President Obama is focusing on talks with rank-and-file congressional Republicans in an effort to get a bi-partisan agreement on deficit reduction.  We begin this week with a look at his proposals, which include changes to health care and retirement programs as well as tax increases. Despite short-term concerns about government spending cuts, the stock market continues to rally. Our next article features an interview with Goldman Sachs’s Abby Cohen, who says its performance is supported by improved fundamentals in the U.S. economy. Our last link backs this up with news of faster than expected growth in the non-manufacturing sector. The Institute for Supply Management has published a report showing the NMI Composite Index for February up .8 percent from the previous month.

Obama Seeks Budget-Deal Support From RepublicansPutting talks with GOP leaders on the back burner for a while, President Barack Obama is reaching out to rank-and-file congressional Republicans. He hopes to build support for a budget deal with higher taxes to pay down U.S. debt. Obama told senators that he is willing to make changes in health care and retirement programs to get a budget compromise that includes higher taxes.

Abby Cohen Believes Stock Rally Will ContinueThe rally in the stock market is real and supported by the fundamentals, Goldman Sachs’s Senior U.S. Investment Strategist Abby Joseph Cohen told CNBC on Friday.

Institute For Supply Management Reports Faster Growth–  On Tuesday the Institute for Supply Management published its latest Non-Manufacturing Report. The headline NMI Composite Index is at 56 percent, signaling slightly faster growth than last month’s 55.2 percent. The consensus was for 55.4 percent, but the’s own estimate was spot on at 56 percent.

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John R. Day, Bill Ennis and Stephanie Davidson


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