Thursday morning headlines

Stocks way up: Decent employment news could be helping. Dow is up 140 points.

Private sector adds 158,000 jobs: October's numbers from ADP were higher than expected, though the payroll service company might not reflect the government's overall report, which comes out on Friday. ADP is using a new methodology. (Bloomberg)

Retailers report strong October: Sales rose 5 percent, according to a survey by the International Council of Shopping Centers - better than forecasts. But economists say that future sales might take a hit because of this week's storm. (AP)

Chrysler sales climb: The 10 percent increase for October was the best in five years and came despite a loss of three selling days due to the storm. GM reported a 4.7 percent increase and Ford's came in nearly flat. (Reuters)

Jobless claims fall: Weekly filings for unemployment benefits fell 9,000 to 363,000, which would suggest continued modest hiring. Too early for any storm-related effect on the numbers. (AP)

Consumer confidence taking off: Conference Board index is at its highest level since February 2008. From AP:

Economists have cited some key reasons for why consumers have grown more confident in recent months. Stock prices are higher. Gasoline prices have leveled off after rising for several months. And a broad increase in home prices is likely giving would-be buyers more confidence. When prices rise, buyers don't worry so much that a home might lose value after they bought it. Some economists question whether the higher level of confidence is sustainable. But others note that even a weak economy doesn't feel so bad to many consumers once it begins to make steady improvement.

Banks still wary of mortgage lending: They've eased credit standards for auto loans, student loans, and credit cards, but not for home purchases. From the WSJ:

That is a problem because the Fed is hoping to spur the economy by engineering low interest rates aimed at pushing consumers and businesses to borrow and spend more. Most recently, Fed officials relaunched a mortgage-bond buying program to lower mortgage rates and fuel more mortgage-refinancing and home-buying.

Airline schedules returning to normal: No cancellations to and from NY so far this morning, though the backlog of passengers stranded this week could take a few more days to sort out. From the NYT:

[Dave Holtz, the vice president for operations control for Delta Air Lines in Atlanta], described the work at the center as putting together a giant puzzle that was constantly changing. "Imagine it as pieces of a jigsaw puzzle are slid under your door every day," he said. "Some pieces fall away and our guys spend the whole day putting together the rest until it fits." He said that the airline was offering vouchers that allowed passengers to reschedule flights at a time that was convenient, a better system, he said, than the airline automatically bumping passengers to a particular flight. "It's our job to put a predictable outcome in a customer's hand," he added.

Donor ruling confirmed: An Arizona nonprofit has been ordered to hand over its financial records related to an $11-million donation to California political campaigns. The group plans to appeal and it's unclear if the information would be released before Tuesday's election. (LAT)

Prop 30 "tantalizingly close to passage": That's according to Field Poll director Mark DiCamillo, although the organization's latest survey of voters shows only 48 percent support. Turnout will determine the outcome. (SF Chronicle)

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Mark Lacter
Mark Lacter created the LA Biz Observed blog in 2006. He posted until the day before his death on Nov. 13, 2013.
Mark Lacter, business writer and editor was 59
The multi-talented Mark Lacter
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