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Consumer sentiment drops amid economic stress

BY DSN STAFF

YONKERS, N.Y. — Consumer Reports announced that its index, which measures overall consumer sentiment, fell to its lowest level since December 2009 and registered its sharpest drop in two years, as recent events in Washington about the debt ceiling debate fixed attention on the weak economy.

"The debt ceiling debate in Washington focused the consumer’s attention fully on the dire state of the economy, leaving many in a dispirited mood," said Ed Farrell, director of the Consumer Reports National Research Center. "Americans are facing real financial difficulties due to weak employment, which is a key impediment to an economic recovery. This is reflected in nearly every measure of the consumer’s experience."

The Consumer Reports index fell to 43.4, down sharply from 48.5 last month. The figure represents the percentage of people saying they were financially better off versus worse off than they were a year ago.

The Consumer Reports Trouble Tracker, a gauge of the breadth and depth of financial difficulties among American households, jumped 10 points to 60.6 in August, reflecting financial difficulties pertaining to health care and an inability to pay mortgages and other bills. The Employment Index fell to its lowest level since March 2010 and slid sharply, as more jobs were lost than created.

"The Consumer Reports index shows no clear signs pointing to an economic recovery any time soon," Farrell said. "Too many households are feeling financial pain and more jobs were lost than created. Unfortunately, the burden of this bad economy has fallen on the households that earn less than $50,000 a year. They’re the ones having trouble finding new jobs, paying bills and affording health care."

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Max Green Alchemy announces launch of new Matte Paste hairstyling product

BY Antoinette Alexander

SAN FRANCISCO — Personal care products company Max Green Alchemy has expanded its Scalp Rescue hair care portfolio with the launch of the new Matte Paste hairstyling product.

The new Matte Paste creates a dry-look matte finish for definition and hold without adding shine or using harsh chemicals. With a fresh citrus unisex scent, it’s alcohol-free so it won’t cause dryness, and is wax-, silicone- and polyvinylpyrrolidone (PVP)-free so it won’t build up on the hair, scalp or in the environment. The 5.5-oz. tube has a suggested retail price of $15.

"Salons love our products because of what they have in them, and also what they don’t have. There is growing interest from stylists and clients as they seek natural and organic products, but there have been few choices of ultra-natural, professional-quality styling products that perform like their chemical-laden cousins," stated Dave Karlak, president of Max Green Alchemy. "Many stylists aren’t aware that brands perceived as ‘natural’ rely on petrochemicals like polyvinylpyrrolidone (PVP) to provide hold or silicone for shine. Salons have had such positive experiences with our shampoo, conditioner, styling gel, texture paste, sculpting gel and pomade [that] they’ve been asking for more. Matte Paste is our latest creation."

Max Green Alchemy products are available at salons, select Whole Foods Markets, independent health stores and online.

 

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Report: Walgreens to offer private health insurance plans this fall

BY Michael Johnsen

NEW YORK — Walgreens is planning to sell health insurance as soon as this fall, CNNMoney reported Tuesday morning.

Walgreens declined to comment on the matter, according to the report.

The Chicago-based pharmacy-and-more operator would sell health insurance products with different price ranges and coverage levels across its network nationwide through a private health insurance exchange, CNNMoney reported, citing people familiar with the plan.

Health reform mandates the creation of federal and state-funded public health insurance exchanges by 2014 that will offer subsidized insurance for uninsured and underinsured people.

According to CNNMoney, TripleTree, an investment banking firm focused on the healthcare and technology market, estimated that from 2014 through 2019 as many as 36 million consumers will buy their health insurance from exchanges.
 

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Aug-10-2011 05:34 am

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