Technology companies are keeping the stock market in positive territory thanks to some strong earnings reports. Microsoft has helped push the Dow up about 30 points, after reporting solid sales of tablet computers. The S&P 500 index and the Nasdaq also are modestly higher. The tech-heavy Nasdaq is at a 13-year high, while the Dow and the S&P 500 are heading for their third straight week of gains. However, the rally has some market watchers saying that stocks are beginning to look expensive.
- The management consultant President Barack Obama has charged with fixing HealthCare.gov says most of the issues plaguing the website should be resolved by the end of November. The Obama administration announced today that a private contractor will take the lead in de-bugging the online portal for uninsured Americans to get coverage under. Quality Software Systems built the site's data hub, which is considered to be working relatively well.
- The University of Michigan's gauge of consumer confidence is sinking. The October decline is being tied to concern that the partial government shutdown and political fight over the nation's borrowing limit is slowing growth. The survey says consumers are increasingly moving toward the view that "the government has become the primary obstacle to more robust economic growth."
- United Airlines will pay more than $1 million in fines for stranding passengers in Chicago last year. The delays involve 13 United and United Express planes stuck on the tarmac on a thundery day at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport. The Transportation Department says it's the biggest fine against an airline since 2010, when new rules went into effect barring airlines from keeping passengers on a delayed flight for longer than three hours without giving them the opportunity to get off.
- A top European Central Bank official is pointing to the U.S. for an example of the kind of centralized oversight EU banks need. In a speech in Italy today, Joerg Asmussen said that during the financial crisis in the U.S., "it was federal institutions that stepped into the breach." He says the euro currency union needs a similar system, so that individual countries don't have to deal with failing banks alone.
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