By Richard CowanWASHINGTON, Oct 18 (Reuters) - A sweeping, bipartisan plan developed earlier this year to cut $3.7 trillion from U.S. deficits will be discussed on Wednesday by the special congressional deficit-reduction panel, aides said on Tuesday.The wide-ranging deficit-reduction plan was crafted in the U.S. Senate by the so-called “Gang of Six” several months ago.It called for tackling U.S. government budget deficits on three main fronts: reducing security and non-security discretionary spending; imposing some reforms on the costly Medicare healthcare program for the elderly; and reforming the U.S. tax code to capture at least $1 trillion in additional revenues.Gang of Six members “are coming in to have a discussion” with the “super committee” on deficit-reduction that is trying to find at least $1.2 trillion in savings over the next 10 years, a committee aide told Reuters.The Gang of Six — three Democratic and three Republican members of the Senate — got a lot of attention earlier this year when it unveiled the outline of a plan to cut U.S. deficits by around $3.7 trillion over 10 years.At the time, it was the only bipartisan deficit-reduction plan composed in a bitterly divided Congress. A significant part of its work was based on the findings in December of a presidential deficit-reduction commission that called for about $4 trillion in government savings over a decade with a mix of spending cuts and revenue increases.But a contentious fight in the summer between Democratic President Barack Obama and congressional Republicans over increasing U.S. borrowing authority stopped the Gang of Six dead in its tracks.SECOND LOOKNow, as the super committee races against a Nov. 23 deadline for a majority of the 12-member panel to find at least $1.2 trillion in savings — on top of the $917 billion enacted in early August — the Gang of Six ideas are getting a second look.It was not clear whether the super committee was interested in particular elements of the Gang of Six plan or whether it wanted to “go big,” as some members of Congress have been urging, by crafting a deficit-reduction plan that exceeds its $1.2 trillion minimum.A larger budget-cutting plan would hearten Wall Street and credit rating agencies. In August, Standard and Poor’s cut the U.S. AAA credit rating one notch amid chaos in Washington over budgets and the government debt limit.The super committee has been meeting in secret and some budget watchers in the private sector have speculated that it was having a difficult time coming up with even the $1.2 trillion.Since the summer, the Gang of Six has grown to around 40 senators from both political parties who have endorsed its goals, according to one Senate aide.That represents a significant portion of the 100-member Senate, where a simple majority will be needed by the end of this year to pass any super committee plan.Among the major elements of the Gang of Six program are: Spending caps on discretionary government programs through 2015, changing the measure of inflation to slow the growth of Social Security benefits and cutting Medicare costs while maintaining “the essential healthcare services that the poor and elderly rely upon,” according to a summary.On taxes, the Gang of Six called for simplifying the tax code by reducing the number of special tax breaks and by setting three brackets with income tax rates of 8-12 percent, 14-22 percent and 23-29 percent.The Gang of Six also called for repealing the Alternative Minimum Tax that initially was aimed at the wealthiest but increasingly threatens to hit middle-class taxpayers.Corporate tax rates would be 23-29 percent, down from the current 35 percent.
NEW YORK Oct 14 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks advanced on Friday, putting the S&P 500 on track for back-to-back weekly gains for the first time since early July after better-than-expected retail sales and results from Google .Increased optimism that a solution to the euro-zone crisis would happen added to the positive mood.The benchmark S&P index is up 13 percent from the Oct. 4th intraday low of 1,074.77, which had temporarily tipped it into bear market territory.Google Inc led the Nasdaq higher as shares jumped 5.9 percent to $592.16, a day after its results blew past Wall Street’s expectations, helped by strong advertising sales and deft cost controls.Apple Inc rose 2.6 percent to $419.23 as the newest version of its iPhone went on sale across the country.”There are these positive catalysts that may be in place — earnings being one and a more formalized policy action out of Europe, more clarity there,” said Natalie Trunow, chief investment officer of equities at Calvert Investment Management in Bethesda, Maryland, which manages about $14.8 billion.”To the extent earnings come through as expected or better than expected, which we think is more likely to be the case, then that will provide sufficient support for the equity markets,” she said.The Dow Jones industrial average was up 105.01 points, or 0.91 percent, at 11,583.14. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index was up 13.63 points, or 1.13 percent, at 1,217.29. The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 30.83 points, or 1.18 percent, at 2,651.07.French and German officials are trying to put flesh on the bones of a crisis resolution plan in time for a European Union summit on Oct. 23, overshadowing Standard and Poor’s cut of Spain’s credit rating, a move that underlined the challenges facing Europe’s finance ministers.Among U.S. economic data, September retail sales rose 1.1 percent from a month earlier, beating the median forecast in a Reuters poll for a rise of 0.7 percent. Sales growth during August was revised upward to 0.3 percent.
* ETF assets under management fell 1.8 pct in Q3TORONTO, Oct 12 (Reuters) - Assets managed in exchange traded funds in Canada dropped by 3 percent to C$39.1 billion ($38.3 billion) in September due to slumping equity markets, though inflows to the funds were positive, according to a report released on Wednesday.Canadian ETFs overall had net inflows of C$1.1 billion in September, said the monthly report from the Canadian ETF arm of New York-based BlackRock , the world’s largest money manager.ETFs are investment vehicles that own an array of stocks, similar to mutual funds, but which have shares that are traded on public exchanges.For the third quarter, ETF assets in Canada dropped 1.8 percent, largely due to a more than 12 percent slide on the Toronto Stock Exchange’s main index.Net inflows into Canadian ETFs in the quarter were more than C$2.5 billion, BlackRock said.A total of fifteen new ETF were introduced in the three-month period, for a total of 213.Low fees and greater transparency have helped ETFs attract strong investment inflows in recent years. Unlike mutual fund shares, which are re-priced once a day, the price of an ETF is publicly quoted and visible throughout the day.BlackRock’s Canadian iShares business had a market share of 68.4 percent in September, down 0.2 percentage points from its August report. Its assets under management were C$26.7 billion, compared with C$27.70 billion a month earlier.Claymore Investments’ market share held steady at 15.8 percent, with C$6.2 billion in ETF assets under management.Horizon ETF assets were at C$3.09 billion, down from C$3.19 billion, and Bank of Montreal’s fell to C$2.69 billion from C$2.74 billion.Royal Bank of Canada was a new entrant in the Canadian ETF market in the month, with C$32 million in assets. It joins recent entries Invesco Trimark’s PowerShares, with C$340 million, up from C$315 million, and XTF Capital eXchange Traded Funds, with C$50 million, down from C$56 million.Vanguard Group, one of the biggest mutual fund and ETF managers in the United States, also plans to set up shop in Canada.