Econintersect: Every day our editors collect the most interesting things they find from around the internet and present a summary "reading list" which will include very brief summaries of why each item has gotten our attention. Suggestions from readers for "reading list" items are gratefully reviewed, although sometimes space limits the number included.
- Is this the end of the housing recovery? (Rick Sharga, RE Wired) Housing sales are likely to be flat in 2014 because: (1) there is little inventory at the low end of the market; (2) first time home buyers are staying out of the market; (3) mortgages are not easy to get; and (4) affordability is a problem. For recent detailed analysis see also existing homes sales and new home sales.
- Obama’s Asia trip off to a bad start with failure to reach agreement on trade in Tokyo (Juliet Eilperin and David Nakamura, National Journal) The U.S. issued statements about a "breakthrough" while Japan said there are still "several unresolved issues", although they conceded "significant progress". If reduced to a bipolar choice the answer would have to be "No Deal!" See more on Japan 'behind the wall'.
- CO-OPs squeeze premiums (Allison Bell, Life Health Pro) Lo and behold! Remove the profit motive and costs are lower? That's what Mark Bertolini, the chairman of Aetna Inc., said on Thursday during the company's first-quarter earnings call. He was talking about the effect of co-op insurance plans offered by members of the National Alliance of State Health CO-OPs, which have 23 member plans covering 400,000 enrollees -- up from none on Sept. 30, before first Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA aka Obamacare) exchange system open enrollment period began. Bertolini said the reason Aetna withdrew from some states public exchange programs was because they couldn't compete with the co-ops. He said their rates were "irrationally low". Perhaps he thinks it is irrational not to include a 30% margin for corporate profits and executive compensation?
- Furious Russia, Downgraded To Just Above Junk By S&P, Proposes "Scorched Earth" Retaliation Against NATO Countries (Tyler Durden, Zero Hedge) Russia is not without defenses in a economic war with the west. Just how far the Kremlin can get, though, depends on whether China sides with the U.S. or not. Will Japan end up a pawn in that game?
Today there are 14 articles discussed 'behind the wall'.
There are four articles about Japan and five concerning China.
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