It’s a “waffle” market complete with strawberries and whipped cream. The Dow fell 53 points on heavy trade to close at 18,169. Stocks continue to churn as election news and earnings reports cause ups and downs or bouts of fear and greed.
Next week will mark the beginning of the 4th signup period for the so called “Affordable” Care Act and of the 38 states with Federal Exchanges the average premium increase will be a smoking hot 25%. While over 70% of people on the exchanges will get a subsidy they will have fewer choices because several insurance companies have bolted. Working stiffs who are buying compliant policies outside the exchanges and not eligible for gubment support will undoubtedly suffer from “light wallet syndrome”. Could these cost increases be the reason behind an economy only growing at 1.4% despite having low unemployment rates? Another interesting aspect of the ACA is that states will lose their federal grants for Medicaid in 2017. How they cover that impending gap will be interesting watch. Hopefully the election will address some of these issues.
Keybank reported solid earnings sending shares higher by over 6%. The closing of the First Niagara purchase boosted revenue by 27% and net income grew by 11%. In other bank earnings, local Seattle bank HomeStreet shot higher benefitting from a hot local real-estate market, strong commercial loan business and the purchase of Oswego Bank in Oregon giving it two branches in Portland where folks are still reeling from the wipeout of the Portland Timbers which missed this year’s MLS playoffs. Revenue was up 50% and net profits were higher by 167%. Wow!
Gold was higher closing up $10.80 an ounce to $1,274.