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Patton Boggs to Welcome Back Former Partner

New

Patton Boggs is welcoming back a former partner, announcing that Todd R. Harrison has rejoined the firm's litigation and dispute resolution practice group. Harrison is headed back to Patton Boggs after departing in 2011 to serve as chief counsel for oversight and investigations on the energy and commerce committee for the U.S. House of Representatives.

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Churchill Executive Recognized by Regional Publication

An executive from Churchill Mortgage recently received recognition from The Nashville Business Journal. Matthew C. Clarke, Churchill's CFO and COO, was a finalist in this year's CFO Awards, which recognize leading CFOs from corporations in Middle Tennessee.

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Pending Home Sales Index Shows Small September Gain

The Pending Home Sales Index (PHSI) rose ever so slightly in September, the National Association of Realtors reported Thursday, tempering the much-heralded housing sector revival. The Index inched up to 99.5, an improvement of 0.3 percentage points over August's 99.2. Economists had expected the index to jump 2.5 percent to 101.7.

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First-Time Jobless Claims Drop Sharply

First-time claims for unemployment insurance fell 23,000 to 369,000 for the week ended October 20, the Labor Department reported Thursday. Economists expected initial claims to fall to 372,000. The initial claims report has been unusually volatile for the last month with wide swings in the seasonal adjustment factors used by the Labor Department to "normalize" the data. However, the factor used for this week's report was virtually the same as the factor used a week ago, suggesting the sharp drop in claims reflects a truer reading of the labor market.

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Congressman Defends Firms’ ‘Good Samaritan’ Purchases

Rep. Barney Frank (D-Massachusetts) is speaking out in defense of JPMorgan Chase, calling the U.S. government's lawsuit against the financial institution a case of "no good deed goes unpunished." New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman filed a suit against JPMorgan for the alleged misconduct of Bear Stearns & Co. prior to JPMorgan's acquisition of the failing investment bank, but Frank says the bank is being punished for getting involved at the government's request.

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FOMC Maintains Policy Stance to Hold Down Rates

Fed

Pointing to slow employment growth and elevated unemployment, the Federal Open Market Committee said Wednesday the Federal Reserve will continue purchasing additional agency mortgage-backed securities at a pace of $40 billion per month. At the same time, the FOMC said it would maintain the target federal funds rate at 0 to 1/4 percent and expected the "exceptionally low levels for the federal funds rate are likely to be warranted at least through mid-2015."

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FHFA House Price Index Continues Ascent in August

The Federal Housing Finance Agency's (FHFA) House Price Index (HPI) continued its upward crawl in August, rising 0.7 percent from July and 4.7 percent from August 2011, according to a release from the agency. The August index is down 15.9 percent from its peak in April 2007 and is at roughly the same level as June 2004's index. Regionally, all divisions reported year-over-year price increases in August, with prices in the Mountain division showing the most growth at 11.4 percent.

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