the Shenzhen, China-based company's California arrival haven't been met either in BYD jobs or indirect business created. The delays reflect a combination of construction obstacles and an electric-car market that hasn't developed as rapidly as first expected. In April 2010 when the deal was announced, BYD said it would open the office by the end of 2010, and have 150 employees by the end of this year. It now has 20 employees in Los Angeles, with plans to reach 30 by year-end and 100 by the end of 2012, according to Micheal Austin, the company's U.S. vice president.
Mattel does deal for Thomas the Tank. The El Segundo-based tomaker has agreed to pay $680 million for Hit Entertainment. It's the company's biggest acquisition in a decade. (AP)