Headlines discussed at LNMW’s Monday morning briefing:
— Janet Yellen is set to be confirmed as US Treasury Secretary today; during Finance Committee questioning, she supported higher fiscal spending, a minimum corporate tax, and higher capital gains taxes for the wealthy.
— US mortgage rates have started to move up but so far little impact on home buyers: mortgage applications to buy are up 15% from a year ago and 3% for the week; refinancing was down 5% for the week.
— US manufacturing activity hit its highest level since May 2007 in the 1st half of Jan. (59 on a key index vs. 57 in Dec.), with supply squeezes driving up prices.
— China saw more foreign direct investment (FDI) in 2020 than any other country ($163 billion vs. $134 billion for the US) as global FDI fell 40% due to Covid-19.
— The European Central Bank confirmed it will continue its bond-buying program (1.85 trillion euros) through March 2022 and keep key interest rates negative.
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