More indicators of strengthening economy

New government reports released today point to an improving economy. The Federal Housing Finance Authority reported that U.S. home prices rose 7.7 percent from June 2012 to this June, although one economist told Bloomberg he does not expect prices to continue to rise at that rate. The fewest number of workers in more than five years applied for U.S. unemployment benefits over the past month, indicating the labor market continues to improve, according to weekly statistics from the U.S. Labor Department. And Reuters reported that  financial data firm Markit Group Ltd. said its preliminary index on factory activity in August rose to 53.9, its best showing since March, from 53.7 in July. A reading above 50 indicates expansion. Also new factory orders hit a seven-month high.

 

Morgan Stanley to pay $1M fine for bond pricing violations

Morgan Stanley will pay a $1 million fine and compensate harmed investors to settle civil charges that the bank failed to give customers the best market prices for some corporate and municipal bonds, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority Inc. said today, according to Reuters.  

 

UPS cuts health coverage for employee spouses who are insured

United Parcel Service Inc., the nation's fourth-largest employer, says that beginning Jan. 1, it no longer will offer health coverage to employees' spouses who can get it through another company. Other employers may follow UPS' lead, as they grapple to meet the legal requirements of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, popularly known as Obamacare, reports Bloomberg.