Afternoon Coffee: Manufacturing Expands, NYC’s Free Subway, Uber’s “Surge” Pricing, Lumber Futures

"The production index expanded after two months of contraction, rising to 52.4 from 49.5."
Manufacturing Expands, Construction Spending Rises -- The U.S. manufacturing sector expanded last month, but employment weakened, according to data released Thursday by the Institute for Supply Management. The ISM's manufacturing purchasing managers' index was little changed at 51.7 in October from 51.5 in September. A reading above 50 indicates expansion. Economists surveyed by Dow Jones Newswires expected the October PMI to come in at 51.0. "Comments from the panel this month reflect continued concern over a fragile global economy and soft orders across several manufacturing sectors," the report said.

MTA roars back to life...
M.T.A.Waives Fares; Restrictions on Bridges in New York -- Not a moment too soon, the city's subway system lurched into motion around 5:30 a.m., about a half-hour earlier than scheduled. Service was to resume on 14 of the city's 23 lines, but several -- the No. 3 and 7 trains and the B, C, E, G and Q trains -- remained dark. Many trains will have large gaps in their routes, including the No. 4 train, which will have no service between 42nd Street in Manhattan and Borough Hall in Brooklyn because of flooding in its tunnel beneath the East River and power problems.

"...No doubt Uber will catch hell for this."
Uber Goes Back To Higher-Fare Surge Pricing For NYC Post-Sandy, E-Mail Explains Why -- Uber, the car-hire service people love to love and love to hate, just blasted an email to its customers explaining why it had to raise fares for its NYC car service, what it calls "surge pricing" (an unfortunate term given the storm) in the wake of Sandy, after only a day of keeping them at normal levels. It was forced to do so in order to fund its tactic of doubling fares to drivers to get more cars on the road. That move worked, "tripling the number of cars on the road and keeping them out there longer," according to the email.

"The price for lumber futures spiked $10 -- the maximum allowed in a single day -- and reached 19-month highs on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange."
Rebuilding after Sandy likely to stretch lumber supply chain, could be boon for lumber companies -- As public officials assess the damage caused by Hurricane Sandy, North America's building-supply sector has begun girding for the rebuilding phase following the massive storm. However, repair efforts could run into a supply crunch in an industry that is ramping up to meet a nascent return of U.S. new-home construction. Lumber inventories are running thin. And that could mean higher profits for B.C. lumber companies that supply the U.S. construction industry. "Nobody has been stocking inventory even this year because they don't really trust the recovery is (really) here," said Keta Kosman, publisher of the North-Vancouver-based industry journal Madison's Lumber Reporter.

- Sheena Moore

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